Capitalism and ecological crisis

Is capitalist culture responsible for the Anthropocene?

While there are obviously variants, and capitalist culture is not the only culture, it seems to have a fundamentalist grip on our government and media; it is vitally important and cannot be ignored as a probable factor.

Some common features of capitalist culture might include:

1) Money is the measure of all things and all virtues. If something is not sellable or not privately owned it is not worthwhile. On the other hand, if it makes money it must be good (with very rare exceptions).

2) Wealth = virtue and power. Government ideally should serve business and profit alone. Attempts to regulate ecological damage from business are controversial as they could impede wealth and virtue.

3) You must fill spiritual yearnings and desires for recognition by consumption. Buy, buy, buy endlessly. The point of living is to buy. Freedom is the power to choose between products or brands.

4) All businesses must expand operations, and expand profit, to stay attractive to investors. Expansion means more consumption of material, and more destruction of nature. In capitalism production drives destruction.

5) Pollution is a way of cutting costs for a business, increasing profit and spreading the burden of cost to others. It is a straightforward business decision.

6) Nature is passive, and therefore inferior. It suffers the impacts of society. It is there for our taking and raping. It gives and gives and gives, and requires nothing back.

7) Most of what is measured as wealth is owned by a very few. Eight people are supposed to own the same as the lowest 50% of the global population. Supposedly, forty or fifty Banks own or control most of the corporations in the world. Similarly, most of the pollution is produced by a very few, but owned by the many.

Consequently, some call this age the capitalocene, as not every human society contributes to ecological disaster equally. However being capitalist is unlikely to protect you in the end.

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