Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Business as usual, as usual?

A report by Omega suggests that merely offseting our continued carbon emissions by slipping a few quid to some dodgy entrepreneur may not be the panacea some people hoped it would be. It looks like we'll have to actually do something about our own gluttonous debauch of a lifestyle.

There has been a lot of talk of late, notably in the FT, about the dominance of authoritarian capitalisms in the previously western dominated marketplace. The discussions acknowledge that the growth pattern presupposes an element of middle class comfort and power as a prerequisite to any wider social empowerment on the recent western model, but declines to acknowledge that this was also the western experience. Britain rode to economic power on the backs of a massive unrepresented slave class in its mines and mills; The US grew to superpower status in an era of segregationalism and as bloody a record abroad as Britain's had been. Both powers (and others in Europe and elsewhere) also depended on destabilising resource rich client states which they stripped without conscience. This is not an abberation of the capitalist experience. This IS the capitalist experience. The tone of the discussions seems to ask the reader to believe that (for example) Victorian Britain was some sort of egalitarian utopia whose only wish was to give comfort to the poor and needy. None of the commentators believe this to be true, nor say so explicitly. It is implied by association.
Now we as punters are all supposed to throw up our hands and say "it's not fair" whilst the wealthy continue to pour money into repressive regimes in the name of sound business and the poor become reliant on cheap goods from these same sources. So what's changed?
It's the model itself that is at fault. Pushing it until it blows, whilst expecting love and flowers, is foolish. A creative dismantling and re-engineering of our practical philosophy is a greater challenge, but it requires everybody's active participation.
Or just go shopping.


Chris said...

Been reading a few pieces recently covering this ground. Can we hope that people are finally beginning to see the lie that is capitalism? Monbiot's piece on manufactured famine sums things up nicely.

All of which reminds me that I must read Mike Davis' Late Victorian Holocausts.

Thanks for the fine work you are doing Marc - I'm still a daily reader.


Cheers Chris. glad you're still there. Tomorrow's 'toon riffs on the Monbiot piece.

satellite360 said...

A piece about Diego Garcia along similar lines, though far more shockingly blatant, is on the Greenpeace site.