- Capitalism and Alternatives -

They never will; it's a tantalizing mirage created by the West.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on August 06, 1999 at 15:47:09:

In Reply to: When that 'fifth' gets their McDonald's, they can have a Coke - and a smile. posted by Dr. Cruel on August 06, 1999 at 12:05:09:

: : : Things will remain about the same.

: : Wrong, for starters. (DC: Eh?)

Things change; that is in the nature of things.
(or de rerum natura, if you want to quote Lucretius Carus.)

: : : All in all, a bright future. Which is of course what one would expect, given the global triumph of the free-market paradigm. Sorry.

: : A bright future, given that the U.N. is predicting wars due to the lack of fresh water within the next 30 years

:(DC: …in an era where one can have fresh, flouridated water from a tap in the house - as opposed to the more ‘natural’ choleric conditions available to more primitive societies)

You can have fresh, flouridated water; in the meanwhile, the water supply for the majority of the world is now more contaminated with man-made pollutants like PCBs, steroid hormones (like BGH and oestrogen), dioxins, benzyl chlorides, organophosphates and such. Just because you are more privileged than ever before doesn't mean that the majority has never had it so good.

Oh, quite apart from all else, fluoridation is of dubious medical benefit; fluorine is highly poisonous; the only reason for putting it into water is to fight tooth decay (yet it causes fluorosis if ingested in amounts even slightly over the norm); something that could be achieved equally well (and better) by a properly balanced diet.
(Furthermore, the extraction of soluble fluorides is expensive and uses fossil fuels...)

:: that the climate is becoming ever more extreme due to atmospheric change

: (DC: Would it be a new Ice Age, or is it the Greenhouse Effect this year? I wouldn’t know, having missed the last "Earth Day" circus)

Try reading the up-to-date scientific conclusions, then. Or try checking the real world for some empirical evidence.

:: that the Western world has used up more of the Earth's non-renewable resources in the last 40 years than it did in all the rest of recorded history totalled

: (DC: Yes - I, too, am in favor of a greater dependence on nuclear power)

Despite the fact that nuclear energy actually costs more to produce than fossil-fuel-based energy; up to three times as much, in fact.

And fossil fuels aren't the only non-renewable resource by a long chalk.

:: and the rate of consumption is still increasing

: (DC: …but of course. Your point being?).

My point being that resources are finite. The faster we use them, the sooner they run out. This is such an elementary truth that even an economist could understand it.

: ‘Ecological concern’ is vague enough to do the job this generation, as it stands … until the capitalists finally privatize and mechanize the ‘Green’ movement, of course.

I'll believe it when I see it. When you prove that capitalism can transcend the laws of physics, I'll believe. Until then, I have to laugh at your attempts to insist that humanity is master of the planet.

:: You are in the position of someone thrashing the engine of a car whilst happily insisting that it doesn't ever need more fuel or oil

(DC: I thought I was in favor of getting the lunatic with the hammer away from my engine, what with his (her?) Luddite ranting and such)

What was I referring to in my statement? I was referring to the planetary geology and ecosystem of the Earth; something I know far more about than you do. Call me a planet mechanic if it makes you feel happier; the balance of the scientific evidence suggests that we are destroying our environment at an unprecedented rate. Surprise, surprise, if we make our environment hostile to life, we die. This isn't rocket science (although I can give you lessons in that too, if you'd like...).

As a species, we need to reduce our pollution and resource usage fast, or we are shafted. I don't give a toss about political ideology here; this is the verdict that the experimental data coming from satellites like ERS and NOAA points to; this is what climate change institutes and meteorological centres like the Hadley Centre are saying.

I don't see a capitalist system reducing either of these damage rates any time soon; as capitalism has to keep turning a continual fiscal profit; which engenders environmental destruction. That is why I am opposed to capitalism; I was a scientist long before I was a Green; I became Green because of the scientific data I saw.

:: that maintenance is in fact entirely unnecessary

: (DC: …only by mechanics of my choosing, and at my behest - not via edicts from an all-knowing band of incompetents and opportunists. Let the market, or the ballot, decide)

The market doesn't serve anything but itself; it certainly doesn't care about the environment (except insofar as it affects profits).

(This has always struck me as puzzling; a bit of long-term planning would tell even the most die-hard capitalist that screwing up the planet in the long term is bad for business and will reduce profits. I guess that most figure that they'll be dead by the time it happens (it could be in the next 50 years) and that a quick buck now is preferable.

Maybe that's why boom-and-bust seems to be such a regular occurrence; too much focus on the immediate growth at the expense of the long-term).

I don't trust the judgement of the oil industry when it comes to climate change; as they have a heavy commercial interest in saying that it doesn't happen. That's not to say I won't examine their claims, but their claims are usually incorrect. The consensus of opinion in the field of climate change is that global warming is happening.

If we're looking for a bunch of incompetents and opportunists, try looking in the World Trade Organisation, not the world of science; to survive in the world of science you have to fight hard for your funding; whereas anyone who can bullshit enough in the business world can become either a consultant or a manager; and work their way up from there...if the business world was anything like as tough to make money in as the scientific world, there would be a lot fewer businessmen.

(speaking as one of the many who went into computers; as it was much easier to make a living in than slaving years for a Ph.D. and them more in postdoc, at the end of which you would probably not have any funding.)

:: and that the black smoke pouring out of the back is in fact imaginary and Communist-inspired

: (DC: When that ‘black smoke’ is a transparent ideology, you betcha).

It isn't; it's hard science.

: : A pox on you, you pompous buffoon

: (DC: If that ‘pox’ be the free market, I’m all for it. Please keep your snake-oil to yourself, dearie).

Heh. You espouse free-market capitalism, as elusive an idea as "true" Marxism or Anarchism; and you accuse me, a science graduate, of being a snake-oil merchant?

Might I remind you that the phenomenon of snake oil was an early example of free-market entrepreneurs exploiting the use of bad science to an uninformed public in the name of profit. Snake-oil salesmen would have been no more fond of market regulation than you are...


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