Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.Cree Indian Prophecy
We think that Capitalism is the only way forward because its alternatives supposedly killed millions of people. It has become the norm in the world and any country that doesn’t follow it is characterized as a brutal regime. Any criticism of it will end up with a response, like- “Move to North Korea if you hate Capitalism so much”!
It is a system based on limitless growth and does not consider the environment or workers. A forest on top of a coal reserve is in the way of development and laborers demanding more than a hundred rupees for 12 hours of hard labor is a communist plot. Whether you are a worker or an owner, you ultimately live on this planet, and keeping it habitable is the only way to survival but “human greed just cannot care about the future” or as we’re told by the capitalists.
We’re already facing the consequences of the prolonged torture of our planet. If we are going to mitigate some of the worst effects of climate fallout, we need to start making real changes immediately. But this has become evermore unlikely because it isn’t profitable for corporations to make real changes, It is much more profitable to portray themselves as caring for the environment and even shifting the blame on normal people. Companies like BP are rebranding themselves as environment-conscious despite being the largest contributors of greenhouse gases whereas entire multibillion-dollar corporations like Tesla are built on the trend of caring for the environment even though they’re doing more harm than good about the issue.
Capitalism’s motive is limitless growth. So it is obvious that if a system demands greater profit each year, it will inevitably run into the problem of existing on a planet with finite resources. All of our plans to encounter climate change like ‘Carbon Neutral by 2050’ require long-term planning but capitalism is a system that completely blocks it from happening because we can’t just decrease profit or the entire system will crash down and bring another recession which will destroy millions of lives but more importantly decrease the net worth of billionaires.
There are several horrifying stories of Amazon workers having to pee in bottles or else they’ll get fired or the one where they had to just keep working while a fellow employee was dying from a heart attack in front of their eyes. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos could easily make amazon workers the best-treated employees but that is simply not profitable. This was a foreign example, remember the first lockdown where thousands of migrant laborers were fired from their jobs and had to choose between starving to death or walking back to where they came from, the world just moved on and no questions were raised because this is what we’ve come to accept as normal. My point here is that how can we expect a system to handle climate change when it can’t even take care of its workers that are keeping it alive?
The entire history of this system is the exploitation of the workers and the environment. Since its inception in the industrial revolution, industrial capitalism has been a juggernaut of waste. Overproduction of needless commodities released billions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the air and billions of tons of waste into the land. It just doesn’t make sense that we’re overproducing basically everything but there are still people that can’t even afford a single meal for themselves.
We’re currently in the final stage of capitalism (at least on earth) and we’re seeing the highest wealth inequality ever seen. This has given birth to a crisis in every single aspect of life. Whether it be water, food, homes, transportation, or employment; we’re facing a crisis in all of them with many people not being able to afford food, water or shelter because they have very exploitative and underpaying jobs or no jobs at all.
Capitalism will not solve employment which will subsequently lift millions out of poverty because that will empower the workers. Capitalists have a tool called ‘the reserve army of labor and this allows them to treat their workers in the absolute worst ways imaginable without any consequences because no matter how bad the job is, there is always someone desperate enough for it so if the workers try to unionize, they can always be replaced.
Even services like health care and education that are required for a functioning society in this age aren’t available for everyone. Everyone knows the state of public schools or government schools in India, more than a quarter of the population is illiterate because they cannot afford private schools and government schools do not provide meaningful education in a lot of cases. Another service is healthcare; In the US, all medical care is privately owned and it can cost an arm and leg to get life-saving treatment. It also hinders innovation that can save millions of lives because it’s much more profitable to cure Acne (a harmless skin condition) than Malaria, the most deadly disease ever in terms of the death toll.
People say that the solution is to change capitalism a bit and have the government regulate things but that won’t work because if you have the money, you can just buy a politician into making policies that you benefit from. For example, some amendments were made to India’s forest laws recently that allowed companies to cut down forests without the consent of the tribals living in them. If the government was acting in the interest of the citizens then they wouldn’t have favored the corporations.
They say that it is a human tendency to be greedy and destroy the planet; that people will only go to work under capitalism because it provides them the incentive of money; that whatever is happening is completely natural and the only way of life, but this is completely false. The only reason we didn’t go extinct was because of our empathy and cooperation. Back in the days of the hunter-gatherers, there wasn’t a thing like money; everyone hunted according to their capacity and ate according to their needs. There are several incentives to work like passion, contribution to society or not wanting to starve.
Managers have to be trained to fire people, they’re put in scenarios where they have to fire a single mother who needs money desperately for her son’s cancer treatment. They can’t get themselves to do it because of basic human empathy, this is the actual human tendency
The consequences of climate change will result in the mass extinction of life on earth. Increased droughts will result in the most devastating famines the world has seen, most of the drinkable water will dry out and this will lead to the biggest humanitarian crisis ever. There will come a day when Imperialist nations like America aren’t after oil, they’re after drinking water.
To conclude everything is wrong with our current system and if we wish to even have a future, we must get rid of it.
This Article is Part of the Series “Climate Change is not your Fault”