- Capitalism and Alternatives -

where will it all end

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on July 07, 1999 at 12:13:23:

In Reply to: Capitalism's illusion of choice posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on July 07, 1999 at 10:10:11:

: Today you might be thinking that the personal choices available to the individual under capitalism are vast and glorious. Coke or Pepsi,

People dont exist in a box selecting fast moving consumer goods. you seem to have missed out choices you can now make about where to live, what kind of career to pursue what people to associate with etc. I do understand that people are hugely affected by upbringing, that as a child such choices are very limited and that as an adult a person has been highly influenced - but I do not subscribe to the determinist view of man, as helpless of whatever breeze might affect him.

As for the many dieoff links, there is a counter for each on www.cfact.org - yes you can try to brush them aside as 'mouthpieces for corporatism' or whatever, but not without evidence that the research in completely wrong. reading one site and then the other is an amusing excercise in contradiction and confusion. Believing one over the other without scrutinising the actual research is an excercise in faith.

: It should also be seen that the choice of a consumer society is a choice that has been prepared in advance.

All of what you can choose to buy is on a menu resultant from other peoples activities, including jobs and towns to live in - and thats the case whatever society you live in. Would you rather live in a naked tribe at the mercy of nature where choice is entirely dominated by 'survive or die' hour to hour? That seems far worse.

: You didn't choose to be born, you didn't choose to be born to your parents, and you didn't choose to be born into your current social reality within capitalist society.

Nor is your life predetermined - you will do things for reasons, reasons are not the same as causes. nor do you reserve the right to coercively change what other people do just because you choose not to like the way things are going.

: People think of Charles Darwin as related to some cliché about "survival of the fittest,"

That quotation actually refers to a principle better worded as "survival of the fit" rather than the fittest. Its a strong fallacy - an econimists joke will explain. 3 economists are confronted by a bear. A says "lets run", B says "yes lets" and C says "whats the point - we cant run faster than a bear" to which A and B reply "No, but we can run faster than you".

The belief that if one person gains then all others must have lost is as false as the "survival of the fittest" is in biology. When somoene 'defends' or damns free trade with the words "survival of the fittest" they are getting it all wrong.

The comments about overpopulation are probably very accurate, and our 'correction mechanism' seems to be the stable 'one replacement per person' birth rate in developed countries, without a shortage of food.

: Already we read of rumblings about overpopulation.

Especially in the 60s and 70s, kinda panned out in the west after that. still waiting.

As for humankind ousting many animals and plants from their previous status. yes they do. yes 'they' have been doing so since the first tool using pre-man apes. Elephants do it when they knock trees over, beavers do it when they build damn - they just don t'upset' things as much as mankind can do. Al three are natural (ie, if it wasnt natural what would it be? supernatural?).

: So how has humanity so far avoided Darwin's dilemma of niche survival? Human beings are extraordinarily versatile in being able to live in a wide variety of niches. We're also rather versatile in our exploitation of "natural resources" -- when a resource is extinguished, we tend to move to the use of other resources.

Were just so darned adaptable and our technology is getting so darned powerful would you dare draw a ceiling upon mankind as a species? Would you dare set a date for extinction at this rate? 100 years a thousand a million, billions?

: But, in assuming that humanity will continue to exploit capitalistically forever, we play a high-stakes game against the forces of entropy.

If we can add an assumption that space is not a no go area then the time frame is incredably long. If we are to save natural resources - then whom for? How many generations of a static man?

: To be allowed to choose other forms of society, we must build the ground for those other choices to happen.

Hence many people arent worried.

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