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Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”


#21

Thank you. I keep telling people that the USSR was never communist or socialist, that Marx would have been sad to see it called that. It violated what he considered important.


#23

Capitalism on its own is not a problem, capitalism in the form of unregulated Wild West style is a problem. I find religion as the main factor affecting climate change , evangelicals in particular are quite dangerous in this view . Belief of doomsday scenario and looking forward to the end of the world is quite amusing if it was a small cult as oppose to the swipe across all southern states.

Germany is a capitalist society but moves to green energy ahead of anyone and frankly US is as wall if it wants to . US had clean air act which fixed pollution while remaining a capitalist society.


#24

Reminds me of the health care debacle. Put something in the middle between the 2 ends of the exchange, and that middle is ripe for exploitation…

{By the way, I seem to be having more and more trouble at getting a clear signal to Common Dreams via my ISP. Has the capitalistic conspiracy to silence us via the repeal of Net Neutrality finally begun to set in?}


#25

Denial is used for the illusion to continue .Acceptance is for those that act responsible . Most of the decisions that were made to look the other way and continue the use of fossil fuels were all about “follow the money”. Old men probably now retired or past over who only cared for the short term .


#26

Where then does capitalism come from ?
What Cultural Myths and Stories undergrid our persistence in using this model which will lead to our demise .

“To change the existing reality, you have to create a new model and make the old one obsolete .”
Bucky Fuller

Time to write a new story based on truth not fallacies …time to Awaken The Species. It’s a great book by the way !


#27

Hemp can help ,it takes in four times the Co2 of trees ,gives us pure oxygen. It can subsitute for so many non renewable resources at a tenth of the cost. The second fastest growing plant on the planet and can basically grow anywhere .


#28

#29

Superb comment!


#30

More fundamentally, it has been a combination of greed and ignorance that has prevented real progress on global warming, not capitalism per se. Today most US citizens remain at best dismissive and skeptical of the dangers of global warming. If science and extreme weather and self-interest can’t convince enough Americans to act, and if most citizens don’t have the capacity to assess and dismiss denialist arguments, the world is headed toward doom. Perhaps other countries in Asia and Europe will be better.


#31

Try reading some Marx. It’s part of the development of human political-economic activity. It is neither a cultural myth nor story, but a material reality. What we must do with our cultural myths and stories is to weave dialectical materialism into them to accurately understand what capitalism is and does. It’s not all the hard if you’re willing to face truth and able to ignore/stand up to red-baiting.


#32

Naomi, the cancerous core tumor (and facilitating lie) of the ‘capitalism’ in this Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE is the lie of omission that some of the costs — specifically those that economists call “negative externality costs” can simply be dumped on others (where the ‘others’ are people, our government, and our environment).

Dumped or hidden ‘negative externality costs’ never disappear or solve themselves — they have to be paid, remediated, cleaned-up, and paid for by someone — but the accounting of crony capitalism does NOT require that these ‘negative externality costs’ are part of the supposedly ‘fully burdened costs’ that a product or service providing capitalist corporation has to pay.

It’s very easy to make products (like cigarettes, land mines, cluster bombs, and CDOs/CDSs/synthetic ETFs) that will cause more damage with theit ‘negative externality costs’ than there is in their faux-profits — or even more than their total revenue.

The design of products and/or services which are upside-down in causing more negative externality costs than positive value, profits, or even revenue — represents the section of our economy where designing such products and services in such a way as to be hidden, disguised, and distribute the bad ‘negative externality costs’ pushed forward over time, or spread-out over geography, is the most ‘creatively destructive skill’ that many corporations seek in hiring ‘the smartest guys in the room’ to design and perfect for the Masters of the Universe who hire such critical talent of making a product or service “look so good it can’t be true” with respect to hiding it’s ‘negative exrternality costs’ over time and space.

