Monday, June 18, 2012

Greenwashing Capitalism

Presidents, politicians, UN officials, local government leaders, and thousands of environmental activistts from across the world are meeting in Rio to arguer over what ‘green economics’ really means. Should economic forces be harnessed in service to the environment or the environment subjugated to economic interests? If 700 international environmental treaties hasn't saved the planet, will 701... 702 do it? Will harnessing people power have more success?

Our ability to generate more output with fewer people has lifted our lives out of drudgery and delivered us a potential cornucopia of material wealth. Yet a billion or more people  face a worsening of their conditions, and the very existence of hundreds of millions of them is threatened. The vast majority of these victims bear little or no responsibility. Pushing 1 billion persons down to extreme poverty, and enriching a very few is one of the major “accomplishments” of capitalism. If we allow businesses to measure our natural resources only by their profits we will have a system headed for ruin. Unless we stop envisioning humanity's raison d’ĂȘtre as the pursuit of accumulating capital, the environmental crisis cannot be broken.

No "green" capitalism! We champion a green socialism that focuses on production for need only and common ownership of the worlds wealth. “Green” capitalism will bring about natural resource grabbing, displacing humanity and nature from the essential elements needed for their survival. The drive for profit, instead of reestablishing harmony within the system, will provoke even greater imbalances, concentrations of wealth, and speculative processes. "Green" capitalism is illusory, simple wishful thinking. The destructive "grow or die" imperative of our market-driven system cannot be wished or regulated away. Capitalism is based on the premise of eternal growth. It is not a steady state, but a rapacious system that is never satiated. Under a capitalist system, not growing is not the same as standing still; it is moving backwards. This is the fundamental contradiction in a finite world. Countless studies have documented that limits to growth in such areas as energy, minerals, water and arable land (among others) are fast being reached. The energy corporations are desperately trying to crash through these limits with technological fixes such as fracking, tar sands exploitation and deep-water drilling, which are equally or more environmentally costly than traditional methods. Yet the trends continue. Capitalism has utterly failed us. It has destroyed our communities, our democracy and the planet we live on. As long as people believe that capitalism is sustainable,  they'll focus on reforming it -- smoothing around the edges, re-writing regulations and so on. Some of us though seek a revolution that overthrows the whole system, clearing the way for something entirely new. Maximizing accumulation is the force that drives capitalism. Appropriating nature and labour is the cheapest way for maximization of accumulation. Capitalism is always about the theft of the people's sustenance and the looting of the source of their sustenance – Nature. Capitalists hate any sort of cost. Corporations don’t care much for building environmental costs into their production and spend millions of dollars in political lobbying to thwart such policies. This system where the master class try their best to maximize profit by minimizing cost, by appropriating labour, robbing nature, grabbing everything within their reach, creating pollution and destruction of the ecology and causing the ruination of nature are acts of crime - crime against the planet, against posterity, against humanity. It is eco-murder! These are crimes that not only harm present generations but hurt future generations. Vulture environmentalism is vulture capitalism’s hungry and greedy twin. Capitalism is a system that must continually expand, a system that, by its very nature, will eventually come up against the reality of finite natural resources. By its very nature the capitalism system stands against ecology and environment as its only concern is profit, nothing else. Standing up for environment will inescapably lead to questioning this ever greedy hungry economic system. Nobody as yet ever talks about the CAUSE of all these "issues" and underlying reasons but they eventually will arrive at such questions.

 A world without workers is impossible. A world without capitalists is imperative. An end to the reign of capitalism is necessary to save the Earth and all its people so that we can begin a human society offering hope for all and not just some. There can be no fundamental alteration of the status quo without the abolition of private and state property. This may seem a scary proposition and the fear of change is encouraged by those who currently benefit from the existing social order. We have not only to conquer the fear, but also to embrace a radically different perspective and way of being in the world.

Productivity — the amount of output delivered per hour of work in the economy — is often viewed as the engine of progress. The quest for increased productivity haunts the waking hours of C.E.O.’s and finance ministers. But the gains in productivity are used to increase the profits of shareholders, and not to reduce working time. Just before the recession the elite held slightly less than $80 trillion. After the bailout, their combined investment wealth was estimated at a little over $83 trillion. To give some idea, this is four years of the gross output of all the human beings on earth.

The ideas of the ruling class have hoodwinked us! Carefully crafted propaganda convince us that a society based upon individual greed, exploitation and inequality is normal, natural and desirable.What kind of system is capitalism? This kind: If there are wars, that benefits the arms trade. If disease spreads that is good for the pharmaceutical industry. If hurricanes and earthuakes reaps destruction upon communities, that is good for the construction industry. Such are the realities of the cold blooded economics by which the people of the world have been organized for hundreds of years. Many of us starve for lack of food while others go on diets because they eat too much. Many of us sleep in doorways and on the streets, yet pampered pets have their own beds in warm homes. The idea of keeping people healthy, safe, secure and alive is reduced to doing so only if they are able to create profits for those selling health, safety, security and life itself to the highest bidder in the market. If we can’t afford to buy those things and charity does not exist for us, we can all just drop dead. None of this happens because of individuals who are thoughtless or cold hearted or murderous. But in a system which dictates that profit must be created in a market sale. As Marx explains "Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity."

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