Is capitalism itself bad for the Earth?



  1. 0 Votes

    …I actually have to disagree. Capitalism is based on a few basic, clearly defined principles, and the rest is highly debatable. If we’re not talking about private business ownership, trade of goods and services, and payment of free labor, it doesn’t inherently conflict with environmental values. If you think about the system in purely objective terms, it merely posits that an incentive in form of a social norm that emphasizes environmental safety/awareness is necessary for businesses to actually pay attention to it- if the world demands that a business be 100% sustainable for it to succeed in the market, for instance, businesses that are unable to cope will fail. It’s extraordinarily unlikely, but the point is that the theory itself doesn’t conflict.

    Capitalism doesn’t inherently support materialism either- I’m not quite sure where you’re getting that. It suggests that people need to consume- that is, actually purchase products- but there’s nothing that explicitly states that excessive consumption and/or materialism is a requirement for the system- it’s merely a side-effect. Greed tends to be human nature.

    That said, the way that capitalism is now does, in fact, harm the environment through “negative externalities” and a whole host of other really officious sounding nonsense- and I’m sure that all of us actually on this site are highly displeased with that. But that’s the result of system output and humans more than it is the fault of the system itself- truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of capitalism, but there really isn’t an explicitly superior system available at this stage in time- the focus should be placed upon fixing the flaws within the existing system, rather than blaming it for the inadequacies of the users.

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