Is one the price of the other?
We determined in part one that, unlike the rest of earths natural resources we can choose weather we continue to allow ourselves to be exploited by capitalism.
With that in mind, let’s reconsider all those things that we recognized capitalism having given us… How has that played out for us, the human component of this experiment?
Transport/travel came at an incredibly high cost to human life in both the build and use phases when we were restricted to the high seas. We sold our souls and the souls of our children to extract the necessary minerals. Over time, safety improved in the mining and build phases, as loss of life magnified in the usage phases. Think vehicle recalls, safety feature failures, planes nose diving – profit at any cost?
Education evolved for the masses for a number of reasons, some being to free up adults to join the workforce and to prepare the young to join the workforce. Yep, it’s all about working for the man… Standardized education dominates, destroying the unique spirit within each unique child, imagination quashed and creativity stifled. Now, many education providers exist simply to make money e.g. for profit universities, courses sponsored by corporate interests and the foreign student market – courses taught in English to non-English speaking students… profit wins here!
Health care – We have allowed our personal responsibility for our health and well being to be taken away from us – symptoms are masked by synthetic derivatives of natural compounds, all with unpredictable side effects – root causes are ignored – knowledge and use of natural remedies is disparaged and often illegal. Big phama rules mainstream health care.
Housing has greatly improved but at what cost. Unless we were incredibly wealthy, we got together with our friends and family and built our own homes. Building became a profession, an opportunity to generate wealth, then great wealth. Bring on the property developer. The market had to become highly regulated to protect the consumer – doesn’t always work – think combustible cladding and the proliferation of structural defects in multi-story developments. Supply and demand determine pricing and often the cost to purchase bears little or no relation to the cost to build. How might the property landscape change without capitalism?
Clothing was unique, made to last and passed down through generations, textiles were made from natural fibres, “fashion trends” barely existed except amongst the ruling class. That was then, this is now – mass produced clothing can barely last a wash cycle before it hits landfill, synthetic and resource intensive fibres like cotton dominate and fashion trends can last as long as a week, with a limited edition buy now or miss out urgency, before something new is introduced. I do not need to dwell on the human and environmental cost here, you’d have to be living in a cave not to be aware of working conditions in the textile sector including numerous factory collapses, waterways decimated by cotton growers and the level of synthetic fiber polluting our rivers and oceans…
Food and beverages – we grew/harvested our own, preserving or trading excess. Once capitalism really took hold and we were seduced into working for the man, we didn’t have time for any of that. Like clothing, food and beverages became mass produced for profit commodities that are to often, nutritionally bereft. Covered in pesticides, genetically modified, full of hormones, processed beyond recognition with countless synthetic ingredients and finally presented in non-biodegradable packaging… TBC in Part 2b.