Thanks for the very lucid argument again. Posed in the way you have, it
makes us look for genuine alternatives, not look for a choice from among
existing failed alternatives.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology, Powai
Mumbai, 400076, India
Phone: 091 022 576 7372
On Mon, 24 Aug 1998, Jane Sooby wrote:
> Just to clarify why claiming that no better system has come along than
> capitalism is not much of an argument:
> this assumes that humans have in their relatively brief period of time on
> this planet have already explored all possible ways of organizing things. To
> limit ourselves to only the economic systems that have already been
> developed--such as capitalism, socialism, communism, even barter--is to stop
> the creative process (hallmark of the evolving organism) and reduce our
> options to the merely known. The failings or limitations of all these
> systems require that we IMAGINE SOMETHING NEW to nurture the planet and all
> its inhabitants.
> I have whispered for years, "Is capitalism compatible with sustainable
> agriculture?" because in Marx's analysis--borne out by historical fact--it
> is in the nature of capitalism to expand, requiring increased exploitation
> of natural resources and expanding markets whether or not it's appropriate.
> Why does Hollywood re-make old tv shows into full-length movies, and recycle
> old movies into new movies? Why do the car manufacturers come out with new
> models every year rather than give us new classically styled T-birds and
> Corvettes? Why do food manufacturers constantly claim "new and improved" on
> their products so we think we're buying something better than the same old
> crap? Why do we (the consuming public) fall for these tricks and believe all
> these claims? Why are billions spent solely on advertising every year,
> billions that could eradicate hunger and mitigate a hell of a lot of
> illness? Why does the GNP have to expand every year or there is something
> wrong with the economy? And the gap between the rich and the poor widens.
> Expansion is in the nature of capital, which I imagine as a vast wheel
> rolling across the land, crushing small family farms and making way for
> corporations to control the land. We in sustainable agriculture are working
> hard to hold back the motion of that wheel, which has caused so much damage
> to the environment and hasn't led to much of an elevation of our nation's
> conscience, either. Look at the sheer number of women and children raped and
> abused in our country--what is wrong with this picture?
> 1 out of every 3 American women will be sexually assaulted in her
> 61% of all rape cases are victims less than 18 years old.
> This relates to Victoria's perception of the social drawbacks of capitalism:
> >My personal problem with capitalism,... is that it seems to have given us a
> >lonely sort of social system.
> Not only lonely, but alienated from the Earth and from each other, based on
> competition and short-term gain rather than cooperation and conserving for
> the long-term.
> Back to the challenge, which I have been considering for a long time now:
> how can we organize systems that will nurture, not exploit? Do we literally
> need to tear down skyscrapers and wage war against capital to change things?
> I have a bias toward non-violence. Can we truly visualize a peaceful future
> that will be ushered in with our positive energy flow? Or what?
> It's hard to imagine what hasn't happened before--I invite you to try.
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