On Unrestrained Capitalism and the Environment

Slaughter the rhino
so a foolish old man
can enhance his virility;
the cocktail of millionaires

Oh no child
there aren’t any more of those;
now you can see them only on History
been none of those since the 21st century

Forests?
Well down at the tip of the botanical garden
all fenced off
you can see a small one

used to go on forever
uncharted, stretching far as the eye could see
surrounded by itself, holding us
‘cause being there felt so good

not that I know ‘cause I’ve never seen one
Now it’s used only for honeymoons
where young couples can love
in the illusion of paradise

And the sky used to be clear
and blue
like the oceans
once teeming with fish and birds;

No child;
there are no more rhinos or tigers
only stuffed or on line
the last two elephants are in the Cape Town zoo

And I thought of Sol 
dying in his euthanasia chamber
in the hallucinated city, tears in his eyes
listening to the music, watching the screen.

.

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 Yet corporations convicted of crimes cannot go to prison nor have any been “executed” – their corporate charter withdrawn for criminal activity.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  now moribund TPP agreement, (remember that?) which none of us was allowed to read apparently went 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.  Of course when the Emperor Trump withdrew from the deal these were not the reasons he gave when he criticized it. He simply wanted a “better deal” (read more profitable) for America.  Besides, it was an Obama deal and all traces of Obama are to be erased like an Egyptian Pharaoh defacing  the name of a hated predecessor.

Oh well.

Meanwhile we celebrate Earth Day each year 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).

Several years ago 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 more seismic activity because of……drilling and fracking.

https://www.ecowatch.com/confirmed-oklahoma-earthquakes-caused-by-fracking-1882034344.html

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 what to do about it.

Unfortunately most of those in the environmental movement in general, are unable to think outside of capitalism. It appears inconceivable to most people 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.  Capitalist profit is the reason we kill the rhinoceros so that an elderly billionaire living in the far east can get an erection.

Capitalism is the reason our Great Leader doesn’t give a rat’s ass how many die so long as the stock market remains strong.

P.S. – We can start with highly restrained, regulated capitalism, a mixture of private and  public sector.  Yes I know – there’s that “slippery slope toward socialism” again. Capitalists always say that.

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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1 Response to On Unrestrained Capitalism and the Environment

  1. beetleypete says:

    I think we are long past teh stage where recycling cardboard will save the planet. The very nature of the recycling industry can cause more problems than it solves.
    Thanks for the memory about Edward G, and ‘Soylent Green’. I wonder how much longer it will be until they are selling that in supermarkets?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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