GREEN LEFT INFOASIS:- There are plenty of good reasons we should be doing away with capitalism: its brutal class oppression, its undemocraticness, its enrichment of the few at the expense of the many, its constant drive toward war and empire, just to name a few. But one extremely urgent reason, which is related to all those other reasons, is its inherent tendency toward environmental degradation. With animals, plant life, oceans, forests, and the very ecological basis of human survival threatened, we have to act now to reverse the course we're on.
What we need to be doing, as a society, is halting growth, reigning in production and redirecting it toward meeting need and ecological sustainability. But look at our current predicament. The exact opposite is occurring. Politicians and corporate elites are scrambling to find a way to actually stimulate more growth to 'save the economy'. That's the wall we're up against. Capitalism must grow or die. Slowing of growth and slumps make the system unhealthy and could mean a crisis of global proportions like the one we're currently experiencing. Obviously, infinite growth on a planet of finite resources is completely unsustainable.
Through our labor, we interact with and transform nature. But under capitalism, our labor is controlled and directed by a capitalist. The things we produce are the property of the capitalist to be sent to market. The goal of the capitalist is to create profit and every capitalist has to constantly be striving to expand markets and profits. If they cannot or will not, they'll go under and be replaced by a capitalist who will. By eliminating the capitalist and the dictatorship of profit from the equation, it will be possible to take our economic lives into our own hands and re-orient the way we interact with nature. By liberating ourselves from wage slavery, we'll be in a position to also liberate the Earth from the grip of capital.
We desperately have to make need, quality of life, and ecology the priorities of society. But capitalism looks at human labor and nature and sees how much money they can be converted into. It will not guarantee success, but only by doing away with capitalism and moving to a classless economic democracy controlled by the associated producers do we have a chance of dealing with ecological crises in a humane and sustainable way.
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