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View Diary: The Holy Man at the Grocery Checkout & the 100th Monkey (259 comments)

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  •  Capitalism has a natural limit (28+ / 0-)

    on a finite planet.

    Growth is a prerequisite for capitalism.  You know it cannot sustain stagflation for long - there must always be a new way to increase profits.

    Once they have taken it all, where can they go from there?  

    The key is to recognize this limitation and to plan for a more self-sustaining economy in the long run.  Of course, humans lack the coordination and selflessness required to manage the demise of capitalism well, so I predict massive chaos at some point in the future.

    Just my gander at it all, anyway.

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

    by Gustogirl on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 09:52:11 AM PST

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    •  I'd disagree. (16+ / 0-)

      We have instances where a system which was essentially a form of capitalism was aimed at zero growth: Mediaeval production and trade in cities are an example.

      The real reason why zero growth is harmful to capitalism is technical progress: Zero growth means that, since you can produce the same amount of goods and services with fewer resources, unemployment rises.

      As for that trite finite planet/infinite growth parole, the question is not whether limits to growth exist, but what they are and how they will shift in response to technological progress: Using Victorian technology much of the planet would starve to death, for example.

      Since human population is set to peak at 9.3 bn and decline, the question is what kind of a technological and organisational base can fulfil everyone's desires to saturation point.

      And it's technology which ultimately sets the limits to growth. I think that was Ehrlich's great mistake: He viewed technology as only increasing the rate of extraction of resources. But it also substitutes them. Renewables can produce many times more energy than we currently use (paving 2% of the Sahara with solar thermal plants would meet the current planetary energy needs). Who needs oil when you have electric vehicles and when you can produce petrochemicals from biomass?

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 10:01:00 AM PST

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      •  The basic problem with the combination of (15+ / 0-)

        technology and capitalism is that is strikes to make man unnecessary without regard to his well being and the ultimate effect on the society as a whole.  We were always fed the canard that as we grew more efficient that we as members of society would benefit and our standard of living would improve.  That was of course a lie they had to perpetrate in order for us to help them accomplish their goals.  In the past, we could have turned to government to balance the scales but we also sold them our government. The only way to fix this is to take back our government(if that is possible) and balance the scales by making capitalists pay a price high enough that it either makes them take us into consideration or for government(with their money) rebalance the scales.  

        "New TSA slogan: can't see London, can't see France, unless we see your underpants."

        by lakehillsliberal on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 10:43:02 AM PST

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        •  no, the lie was that (6+ / 0-)

          it is inevitable that technological progress would result in constant improvement in living standards for the masses.

          A large part of the economic trouble we are in is based on the fact that ALL the productivity gains based on new technology have essentially gone to the top 1% with the bulk of those profits going to the minuscule fraction of that 1% comprising the private jet crowd.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 04:19:41 PM PST

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      •  What will make up for the wasteful (7+ / 0-)

        practices of capitalism in the past?  Once they started planned obsolescence, it became part of the bedrock of the economy.

        The smarter thing, of course would be to make durable goods very durable, but they can't, so we end up filling landfills and wasting resources and over-polluting with overproduction and distribution that really isn't necessary.

        Additionally, our environmental and climate concerns absolutely demand either higher costs for production with the costs of pollution controls or lowered rates of production.  

        These two elements alone have the potential to contract the economy - and that's the problem:  under capitalism, contractions are known as Depressions when severe and Recessions when less so.  

        There's the rub, to my eye.  It is absolutely necessary to contract the economy in order to achieve the greater efficiencies we, as a planet need.  This is in direct conflict with the capitalist mantra:  expanding profits at any cost.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 10:57:35 AM PST

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        •  I don't see such a conflict. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          After all, a production process can, depending on cost, be organised in a more or less polluting way. Furthermore, planned obsolescence is annoying, but not fatal: You say landfill, I say mine.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 11:09:20 AM PST

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    •  There is a better way. (10+ / 0-)

      Sufficiency Capitalism TM - The People's New World Order

      by War on Error  

      Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 02:40:34 PM PST

      They laughed at the Wright Brothers, too.

      In our new world, where physicists are hired to create Wall Street trading models, where lightly collateralized day traders are allowed to buy huge volumes of equity on a promise, and the internet enables loan officers to scoop as many debtors as time allows and then make small commissions on volume when they whisk their debtor bundles directly into Wall Street’s designer hedge funds, the jaundiced eyes of so-called economists will laugh and jeer at the simplicity and seeming altruism of Sufficiency Capitalism.

      Don’t be fooled, however.  That laughter is really a nervous reaction to the glaring reality on the ground today.  It may have taken a couple of centuries for the world to absorb the misadventures of Greed Capitalism before every nook and cranny of world economies became infected with the pie-in-the-sky philosophy that growth and expansion are somehow infinite.

      My eight (8) year old grandson could see the fallacy of this philosophy after a brief overview.  He said “Nothing can grow forever if it has no where to grow to.”  Out of the mouths of babes.

      There is a town in Spain practicing this.  Can't remember the name.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 12:11:20 PM PST

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