Is Capitalism Becoming Nature’s Disease?

In an interview with Bill Moyers, American journalist Chris Hedges highlights the inherent flaws of our political and social infrastructures, as detailed in his book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (Alhabbo, 2012). He primarily addresses the violence of capitalism (i.e., corporate power), how short-term profit comes at a long-term expense to the economy, to the environment, and to humanity at large. He states,

“There is no way to control corporate power. The system has broken down…and because of that we’ve all become commodities, just as the natural world has become a commodity that is being exploited, until it is exhausted or it collapses” (Alhabbo, 2012).

A recent report supports Hedges claims of the system’s inadequacies, finding that nearly half of the world’s food goes waste before it is eaten—an astounding “1.2-2bn tonnes” (Smithers, 2013). When put into perspective, it seems almost intuitive that mass production inevitably yields under consumption, which is simply not sustainable. Joi Ito, director MIT’s Media Lab, points out how the current aims of technological progress “emphasize the wrong priorities for development” in that they endeavor “efficiency” over “resilience” (Shankland, 2013). Moreover over, he believes that the exponential growth of technologies (e.g. Life enhancing biotechnologies, Kurzweil’s singularity) can be ecologically harmful in that their effects to the larger system or social-network are not being accounted for.

In their 1972 book “Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia”, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari foreshadowed the shortcomings of a capitalist system, suggesting it ultimately led to a state of “psychological repression” and “social oppression” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1972). The current state of the economy, the environment, and human health attest to the fact the capitalism is faulty. We are sick. The system is sick. It is time reclaim our democracy and move away from our current delusion of freedom.

References:

Alhabbo. (2012). Chris Hedges Sits Down With Bill Moyers. Retrieved from  

Deleuze, G, Guattari, F. (1972). Anti-Œdipus. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. of L’Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. London and New York: Continuum.

Shankland, S. (2013). Ito: Think twice about immortality and the singularity. CNet News. Retrieved from http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57565860-76/ito-think-twice-about-immortality-and-the-singularity/

Smithers, R. (2013). Almost Half of the World’s Food Thrown Away, Report Finds. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste

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