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sorry typo It should read…I wasn't willing to do that. Freudian???
I apologize for not responding to your post. It is the fruits of one's labor, but what about the labor that produced those fruits. A quick example is Walmart. I did work a job all my life and yes, it was a feeble attempt on my part to make a small part of the world a better place for those I provided services to. Did I pass up chances for great wealth, yes. The price I would have had to pay was, for me, too great. I would have had to compromise the quality of the services I was providing and I wasn't unwilling to do that. My pay was enough to raise a family with 2 wonderful children, but not with much left over. We will have to agree to disagree on your statements in paragraphs 4 and 5. Blends of socialism and capitalism have been successful and China is proving that a blend of capitalism and communism is very successful, altho I would not want to bet on the future success of China. This format is too limiting for me to "describe a better alternative", so may I suggest, again, Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything". You may not like what she says, but it is, to me anyway, a better alternative.
Mark, as much as I respect your mind and your opinions, the "see what has happened in the past and the same will happen in the future" is an extremely poor rationale to continue a dysfuntional approach to the problems we face. I also think your statement that it is not as "evil" as your examples can be questioned if you consider gains made via war, colonialism, slavery, corporate destruction of environments, and on and on. I will ask you to consider this. Our current rendition of capitalism is based on the values and prioities we as a nation honor. If we value and define a successful life as gaining the most wealth, the biggest house, etc, then we get what we have. What if we, as a people, said we choose to value community, quality of life for all our citizens, giving back as much as we take, be it from the environment, other nations, or individual people. What if instead of our prioities being profit, profit, profit, we state our priorities as planet, people, profit? Pls don't come back with this can't happen. We have shown the ability to change the countries attitude about smoking, women voting, civil rights and a host of other topics. We have the ability to convince folks that their goal in life and what will make them happy is a shopping trip to Walmart and a Big Mac. If we can "sell" this, we definitely have the skill set to "sell" a path to a safer, kinder, more viable world. I have enjoyed our discussion, but at this time I have to bow out. Maybe to continue on another day.
Thank you for the sentiment, but there is no reason for sorrow and I am not one to believe in prayer, but again, thank you for the sentiment. I am on borrowed time, it is only the reason that is a maybe. I accept total responsiblity for my decisions in life and their consequences, whether they were informed decisions or not. Individual actions will have no significant effect on our environmental situation. Systemic change is the only thing that will alter our current course. So my not using fossil fuels and/or removing myself from this country is irrelevant. It is very difficult to express complex thoughts in this format, but I will try. My issue is not necessarily with capitalism, but in what it has become in America. You are a winner because of hard work. I suspect you are also a winner because of being born in a subculture that fostered success, valued education, provided you with a relatively safe environment, and many, many other factors. A large part of our society and a larger part of the world do not have these conditions, usually thru no fault or action of their own. I spent a lifetime trying to help young folks attain a "place at the table" where there wasn't one. Nothing was given but an opportunity to educate, train and learn the ways of the middle class work world. It was demanding with many lines drawn in the sand that were upheld. Most of the folks played by the rules to the best of their ability only to find there still wasn't a place at the table. Most times for reasons beyond their control. The did not have the ability to generate enough profit to justify their being able to provide for themselves. They couldn't compete against workers in oppressed countries. They made mistakes (because the middle class work world was completely new to them) that were not forgiven or understood. Did they have the opportunity to pay their way thru college, no. Did they have the academic foundations to compete in college, no. Did they keep their noses to the grindstone until it was obvious to everyone that there was no hope, yes. To think that everyone in this country/in the world has the opportunity to turn hard work and dedication into a productive life is erroneous thinking. The imbalance of wealth is in large part why these conditions exist. Am I the product of the capitalism box, yes. Will my rantings change it (I hope I'm not ranting), no. Will my trying to get individuals like youself to consider alternatives to the present system, maybe. If America is truly the world leader, then let's lead in ways other than war, oppression and destruction. I have enjoyed our interaction, but do have to sign off. Maybe to continue on another day. Peace.