In the following comments (2) to Paul Krugman, and the last to [Coral Davenport] a “Times” reporter on auto pollution, I pleaded with Paul to educate the younger public as to the danger of ‘high negative externality cost’ producing products and services:


#34

The problem with communism is that it had to be forced , the change must come from the human heart as a result of the raising of consciousness .


#35

The human heart is part of the human body/soul/mind/collective spirit. All are in relation to material reality and that’s where democratic socialism of some form comes in. The human heart cannot be healthy when it is hungry for peace, bread, work and dignity.


#36

Uh no Naomi. It was human ignorance regarding having children without knowing if resources existed to support those children.

It was people buying a bunch of cheap stuff to entertain their families.

It was human nature and capitalism.


#37

Correct! Thank you.


#38

Oh, it kills capitalists too. And their children and grand children.They just don’t care.
Congressional Republicans are so ignorant and greedy, that if they were farmers, there would be no second harvest, and after trying to eat all their money, they would starve.


#39

Barter and capitalism are not equivalent.

cap·i·tal·ism ˈkapədlˌizəm/
noun

  1. an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
    synonyms: free enterprise, private enterprise, the free market;
    enterprise culture

bar·ter ˈbärdər/
noun

    1. the action or system of exchanging goods or services without using money.

When barter is used in a mutual exchange, the values of the items are agreed upon by both parties. When money is used, the value of the currency is decided by the holder of the currency.

Profit is made by selling something for more than its intrinsic value. That’s how capitalism works.
prof·it
ˈpräfət/
noun

    1. a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something.

If two parties exchange one horse for two cows, the value of the exchange is agreed upon by both parties.
If two parties exchange one horse for two stones, the value of the exchange is decided upon by the holder of the stones. The value of the horse is a known quantity. The value of the stones is arbitrary.
Cryptocurrency is based entirely on the consensus of those trading in that strange commodity. However, printed or minted currency is an equally arbitrary and strange commodity.


#40

I certainly agree with Klein and others who criticize the blatant corporate apologetics of the piece. But I don’t agree that capitalism is the cause of our problems. We have equal problems with other economic systems;

Capitalism, while certainly a cruel, stupid, and destructive way to structure our relationships to each other and the rest of nature, is not the cause of the problem. It’s a tool that exacerbates, defines and refines the symptoms, but it’s not the disease. The objectification that results in the commodification that’s one hallmark of capitalism is not the problem either but it’s a step closer to the cause.

The many accumulated forcings toward the full expression of our disease can’t be completely traced, but we can find bits here and there. We can understand what causes problems in individuals if we understand psychology, but the science of psychology is still struggling to understand explain the problem of society’s mind. There are hints and theories but no comprehensive explanation as there is with climate catastrophe, formed through the investigations of dozens of different specialties from physics to entomology. We can understand parts of it as an attachment disorder that leads to lack of compassion, complex PTSD which leads to dissociation, aka denial, and other parts that all combine to form a collective autism reinforced by neglect, overbearing or cruel invasion and the nature deprivation the disease itself causes.

Parts of it are described in Nature and Madness, by Paul Shepard. Saharasia, by James DeMeo (otherwise a climate-denying nutcase) has good ideas about its individual and historical spread. Wilhelm Reich (The Function of the Orgasm, The Mass Psychology of Fascism) and Jung have considerable insight. Theodor Roszak’s (ed) Ecopsychology has some, but Wetiko disease is the best name and description I’ve found. Until we heal the disease, whatever economic system we build will always be a manifestation and further cause of it. We need to address the worst aspects of capitalism but we also need to recognize and begin to treat–individually and socio-politically–the disease.


#41

Well, S333, while reading reading the full article Losing Earth in NY Times Magazine, I found a quote from James Hansen (near the end of the piece) where he’d estimated between 80 trillion and 500+ trillion to do that job of “rebuilding”, over a couple of centuries apparently.


#42

It is an easy calculation. In the US we spend $1tn per year on the fuel of fossil energy. Clean energy costing the same would be $1tn/year or about 6% of GNP. Growth and infrastructure could push $2tn/year or $200tn per century.