Saturday, October 13

How Capitalism is Destroying Our Planet

In recent years, Global Warming has seen an incredible jump in attention recieved. Seeing as today is Blog Action Day for enviromental justice, I thought I'd post on what the real reason for why our planet is slowly rotting and what the solution is.

The Capitalist "laissez-faire" system, is a system which puts profit above all else. The economy is organized not according to what is best for the people, but what will make the most money. Because of this, there is little or no incentive for the people with power; wealthy politicians, corporations, executives, bankers and so on to do anything to care for our earth. The fact that Global Warming is also portrayed as a sort of mystical idea that won't affect us until later also helps further this because capitalism is a system which only works for the now, not for the future. This isn't a coincidence, it's the same people destroying the enviroment because it's profitable that are the ones funding the mainstream media, paying its bills with commercials. This is why you rarely hear about what kind of a danger global warming really is on CNN and FOX and other corporate media outlets, fear that car companies, for example, will pull their ads. The question still remains though how do these companies destroy the enviroment?

This question was really answered for me after I saw the film Who Killed the Electric Car? Basically, this movie was about how in the early 90s in California, new, sleek-looking, cars that produced zero carbon emissions and used no gas whatsoever hit the highways with long lists of people trying to get their hands on them. Ten years later, every single one of these cars had been impounded and destroyed. The movie explores how the companies quickly realized that these cars put gas guzzling cars in danger, and how gas company lobbies felt threatened. These two companies hold such a strong say in the government because they provide campaign funding for candidates in exchange for the candidates supporting their interests. These companies threatened the government if they didn't repeal the 1990 California law which required the companies to sell electric cars in the first place. Once the law was repealed the car companies essentially pigeon-holed this new car realizing that it would endanger the countless gas-guzzling car manufacturing plants they ran, but more importantly, that it was such a easy car with basically no matenance meaning that people would buy these cars and never need another car again.

This movie made me realize, what kind of incentive is there for companies to do enviromentally conscious things. Look at hybrids today for example, yes, they are a step up and its great that we have them, but look at how expensive they are compared to a regular car. Because of this people choose to buy things with in their budget, cars that are less expensive are worse for the enviroment, thus alot more focus is put on these cars by car companies.

This brings back to my point that things are done in this system for profit. Until we break out of that, and until we have a system -- socialism -- which puts people's needs and the earth the people live on first, there will be no significant enviromental change for the better.


Endless Blue said...

One has only to look to Chernobyl, the dead Aral sea, the flooding of the three rivers gorge, the desertification of Astrakhan, the belching smokestacks throughout Central and Eastern European factory towns that to this day have a higher incidence of lung cancer.... to realize that Capitalism doesn't have a monopoly on environment damage. Do you think the working class will be any less likely to choose clean air over television sets in one system or another?

Dave Marlow said...

The environment and the energy disaster that we find ourselves in is the best rebuttal to the myth that capitalism promotes innovation. Even if that were true, it is not as if that innovation was even given a chance to reach the consumer. Those with capital have no interest in seeing a paradigm shift, no matter the consequences.

Good post.