Mark, let me start off by saying I have been reading you (and the rest of the "boys") for years to try and understand how and why you believe as you do. Thank you to all for enriching my understanding. That being said, to assume that innovation and creativity in food production, medicine. or any other field would not have happened without capitalism is a pretty bold assumption. To assume that the only reasons mankind has progressed is because of the "carrot" of extreme wealth is questionable and, to me, pretty depressing. I have no desire to return to the "stone age" and firmly believe that with resolve and leadership we can stop our system of endless extraction/production and create a system that sustains life, not destroys it. Using folks that are leaving oppressive systems (which we often have had a hand in creating) to come to the US is a pretty low bar. It's like saying we don't have poor folks compared to Somalia. Would my moving change anything? Would my stopping to burn fossil fuels help save the planet? I am asking folks to look at our present system and to ask if it is the most effective way to deal with the problems we are faced with, that's all. To blindly assume what has worked in the past will work now is following "the Church of Predetory Capitalism" with the unquestioning loyalty you often accuse environmentalist of doing. Our government (or any government, for that matter) may not have the monetary resources, but the resources do exist in this world. It is simply a matter of have those pay for what has been "stolen".
Dan-I am a product of my environment and yes, I have lived my life in this country, therefore I have gained "benefit" from capitalism.( I may also be a victim of one of it's "benefits" as I am now on "borrowed time" on this merry-go-round possibly due to extensive exposure to a very toxic chemical 35 yrs ago) To ask those questions assumes that anything/everything good in my life is the result of capitalism and would not have happened if it were not for capitalism. I would challenge this assumption. Do I burn fossil fuels? Of course I do. Again, I live in this country. Would I be willing to change my lifestyle significantly if it meant changing to a system not based on destruction, yes I would. Would my not using fossil fuels have any impact on the destruction of our planet, no. That would require systemic change, not individual change. That is a lame arguement captialist throw at anyone challenging the system. Could it be the despots are the result of colonialism, invasion by corporations stealing resources/wealth, and other outside influences? If one looks at how great wealth has been obtained, be it by a nation, a corporation, or an individual, I think one would find that is it usually on the backs of others. You make asumptions that the things you list as a result of capitalism and would not have happened under any other system. That innovation and creativity would not happen if not for capitalism. That greed is the only human motivator. Those are lofty assumptions. My point, however, is not that capitalism was/is evil. Rather it is to challenge folks to look at whether it still is the most effective way to address the challenges we now face as a country and a planet. Is there a way that doesn't create extreme winners and losers? Is there a way that does not destroy, but creates? To not ask these questions, to me, is to blindly follow (to use Mark's analogy style) the Church of the Peditory Capitalist. I wonder if you were not one of the winners if you would so adamantly support such a system as present day capitalism?
Both capitalism (as it is now) and the extraction/ burning of fossil fuels are unsustainable. Constant pressure to grow economically is unsustainable. A fulfilling life is not the product of GDP. Constant production of waste, be it carbon, plastic or many of the other by-products of capitalism is unsustainable. It's not a question of whether capitalism is good or bad, but rather the thinking and where it has lead us has outlived its ability to provide for life on this planet and the planet itself. I realize the narative is that capitalism has provided nothing but positives, but I suspect the billions living under food scarcity would question this. The millions that have had their way of life disrupted for the benefit of a few would challenge this. The citizens of this country that have had their waterways, soil and air destroyed would doubt this assumption. I have faith that humanity can sustain life rather than destroy it. Call me naive, but that is what I believe. Specie and planetary suicide does not have to be the foredained conclusion, but unless profound change to our approach to life happens , it seems inevitable.
Mark asks how will the liberals afford more expensive energy now that they have spent all the money on social engineering? The answer is easy. The same way the conservatives will afford geo engineering after spending all the money on war, military engineering and subsidies to the extraction industry. They won't. May I suggest Naomi Klein's " This Changes Everything". You may not like what she has to say, but it does give the progressive's answer to your questions. It's not that conservatives deny human impact on the climate as much as they don't like the solutions. If we resolve the energy/climate issues and find out it is a hoax, we will have wasted all that time and resources on creating a cleaner and more sustainable planet. Who would want that? We have the technology and the ingenuity to change our energy sources and resolve the climate issues in a relatively short time. What we don't have, as a planet, is the political will and leadership.
The same way conservatives are going to afford geo-engineering after having spent all the money on war, military engineering and the subsidies to the extraction industry. They're not. May I suggest Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything". You may not like what she says, but it does show the progressive's answer to your question. Conservatives deny climate change not because it's not happening, but because they don't like the solutions. After all, if we resolve the climate issue and find out it is a hoax, we will have wasted all that time and resources creating a cleaner, more sustainable planet…. and who wants that?
Sorry, wrong article. sorry
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