The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System


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Keinan, Tal. Dent, Harry S. In the vein of his bestseller, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Mander contends that may have worked in but it is calamitous in Climate change, together with global food, water, and resource shortages, is only the start. Designed to operate free of morality, the system promotes permanent war as a key economic strategy. There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there.

Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars, based on 1 reviews 1 reviews. Jerry Mander. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option.

The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

Add to Cart. Product Highlights Nationally recognized social critic Mander researches, discusses, and exposes the momentous and unsolvable environmental and social problem of capitalism.


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He argues that capitalism, utterly dependent on never-ending economic growth, is an impossible absurdity on a finite planet with limited resources. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Because without rapid growth, the mega-economic system that has functioned in this form for more than a century will collapse. They all agree on that point. How to build and sell more new cars? How to have more new housing starts? How to expand energy supplies? How to increase investment and bank lending? How to increase exports? Perhaps most of all, how to increase shopping? How to get people to spend more money?

How to commodify as much of life as possible? How to privatize what remains of natural resources, especially water, forests, open lands, biodiversity; and public services — social security, Medicare, the military, healthcare, prisons? Anything that has a chance to produce profits and increase economic growth. But there's an important missing link in the discussion, ignored by everyone in the mainstream debate: nature. People behave as if our economic system were a self-contained separate entity residing in its own detached universe, unconnected to realities outside itself, rather than embodied in a much larger system from which it evolved and cannot escape.

Nature cannot be left out. It is, in fact, the most important aspect of the entire discussion. Growth is made out of nature, transformed.

What we call our economy is rooted largely in the process of transferring and transforming elements of the natural world into the tools and commodities of human activity, and then betting on the rates that we can continue to do it, nonstop, forever. To leave the source of it all entirely out of our concerns is, well, shortsighted.

Wherever you are sitting right now as you read this, please look around. Everything in your presence began as something from nature, mined from the ground, or harvested. The garments you are wearing, your shoes, the chair you are sitting in, the book or Kindle you are holding, the bed you sleep in.

The car you drive and all its tires, wires, metals, parts. The phones you use. The walls and floor of the room, its carpet, the lights and the switches, the electrical line in the walls, the metals in your kitchen. All were once minerals that were dug up from the earth, then shipped around the world, transformed, assembled, shipped again to a store near you, and sold.

Or else they were living beings — trees, plants, animals, fibers, corals — that had their own worldly existence, their own roles in living ecological systems. Even so-called "chemicals" and "synthetics" began as natural elements, later rearranged. Is your shirt made of polyester? Polyester is plastic. Plastic is oil. Oil used to be trees, plants, dinosaurs, sunlight. The whole process of finding, recovering, and transforming these minerals, elements, energies, and beings into commodities that are shipped around the world and given economic value, and bought and sold, winding up in our homes, is what we call economics.

The kind of economy we have come to depend upon, capitalist, was until recently highly efficient at delivering transformations, by using profits from previous transformations to do more of the same. And then wagering in financial markets on which part of these processes might grow and which might not. But does this process go on forever?

Can it? How can this possibly continue? Aren't we running out of resources? Where will the metals and minerals come from to build more and more cars, and where do we throw away the old ones?

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How many cars can be built and bought? How many roads can cover the landscape? How many new houses can be built on open land?

Where will the food come from when the topsoils are overused and destroyed? How expensive will food become as transport costs continue to zoom? How much carbon can fill the skies? How much plastic can be dumped at sea? How many giant dead spots before the oceans give out? How much nature can be transformed into commodities and still remain viable? The World Conservation Union adds that extinction threatens 23 percent of mammal species, 25 percent of conifers, 32 percent of amphibians, 35 percent of mangroves, 20 percent of coral reefs.

And that's before we get to the full effects of climate change. South African environmental attorney Cormac Cullinan, author of Wild Law, reports on the UN Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, performed in — including the participation of 1, scientists worldwide : The MA found that about 60 percent of "ecosystem services" are now threatened, including, for example, the ability of water to purify itself and of forests to contribute to clean air.

Economist Eric Zencey, of Empire State College, New York, says this: "In the standard view, the financial crisis besets an economy that consists solely of humans acting within formalized systems of their own creation — systems that have no connection to a larger world. That's why the standard views won't fix the problem. The financial crisis is the environmental crisis Our society has blurred a most fundamental fact: Humans are completely dependent on the health of the natural world.

In fact, we are part of the natural world, made of the same ingredients as the rest of life on Earth over which we have assumed dominion.

The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

But, having lost our connections to concrete reality, we don't grasp the predicament we are in. All of humanity begins to resemble the astronaut in space, spinning in his separate metal containment, millions of miles from the organic roots of our existence. We depend on nourishment that arrives from somewhere far away on ships or planes. We are disconnected from the sources of information we need, now brought to us only through processed images from distant places. We have no direct means of knowing right from wrong, or how to control our experience. One thing is certain: We had better recognize this problem soon.

Our horizons are not unlimited. There are boundaries to our aspirations. When we hear our political leaders renewing their race toward unlimited exponential growth, we realize they don't know what they are talking about. They themselves are lost in an obsolete set of mental frameworks, a thirty-centuries-long process to sublimate the most basic points of all: All of our economic and social activity depends on nature. We are not separate, and we are not in charge.

Failing to grasp that fact while promoting ubiquitous economic strategies that remain unconscious of such realities may prove to be our most fatal flaw. People throughout the world are already deeply concerned and talking about the problems of the capitalist system. However, most of them are not acknowledging that that's what they're talking about.

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Not long ago, I attended a speech by a leading environmentalist friend articulating the depth of the depletion crises we now face. He brilliantly described the problems inherent to our system — social, political, and environmental — and he spoke of the need for new economic paradigms that accept the limits of the earth's carrying capacities. The talk focused on the urgent need for a revised system of economic values to modify the "present system," a term he used several times. But what "present system" did he have in mind? Why not name it? Did he mean "infinite growth" was the system? Are we worrying about a system called growth?

There is no such system. The drive to destructive, never-ending growth is an intrinsic, fundamental expression, a subset, of an economic system named capitalism. I'm for naming the system.

The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System
The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

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