Why I am not a Capitalist
Amongst other things, I explained why I am not a Socialist yesterday. Therefore, it seems only fair that I should also explain why I am not a Capitalist either. Actually, since anyone with money invested in a pension scheme is an inadvertent capitalist, it would be more accurate for me to say I have lost my faith in Capitalism. In fact, this and yesterday’s posts would have been better entitled “Why I don’t believe in Socialism” and “Why I don’t believe in Capitalism” respectively.
Whether wise or not, in a recent job application to an environmental NGO, I wrote: “It may have taken me 20-25 years to work out that my concern regarding climate change was the reason for my persistent unease about working for clients whose focus is commercial rather than environmental; but I believe that it is fundamentally important for me to have done so.”
Friends and relatives have recently characterised me as having been foolish; and/or for having poor judgement; for being too honest in job interviews; for being too idealistic and evangelistic in promoting my belief in the value of our environment; and for not placing sufficient value upon the attainment of a (supposedly) decent job. I guess that, having challenged much of the modus operandi of our modern world, I should not have been surprised by the boldness of this criticism (from a well-educated successful person) but I was, nonetheless, disappointed by it. The question still remains as to exactly who is being foolish here? Is it those who appear to be up on deck in the Orchestra – determined to keep on playing while the ship sinks; or those who appear to be locked beneath decks in Steerage – insisting that the ship might not have hit the iceberg if we had been in charge? One thing seems clear – whether you apply it to the fate of the EU or the whole planet – the myth of the unsinkable Titanic seems to be a very apt analogy for humanity’s current predicament. See: From Titanic to Avatar and back again (14 April 2012).
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been trekking round the TV and Radio Studios in the UK recently and, in between fending off questions over his handling of the Iraq War (yet again) – and admitting that he would have much preferred the job of EU President than Middle East Peace Envoy – he made the astonishing claim that Gordon Brown was “always right about economics”. Wherever ‘Blairland’ is, it sounds like an idyllic place where fantasy and fiction are indistinguishable. However, the reason I mention this is not to have a go at Labour’s economic mismanagement of the last decade but because Blair made it clear that he sees a Federalised European superstate – bankrolled by Germany – as the only way that Europe can have influence in our new global village. He even admitted that the purpose of the European Union was no longer to guarantee peace; it was to guarantee power! And for power, I think we should read ‘money’. This is because Blair was never really a Socialist; indeed he still insists in the need for a Third Way. Unfortunately, he is still worshipping at the temple of Growth and – therefore – his Third Way is still a road paved with economic denial of basic physics that can lead to nowhere but the annihilation of humanity (and most if not all life on Earth). It may take 200 years but, unless we recant from the foolishness of Growthmania and the fetishization of Money itself, I am now certain we will eventually make this planet uninhabitable. That is to say, the rapid and accelerating depletion of all its natural resources will cease to be the issue; the crunch point will come – and scientists say it is not now far off – when human activity triggers the failure of the ecosystem services that nature provides (and which make our existence possible).
Given the looming financial and economic catastrophe that collective hypnosis at Rio+20 has just made inevitable, our best option is localism not federalism: Just look at what happens when the British banking system stops processing payments for one night – it causes chaos and takes a week to sort it out. Imagine what will happen when this is repeated across the EU…
We should all be worried by this: self-sufficient communities would appear to be the only plausible means to escape the approaching twin tsunamis of environmental and socio-economic collapse… And remember, it will not happen because anyone wishes it to happen; it will now happen because our leaders chose to ignore the scientists that told them they needed to act to prevent it happening. Imagine what will happen when the failure in our banking systems is replicated in nature itself…
So, to conclude: Yesterday, I implied that I do not believe in Socialism because it is a utopian project. However, as quoted back in April, John Gray has (rightly in my view) described Capitalism as a utopian project also. Therefore, my disillusionment with both should not be surprising. But, if Tony Blair has not found it, what is the Third Way? I believe that nature itself needs a New Deal: The “go forth and multiply” project has failed; so has the “have dominion over the Earth and subdue it” project. What humanity needs to do now is to re-learn how to live in harmony with nature. If we do not, I fear that we will be exterminated because:
“Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell” – Paul Ehrlich.