Capitalism Eats the World
I feel this. I participate by living in the way we must live. I fly. I consume. I travel. I don’t protest much.
I would rather not have an impact. However I am American. What is an alternative to destructive consumption? Living locally and sustainably. Its not easy and most of us don’t live sustainably. Most of us buy corporate food that travels an average of 1500 miles.
A man is not an island. We are interconnected. Humans started out as small bands of wandering nomads. We hunted, we gathered, we lived off the land. Survival was far from guaranteed. Now life in America is easy. But most are disconnected with nature, insulated from harsh weather. We use or consume products and energy as we live insulated and separated from nature and true reality. Capitalism is a big part of how we get our food, our transportation, health care, housing.
Capitalism in my mind is an aspect of commerce or business that seeks to extract a return greater than was invested. Generally the return is a form of money. It could be cash. It could be stock value. It can be value that can be traded at some later date for cash or other valued product. The big players in capitalism can be rewarded by cornering a market, convincing people to buy their product and generally out gaming other capitalists in their field. People get fabulously rich or can lose it all. It is an amazing set of tools. It is an amazing game of wealth accumulation played on the world stage.
The fatal flaw is that in the closed limited system that the earth ecosystem is, a continual model of growth is destructive, extractive and ultimately doomed to fail. Therefor cycles of boom occur. Witness the housing boom in the Bay Area between say 2000 and 2008. The banks and investment houses sought out high profits rather than healthy people,egalatarian society and modest profits. Now we have skyscrapers, amazing mansions, cars, cars, cars and we also have dying ecosystems, and tent cities. Capitalism has winners, and it has losers. Some of the losers are people and some are weak governments and tragically the biggest loser are the ecosytems that underpin life in its many amazing forms, here on earth.
Then the inevitable bust as people could not pay for the houses they bought.
Capitalism puts the highest value on monetary return and grudgingly countenances other values such as people, environment, government regulation, quality and so many others. However, the structures of government have been corrupted by capitalism, nature is subjegated and packaged as a product to be sold to tourists. All services the earth, people, plants animals provide are partially or entirely monetized by capitalism.
Capitalism has been dominant. It has been too successful. Too strong a force. Its power dominates governments, poor less influential people and nature. It concentrates money or power in the hands of those who are deft enough and best positioned to use it.
Capitalism came out of mercantilism and royalism and war. It seeks a return on an investment. The American Stock market is a very good example of what capitalism is about. For profit companies seek investments (selling of stock) to grow and develop and in exchange offer returns and growth of stock to the investors. This past year with something like 17 climate related natural disasters