I'll make an attempt for the seeds and capitalism thing...and welcome Ms.
Gale-Sinex's amplification or correction to my interpretation of her words,
and your discussion. My understanding of capitalism is a little limited,
but that might be a good thing in this context. I am very willing to
believe that capitalism as we know it today is not capitalism at its best,
but I have to comment upon what I know today.
As far as I can see, real capitalism means trying to make a profit by
producing and selling good and services, so you can live a decently
comfortable life and not hurt anyone else in the process.
But what has developed to this point is a warped capitalism in which the
idea is to make as much profit as possible so a minority of people can live
like King Solomon. This capitalism is based on extraction and
using-up-the-earth's resources. Maybe we aren't talking about *capitalism*
here as much as some other -ism that I don't know the name of, but what we
do have in this country, in the name of capitalism at least, is an
exploding need for money and a concommitant need for resources. You know,
the economy is growing so everyone's happy and we just sent a bazillion
tons of topsoil down the Mississippi but that counts in the GNP twice and
we have a gazillion bushels of corn too many but we'll make plastic bags
out of it, type of thing.
In our country, it seems rare that the waste product of one
profit-generating operation is the substrate for another profit-generating
operation (although it certainly does happen sometimes). And it's also
pretty rare that our profit-generating activities are directly based on
solar energy and upon the natural nutrient cycles; we tend to use fossil
fuels and to interrupt nutrient cycles in order to generate as much profit
as possible in a fairly short (five to ten year) time frame.
This is in stark contrast to the seeds and soil economy. It's hard to pick
a place to jump into the lovely circle, but just for the sake of the
discussion, drop a seed in the soil. The soil provides nourishment; the
seed germinates and uses the sun's energy to grow; the plant takes
nutrients from the soil and uses more of the sun's energy to grow; when the
plant dies, every nutrient plus a bit more carbon is returned to the soil
and the sun keeps shining for the next generation of seeds. If you add the
other living things to this system, it just makes things smoother -- animal
eats the plant and returns the nutrients to the soil faster.
I realize that I've just given a romantic picture of the seed-soil economy
(and after complaining about warped capitalism, it's not fair), but there
are some very nice features here. Seeds grow themselves and they grow more
seeds. No need to manufacture 'em. Plants make more soil, which makes
more plants until the soil is so many millions of years old that all the
nutrients are leached out...in which case the whole cycle just relocates
itself above ground, as in the rainforests, assuming there *is* rain. No
need to dig for the nutrients; they're right there. The cycle is
self-correcting -- too many of one kind of plant, they choke themselves out
in a fairly short time and something else comes in. No government
intervention. There are more nice features, but it's getting late.
Whew. Please forgive the long post, but I have one more point. My
personal problem with capitalism, and it is just personal and not heavily
researched or rigorously scrutinized, is that it seems to have given us a
lonely sort of social system. I wonder how many elderly people are in
nursing homes now, that might not be there without the pressure for the
whole younger generations of family to work for money.
Does this clarify, or confuse, or did I miss the point entirely?
>I'm still mystified by what is meant by the "seeds" and "soil" responses.
>If Doug Hinds answered it, I either didn't understand his any better or I
>just plain didn't see it roll through this medium.... Is there a "repeat"
>button on your response, Doug?
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