The consequences of climate change are already being felt all over the globe. But some regions are particularly affected. These so-called “hotspots” are areas where strong physical and ecological effects of climate change come together with large numbers of vulnerable and poor people and communities. People living in these regions largely depend on their immediate environment for food and income, so they’re particularly threatened by any changes to temperatures, rainfall or the seasons.
No matter how bad things are, no matter the state of the economy, no matter how hard people have been trying all over the world for two hundred years, there are still well-meaning people trying to make capitalism work in the interests of everyone. The lesson they have all failed to learn is that our present economic system is based on the class system of owners who do not produce but reap the rewards of our labour, and non-owners who produce all the wealth but only receive a fraction of it, just enough to get by, or not, as the article shows. Until this situation is rectified, all the good will and reforms in the world will never change that fact and the blight of poverty and homelessness will remain with us. Surely it is now obvious that there is no solution within capitalism. Socialism is the only alternative to what we have. Socialism is the only option to solve our major problems. Socialism can come as quickly as the majority wants it. Socialists argue that it is logical to say that “Socialism may be the answer, but we’ll have to wait a long time for it and we need to do something now.” It is just that attitude that delays socialism and the chance to make a real change in the way we produce and distribute wealth. There is nothing now to be done that will effectively solve the problems.
The facts are quite simple, well-known and now irrefutable. The climate, like everything else in the universe, is in constant change and cycles of warming and cooling have happened frequently in Earth’s history. What is different this time is the incredible speed at which it is taking place. What happened over eons in the past is occurring in decades today. Effects of climate change are observable in a lifetime. It appears that this has been taking place at an increasing rate since the beginning of the industrial revolution when large scale burning of fossil fuels started and is naturally linked to human activity, especially dirty methods of production. Scientists who are specialists in the field have been giving us warnings and solutions for decades. There are, of course, skeptics who deny that human activity is the cause and that we should just go on as we are and wait for the next cooling period. Like so many scientific debates in our current society, massive funding from big business sectors that stand to lose profits, such as the oil and gas and auto sectors, has been used to try and skew the debate in their favour and obfuscate getting to a meaningful and sound conclusion. This is the usual response by industry to protect profits while never letting truth get in the way that we saw with the tobacco industry re cancer and tobacco and then second hand smoke. It is quite certain that industrial and agricultural wastes and chemicals pollute the soil, the waterways, the oceans and the air we breathe and put thousands of carcinogenic agents into our environment causing the soaring cancer rates and destroying ecosystems all over the world.
Why is it that after decades of knowing about the problem we are still just talking about it and still doing relatively little? To begin with, it is a world-wide problem that will require world-wide action. A reasonable person might think that a polluted world will affect the capitalists and their businesses. Surely they must see this and act accordingly. Capitalists, in their need to make a profit, are not concerned about the long term. If they don’t show profits now, there won’t be any long term for them or their corporations. The iron-clad rule of production within capitalism is the need to make a profit or the business will fold. Thus the profit motive, the very lifeblood of capitalism, is fast becoming its death knell. The capitalists will never stop polluting our air with CO2 if it means reduced profits and reduced competitiveness. The many policies from the Greens shows a lack of understanding of how capitalism works. Remedies may have a small effect for a short period, but will never change the system that is the main cause of this and other major problems through its very operation. The profit motive is the engine that drives capitalism and it will continue so even if it means damaging the very environment in which we, and all species, live.
Everyone, including the capitalists, would like a pollution-free, green world, but fighting pollution will cost mega-bucks. Since wages represent just enough to sustain us, and the next generation of workers, our children, that money cannot come from wages and would, therefore, have to come out of the only other chunk of money, profits. The successful pressure on governments to resist anything that impacts profit levels determines government policy. A second problem to successfully fighting global warming is that capitalism is a myriad of competing groups of capitalists, backed by their state governments. It is this anarchy of production, where anyone and everyone with the economic wherewithal can jump into an expanding economy to seize an opportunity to make a quick profit, that causes the overproduction of commodities that triggers factory closings and lay-offs common to a recession. There is no overall plan to match production to need. Production just stumbles along until it hits market saturation and profits decline throwing thousands, perhaps millions, out of work and leaving factories and their machinery as so much junk to be thrown away. The workers are in the position of not being able to afford sufficient means of living precisely because there is an overabundance of the means of living! Against this backdrop of every-man-for-himself production, we are expecting these ‘captains of industry’, who never miss an opportunity to manipulate governments into doing their bidding, and crate bloody wars to come up with a global solution with the interests of all humanity to provide a clean world with breathable air, drinkable water, uncontaminated food and a sustainable lifestyle. The likelihood of this happening anytime soon with our current mode of production is very slender. We all know what has to happen. We, the producers who do not own the means of producing and distributing wealth are in the vast majority. It is up to us, not the owners, to figure out how to change the system so that a clean and sustainable lifestyle IS possible. We, the socialists, have a few good ideas on that, of course.
There are other sources of energy not so harmful to the environment that might be used, but capitalists are not interested in the time and capital investment it would take to develop them and receive a financial return. At present, they are talking of ways to get at the oil under the arctic sea. One could say the melting of the ice cap is in their interests. Furthermore, new coal mines are being opened in China. In short, there is no solution within the capitalist system of production for profit. The only solution is a system of society where production is for the satisfaction of needs, not profits, and where common ownership is the order of the day. Then decisions will be made democratically in the interests of all mankind. Since profit would no longer be a consideration, fuels would be used that do not have harmful effects on our planet. If you agree that what is being done is inadequate, and that our ideas are common sense, organize politically and support socialism before it is too late and our environment is destroyed before the people get control.
As long as profit is realized and a company remains in business, it doesn’t matter to the capitalist that the environment is destroyed. The fact that such destruction affects him/her is beside the point, capitalist production must continue. Long- term effects are ignored until they become critical or affect profit. Socialism, when established, will have the task of reversing the damage done to land, sea, and air by the effects of capitalist production. Chances of success would be good because the majority of the world’s population, being socialist, would cooperate in whatever ways would be necessary to make sure the environmental madness of today is stopped and replaced by clean production.