Monday, August 20, 2018

Paul Craig Roberts - Is Capitalism Killing Us?

Paul Craig Roberts writes about Mosanto's Roundup and how it's ingredient glyphosate maybe causing cancer. Monsanto's scientists say no but independent scientists say it does and is now so widespread it is in nearly all our food. PCR says that our present capitalist system has become too expensive to be viable and too many costs have been externalised
 Or consider something simple like a pet store. All the pet store owners and customers who sold and purchased colorful 18 to 24 inch pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas gave no thought to the massive size these snakes would be, and neither did the regulatory agencies that permitted their import. Faced with a creature capable of devouring the family pet and children and suffocating the life out of large strong adults, the snakes were dumped into the Everglades where they have devastated the natural fauna and now are too numerous to be controlled. The external costs easily exceed many times the total price of all such snakes sold by pet stores.
Ecological economists stress that capitalism works in an “empty economy,” where the pressure of humans on natural resources is slight. But capitalism doesn’t work in a “full economy” where natural resources are on the point of exhaustion. The external costs associated with economic growth as measured by GDP can be more costly than the value of the output.
A strong case can be made that this is the situation we currently face. The disappearance of species, the appearance of toxins in food, beverages, water, mothers’ breast milk, air, land, desperate attempts to secure energy from fracking which destroys groundwater and causes earthquakes, and so forth are signs of a hard-pressed planet. When we get right down to it, all of the profits that capitalism has generated over the centuries are probably due to capitalists not having to cover the full cost of their production. They passed the cost on to the environment and to third parties and pocketed the savings as profit.
Update: Herman Daly notes that last year the British medical journal, Lancet, estimated the annual cost of pollution was about 6 % of the global economy whereas the annual global economic growth rate was about 2 percent, with the difference being about a 4% annual decline in wellbeing, not a 2 percent rise. In other words, we could already be in the situation where economic growth is uneconomical. 


Noah Way said...

Ecological economists, who invents this garbage?

Let me guess ... economists.

Matt Franko said...

They are the Art Degree people who couldn’t hack the Science program but still wanted to do something having to do with “the Environment”...

Konrad said...

One aspect of capitalism that is hurting us is prison slave labor.

People complain about immigrants taking jobs, but prison inmate slave labor undercuts the prices of anyone else, including immigrants and foreign sweatshops.

In addition to making furniture, Starbucks packaging, state license plates, and so on, inmates fought wildfires in California last year, and were paid $2 per day plus $1 per hour, often working 72-hour shifts.

Every single field and industry is affected on some level by prisons, from our license plates to the fast food that we eat to the stores that we shop at.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution supposedly outlawed slavery, but it allows slavery in prisons.

This week, incarcerated Americans in at least 17 states are on strike, refusing to perform labor, and engaging in sit-ins and hunger strikes to demand reforms to the country's prison and criminal “justice” systems.

Noah Way said...

Arts degree people would never do that.

Matt Franko said...

They are the B students....

Noah Way said...

In other words, we could already be in the situation where economic growth is uneconomical.

But only in non-financial terms.