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Is capitalism sustainable? watch

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    (Original post by ScholarsInk)
    Is anything but capitalism sustainable?
    Over how long a period do you think oil, coal and gas fields formed? What about rainforests?

    By comparison, how long is it taking us humans to use these resources up in the era of industrial capitalism?
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    hmmmm to adress the initial question, I believe that reactionary ideologies will spring up from time to time, but none will refute capitalism as a source of efficiency. I believe several augmentations might take place, but no core structural change will occur (rather boring really, I will have liked to be an ideologist of the early 20th century mould)
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    sorry I missed the point; I think you have caricatured capitalism to be this monster, as resources are depleted, the markets will factor that in an ration it with prices. It will also make recycling lucrative rather than coerce people in to recyling, or giving up pleasures to help those most affected by the scarcity. Furthermore it will increase the price of finding an alternative so much that the problem will be remedied more readily than if the problem faced anyother ideology.
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    (Original post by lazzarus)
    sorry I missed the point; I think you have caricatured capitalism to be this monster, as resources are depleted, the markets will factor that in an ration it with prices. It will also make recycling lucrative rather than coerce people in to recyling, or giving up pleasures to help those most affected by the scarcity. Furthermore it will increase the price of finding an alternative so much that the problem will be remedied more readily than if the problem faced anyother ideology.
    Agreed, I think all this talk about resources being 'depleted' is just economically ignorant nonsense. It's like people who go around warning people that unless we do something about oil, one day we'll get in our car to suddenly find that all the petrol in the world has been used up!

    What this doesn't of course take into account is that there's a natural correcting mechanism - the price system in a free market. As oil gets more scarce, it costs more. As oil starts to cost more, alternatives which were uneconomical start to become worthwhile.
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    (Original post by lazzarus)
    ...I think you have caricatured capitalism to be this monster, as resources are depleted, the markets will factor that in an ration it with prices...
    I'm not sure if that post was directed at me but I'll answer as if it was.

    My intention in this thread was to point out historically what capitalism has meant in social and economic terms. The emergence of industrial capitalism in the last few centuries, accelerating and globalising in the last couple, has generated a corresponding acceleration of human population, It follows that when we talk of resources, scarcity or more generally of problems associated with human populations, the likes of which have never been on the planet before the era of capitalism, we're talking about problems that are in their cause very linked to the development of such capitalism. That would be my first point. I'm also highlighting the simple motive force of capitalism, which is profit. Capitalism is not an ethical system, it is a system of economic and social relations based on the (usually immediate or near-immediate) pursuit of profit. The destruction of the rainforest for profit, the example I've been running with, does not appear to be subject to any 'self correcting' mechanism which will save the rainforest itself. Indeed it seems that only the near-absence of rainforest will result in capitalist 'reorientation' towards other resources, by which time the rainforest is gone and cannot be replaced.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    I'm not sure if that post was directed at me but I'll answer as if it was.

    My intention in this thread was to point out historically what capitalism has meant in social and economic terms. The emergence of industrial capitalism in the last few centuries, accelerating and globalising in the last couple, has generated a corresponding acceleration of human population, It follows that when we talk of resources, scarcity or more generally of problems associated with human populations, the likes of which have never been on the planet before the era of capitalism, we're talking about problems that are in their cause very linked to the development of such capitalism. That would be my first point. I'm also highlighting the simple motive force of capitalism, which is profit. Capitalism is not an ethical system, it is a system of economic and social relations based on the (usually immediate or near-immediate) pursuit of profit. The destruction of the rainforest for profit, the example I've been running with, does not appear to be subject to any 'self correcting' mechanism which will save the rainforest itself. Indeed it seems that only the near-absence of rainforest will result in capitalist 'reorientation' towards other resources, by which time the rainforest is gone and cannot be replaced.
    I accept what you say, but it is more a criticism of human advancement than one against capitalism. Whatever the economic ideology of the populace, their advancement will inevitably deplete the enviroment. If your objection is that capitalism does not contain an ethical code, I will accpet that too, but that is arguably a good thing, because morals are not universal, and those that are generally accepted can be legislated for. I concede that it is inperfect but it is by far the best we got.... depletion of vital resources is more a government failure than anything else.
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    If you then say that socialism or something else can be more sympathetic to the enviroment, then you are mistaken. To adopt socialism is to confer more powers to a person or body than exists under capitalism, and because socialism has been used as a reactionary outlet to soo many, it has many often conflicting causes, so must involve a great amount of coercion. As all causes cannot be satisfied, the power must then pander to the majority; and they will probably be pro government spending, nationalist etc and thus more willing to dip in to the natural pot and protect community interest over the greater good. In my opinion the enviroment will be worse off under socialism, except envirometalist miraculously become a majority under the system.
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    (Original post by lazzarus)
    If you then say that socialism or something else can be more sympathetic to the enviroment, then you are mistaken. To adopt socialism is to confer more powers to a person or body than exists under capitalism, and because socialism has been used as a reactionary outlet to soo many, it has many often conflicting causes, so must involve a great amount of coercion. As all causes cannot be satisfied, the power must then pander to the majority; and they undoubtedly pro government spending, nationalist etc and thus more willing to dip in to the natural pot and protect community interest over the greater good. In my opinion the enviroment will be worse off under socialism, except envirometalist miraculously become a majority under the system.
    Well, as I suggested at the outset, socialism is, at least in principle, the pursuit of providing for each according to their needs, whereas capitalism seeks to provide according to wants, and where wants might mean all manner of excesses which destroy the environment. It follows that - at least in the abstract - socialism better fits a green agenda than capitalism does. Moreover, socialism's orientation towards planning at least allows for society to be organised so as to avoid future environmental disaster. Capitalism's orientation of 'let the markets do what they will' and its utter disinterest in the long-term future, invites environmental disaster - which is why in the era of global capitalism this is what we're actually heading for.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Well, as I suggested at the outset, socialism is, at least in principle, the pursuit of providing for each according to their needs, whereas capitalism seeks to provide according to wants, and where wants might mean all manner of excesses which destroy the environment. It follows that - at least in the abstract - socialism better fits a green agenda than capitalism does. Moreover, socialism's orientation towards planning at least allows for society to be organised so as to avoid future environmental disaster. Capitalism's orientation of 'let the markets do what they will' and it's utter disinterest in the long-term future, invites environmental disaster - which is why in the era of global capitalism this is what we're actually heading for.
    George Bush had wanted a better world after he took over, shame....

    In the end it is a question of efficiency. Whether the forces are guided by a noble cause which it has no hope of fufilling (because it contradicts its other causes and is inherently incompetent), or by numerous self interests that often leads to the greater good. Externalities are market failures and should be addressed by legislation, and absense of this becomes government failure.

    My main points are that a noble inception doesn't make for a more sustainable of effieicient system (as is the subject of this thread).
    When the problem of depeletion stops being of nominal nature, and more to do with actual scarcity, capitalism will address it (though with considerable pain, much more readily that socialism)
    Legislation can easily remedy the problem.... its one of the augmentations I talked about before.
 
 
 
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