Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Infinite growth on a finite planet: does not compute

In talking about capitalism with people who don't get it--corpoarate power, the rise of the far right in Europe--so many variables, such a complicated set of problems--I try to keep in mind a simple pattern that encompases almost all of the parts: that capitalism succeeds by growth, collapses when growth slows too much or stops. We live on a planet with finite resources, many of those which have fueled growth, and on which we have come to depend have passed their peak--so that it becomes more and expensive, and destructive to our environment to exploit them, and with the threat of collapse, we see those in power clinging shifting to desparate, economically self-defeating measures--from production to financancial pyramid schemes, the privitazation of resources neccesary for life. None of this is going to work. Economic collapse is unavoidable if growth can't be maintained. Growth can't be maintained because the resources upon which it depends are finite. For those who cannot imagine anything other that what we have now, they must see what's coming, as much as they publicly deney it. So we militarize our police, sieze and privitize every public resource, undermine and cripple democratic institutions, builld political power on no-nothing populist movements, seeded with money and the propaganda of fear. One thing follows another, and at the bottom, this simple reality: that we live on small planet with finite rescources, and we are lashed to an economic model that collapses without perpetual growth. Understand that, and everything else falls into place.

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