Is one the price of the other?
Actually it’s more than that, load in authoritarian governments and religious doctrine… it’s a three pronged attack that has largely gone unrecognised – we’re barely aware that as a species we’re stagnating and have been for generations…
What sets us apart as a life form is our ability to choose, to make individual life choices that support the development of our unique selves, mind, body and spirit.
Capitalism, authoritarian governments and religious doctrine all seek to tell us what to think/believe and how to behave. Under the guise of manufactured fear they seek to discourage freedom of choice, and we have let them.
How did we get here?
Big question – where to start, perhaps with capitalism? On a bright note – what has capitalism given us? Some would say an improvement in the standard of living for all, especially the most disadvantaged… Humm… Let’s come back to that one.
Now practically, what has capitalism given us? All forms of transport, education, health care, housing, clothing, food and beverages, essential services(power/water/etc. – although initially most were publicly owned), entertainment, social media…
Capitalism cannot create something out of nothing, all the resources employed by capitalism come from nature – including the workforce – us – and the customer base – also us…
So, how has capitalism treated these natural resources in return?
Let’s start with the non-human resources. The minerals of the earth, fish and oceans, animals domesticated for consumption or entertainment, insects and all manner of plant species. Are any of these resources treated respectfully? Does industry, care at all about the environmental implications of mining, fossil fuel extraction and transportation, industrial scale fishing and commercial fish farming, intensive farming – plant and animal, introduced chemicals, pesticides and hormones, habitat destruction and species decline, or anything they do if it generates high returns? No.
What I see is a constant drive for profit, regardless of the cost to nature!
It’s the same with us humans – we are merely a naturally occurring, abundantly available commodity to be exploited.
The difference with us however, is that we have a choice. We have chosen to and continue to allow ourselves to be exploited.
So we may have experienced an improvement in our standard of living but at what cost and is that still the case? Are the living standards of the most disadvantaged on the improve thanks to capitalism? TBC in Part 2.