“Green” Capitalism – an Oxymoron

How close are corporations to acquiring de-facto nationhood? In this country they have already acquired “personhood”; a corporation, a legal; construct, can now have religious beliefs and political views. Don’t ask me how. Corporate money can be contributed to support political candidates. Yet corporations convicted of crimes cannot go to prison nor have any been “executed” – their corporate charter withdrawn for criminal activity.

The new TPP agreement, which none of us are allowed to read apparently goes a long way toward granting corporations powers previously reserved to national governments, such as overriding environmental regulation – suing for “damages” caused by new rules or regulation in a signatory country.

Oh well.

Meanwhile we all celebrated Earth Day with little media emphasis on the notion that global capitalism is the greatest threat to our natural world. Why do you think the right wing is so opposed to the idea of man-made climate change? Because the idea is a direct assault on capitalism.

To exist, capitalism cannot accept limits to growth; capital must constantly expand its production and hence consumption; it must break down barriers to expand markets and access to natural resources for raw materials and exploitable sources of labor. Since capitalism is inherently expansionist it eventually and inevitably must degrade the environment. Because of its expansionist quality, capitalism inevitably destroys the natural conditions of production (land, water, other resources, and labor).

Last week I saw a t.v. news report that Oklahoma had replaced California as the earthquake capital of the United States. During the past several years Oklahoma has suffered mor seismic activity because of……drilling and fracking.


Capitalism destroys rain forests, over fishes the oceans, pollutes fresh water, belches into the air. Capitalist profit is the reason poachers kill the rhinoceros for it’s horn. Capitalism is in the end not sustainable. The problem remains how to replace it and with what.

Unfortunately most of those in the environmental movement in general, are unable to think outside of capitalism. It appears inconceivable to mostpeople that there might be a future economic system that isn’t capitalist. You certainly won’t hear it in school.
One would think that, if they fully understood the role of the normal workings of the capitalist system in causing environmental havoc, people with concern for the environment might begin to understand that another social, economic and political system is not just possible, but essential.

There is no shortage of “ideas” about what to do — live more simply, recycle your plastic water bottles, purchase “green” products, purchase carbon credits to offset the global warming effects of an airplane trip, impose a tax on all fossil fuels (a carbon tax), etc.

All these ideas give the illusion that it is possible to solve the ecological crisis without confronting capitalism as a system. And it is capitalism’s necessity to grow the economy forever and the single overriding goal of obtaining more and more profits that are at the heart of the environmental problems we face.

“Green” or “sustainable capitalism” is an oxymoron. The very heart of the system — production of goods and services to make profits, which propels growth — excludes the possibility of capitalism being anything other than a system that has environmental destruction as a by-product.

But does it benefit all of the people or just the few?

Capitalist profit  is the reason we grow all the food we need but millions are hungry. Capitalist profit is the reason there are so many poor while there is so much work to do.  Captialist profit is the reason we kill the rhinoceros.





About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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11 Responses to “Green” Capitalism – an Oxymoron

  1. ..and the rhinoceros will continue to die and so will we. From what I have previously read, recycling will not even put a dent in what needs to be done. The simple life lived by the few tribes left in the few remaining rainforests is how we were supposed to live; in harmony with this planet, but that was not allowed to happen. And even as I type this, corporations are doing their best to try and destroy the remaining rainforests and evict the people from their natural habitat. We never learn.

    Thanks for a great post Toritto!


  2. DesertAbba says:

    Great post! It is such posts as this that account for 20000 hits.


  3. sojourner says:

    Just excellent!


  4. sojourner says:

    Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II and commented:
    Capitalism, like a malignant tumor, must continually grow and devour everything living thing in its path, or cease to exist!

    And we keep feeding it!


  5. Exactly. The eventual end result of Capitalism is societal suicide. The fact that so many people ignore that shows the extent of Capitalist indoctrination and the level of fear in most people – which is a major component of the aforementioned indoctrination process.

    I’ve seen two issues in which even the most sincere people who purport to be liberal, progressive – whatever label you prefer – refuse to accept the truth about. One relates to religious beliefs and/or supporting Israel over Palestinians despite the evidence of war crimes by Israel.

    The other, which affects everything else on the planet, is the inherent destructiveness of Capitalism. It has become the state religion of corporatocracies and infects everyone that embraces it with the delusion of believing that we must “conquer” this beautiful planet we live with, “tame the savage beasts” that think and act differently than we do and call this greedy, hateful way of thinking “progress.”

    We will not evolve as a species or survive much longer until we, as a society, come to grips with the reality that Capitalism is suicide. Otherwise, humanity will perish. The planet will survive without us. We cannot survive withot the planet.


    • toritto says:

      Nicely put. Indeed. Sometime I think the reason we live in denial is that our lives are too short. One doesn’t think about survival of the species when young. I certainly didn’t. As we age we realize that we do not have the power to change anything. There is not enough time left. The planet will not get too hot before I go and won’t run out of fuel before I die. Might as well enjoy myself. After all, why worry about something which I can’t change and won’t effect me.

      Regards and thanks


  6. Naomi Klein is pretty clear in her latest book This Changes Everything that capitalism must end if there’s to be any hope of preserving life on earth.


  7. It is sad how growth is leading to environmental destruction… thank you for explaining your views here to raise awareness!


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