don’t worry, we can always move to mars
(Note: This segment coming up is based on a presentation I made in November 2011 at Earth at Risk, a day-long program at UC-Berkeley, where writer Derrick Jensen interviewed several people on stage: Thomas Linzey, Lierre Keith, Aric McBay, Waziyatawin, Arundhati Roy, and myself).
Capitalism Must Die!
There is an evil force dominating the people and destroying the planet. This force is our enemy, and the enemy of all life. Before we can defeat it, we have to correctly identify it. We have to understand how it works, who controls it, its underlying structure—in order to pinpoint its vulnerabilities and work out effective strategies of intervention.
This enemy is called global capitalism. For decades, a serious weakness of the environmental and social justice movements has been a lack of understanding of the true nature of this social/economic/political/cultural system. This has resulted in an inability to name it as the problem. Instead we often hear vague populist terms like “The 1%,” “the rich,” “banksters,” and “greedy corporations.” But the problem goes much deeper than the depravity of any particular individuals or institutions. It lies in the structural foundation of our entire way of life.
Capitalism has dramatically improved the health, well being and standard of living for for billions of people across the globe. Please name a system which could do better.
If you are trying for a Humans as just another species and living in harmony with Mother Earth, it’s not just Capitalism that has to go. Blaming one particular economic engine for the mess we are living in is not a solution. Without a lot more collective maturity than the human species has exhibited so far, the effects of Industrialization is going to be the death of our species. At best we should not have gone past being an Agrarian society and reject the whole philosophy of Western medicine. Let Mother Nature do her thing with checks and balances on population and no interference from man’s hubris. There are just too many of us and our efforts to sustain this massive over population on a global basis is further ruining our planet and doomed to failure.
While I enjoy reading these strips and the discussions that follow, I have to ask Stephanie one question: as much as removing capitalism may appeal to you and many others, how do you intend to control the human factor? In every “leftist” society, capitalism has always been there and always been at the top. Castro, Chavez, the Kims, Mao, the Soviet Premiers, none of them lived in a farmhouse plowing their own fields. They took the surplus and lived like royalty, making them just as bad and worse than the capitalists you want to remove. There will always be someone at the top or who works their way to the top who will become rich off of everyone else. Admitting that we are a capitalist society evens the field more than any other economic theory. Pretending that we are communist/socialist or anything else further shrinks the ruling class from “1%” down to “.0001%”. While there may at first seem to be a more even distribution of goods (rarely ever wealth), eventually successive generations have abused their positions and further exploited the people. A commune only works with a limited number of people. Take a plot of land, work it, trade with other groups, rotate your leaders, that works until the population grows to a point where it strains the resources needed to provide for everyone comfortably. That is where capitalism begins. It is the next step in the social evolution. When it gets out of control, it becomes feudalism or worse, but your utopia cannot exist in anything larger than a town. Our energies are more constructively used trying to change things from within. Support universal health care so no one has to lose everything they worked for when they become sick. Enforce regulations on commerce to prevent monopolies from controlling all commerce. Elect officials who can work toward the goals you want (or run yourself). An outspoken member of the House can have quite a bit of influence in our media-oriented country. A full revolution just ensures more corruption and suffering than what you started with.
going to have to change the dollar symbol to the Renminbi in probably one year as China is set to surpass the USA as the largest manufacturer of goods soon.
While the US and other western democracies have relatively high CO2 emmisions, China produces 7 times more CO2 per dollar of GDP than the US. When countries like China, India, Brazil and Indonesia argue that they shouldn’t have to put limits on the amount of pollutants they release in the environment since they are catching up to the West and that the majority of the CO2 and other contaminates are the responsibility of the West we have a situation where any advances made by western countries is immediately undone. The polltion released into the atmosphere every year in China is more than all the pollution released by Canada since the start of the industrial revolution.
Communes only truly work when you have a fixed population group. This is why monks can make a commune system work since they replace their numbers from outside the group instead of expanding their numbers through procreation. Trying to put a commune style system on a dynamic population group doesn’t work unless you are prepared to enforce draconian population controls that would only allow the birth of a child to replace someone who has died and any unauthorised pregnacy is subject to immediate termination.
When you look at environmental damage around the world some of the worse damage that was, and is still being, done in communist countries. There are areas in the former Soviet Union where the background radiation requires that a person drive through the region as fast as possible so as to not get a lethal dose of radiation. 16 of the 20 most polluted places on our planet are in the People’s Republic of China. At least in democratic, capitalist countries there are recourses the average citizen can take to get environmental protection put into place and the ability to sue if companies do cause environmental damage.
@fourcrowsthe solution is not to have a top
NG49Capitalism will not accept regulation or restraint. It always finds a way to subvert, bypass or circumvent any attempt to restrain it. ie:Form unions in attempt to restrain its excesses, and capitalism responds by outsourcing for cheap labor. Unions become superfluous, and taking blame from reactionaries.