Monday, June 19, 2017

The Illogic of capitalism

It’s apparent to everyone today that the world is going through an environmental crisis. Climate change is already impacting our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more floods, forest-fires and droughts. Climate change is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which profit-making takes precedence over the real needs of communities and their surroundings regardless of what the science tells us we should do. Capitalism is an economic system profoundly and irrevocably at odds with a sustainable planet, as it requires ever-increasing amounts material and energy to keep expanding. Capitalism of necessity exploits the land and the people and sacrifices the interests of both on the altar of profit. The contradiction between the environment and lust for profits is one that capitalism will be unable to overcome. A socialist society would not be bounded by the illogic of capitalism and would pursue clean energy because profits wouldn't be on the line. Nature and society, however, need not be seen as always in opposition but could co-develop with one another.

Under capitalism, decisions on what and how to produce are made by corporate executives maximising profits by increasing sales and decreasing costs to the business. People and nature are exploited directly and indirectly as external costs are imposed on them. Controls on corporate excess, through regulation can limit abuse, but tend to be too little, too late. Changes in individual consumer behaviour and introduction to better technology can buy time but are insufficient to save the planet as long as “capitalism allows companies to continue polluting. The entire production system must be transformed; we must change the way society decides to allocate resources in the interdependent web of the world economy.  Securing an environmentally sustainable production system will require fundamental political and social change on every scale and in every sphere. Human and environmental needs can be brought into sustainable balance only if production takes account of all environmental consequences. A sustainable economy requires a system in which production is owned by all and democratically planned and controlled by well-informed people.

Today's consumer-orientated life-style campaigns are a distraction to the urgent action needed. The environment can be sustained by collective stewardship as our material needs are securely met by a fair distribution and sharing of resources. Leaving the process to the status quo of Big Business and their politicians is to guarantee mutually assured destruction. Humanity cannot afford to allow the narrow profit interests of a tiny super-rich elite to cost us the planet. The very future of the earth depends upon overthrowing the rule of profit and replacing it with socialism, which can utilise the world's resources for the common good. 

If humanity is to have any chance of re-entering a sustainable relationship with nature, we need to stop the rot at its source: capitalism and class society must be gotten rid of.   The current exploitative system must be replaced by one in which humans are not divorced from nature, but become the conscious aspect of nature.  Doing that requires a revolution: we must get rid not only of the exploitation of nature, but also the exploitation of one human being by another. In order to prevent a future ecological nightmare and preserve our planet for generations to come; a sustainable society in which the working class empowers itself—a socialist society—is vitally necessary. Capitalism’s insatiable reliance on ever-expanding profits cannot be sustained on our finite planet. Capitalism engages in production to produce profit. This is the primary motive and the satisfaction of human needs is secondary to this. Because of the internal workings of the system there is a need for continual growth. Capitalism must grow or die. Our rulers are not in control of the system, they only respond to its demand for cheap raw materials and any means of keeping monetary costs down and profits up. This is the real reason why years of climate conferences have failed to halt the destruction of the planet. Our rulers measure their success by economic growth rates. The only way to halt the trashing of our planet is to end the capitalist system of production. The entire system of capitalist production needs to be ended before we can have any hope of reversing the dreadful damage capitalism has inflicted on the planet. The production for profit, and the system of wage labour which supports it, need to be replaced with social production. The productive forces need to become common property for the satisfaction of human needs.  All attempts to reform capitalism and make our rulers see the error of their ways are a waste of effort. The choice today is engaging in the struggle for a socialist planet or seeing the ruin of civilisation.

 The watchword for such a society will be:

From each according to their ability to each according to their needs.”

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