Thursday, January 09, 2020

It is time to choose - Capitalism or the Planet.

According to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report,  numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska had its warmest year ever recorded, with a statewide average temperature of 32.2º Fahrenheit—more than 6º above the long-term average temperature. The city of Anchorage had its first 90º day on record. The year continued a recent trend for Alaska; four of the last six years have been the state's warmest on record. 

Record-breaking heat was also recorded last year throughout the Southeast, with both Georgia and North Carolina experiencing their hottest year ever. Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia also had their second-hottest year.

Overall, 2019 was the second-wettest year on record in the U.S., with scientists recording nearly 35 inches of precipitation—4.84 inches above average.

The cost of repairing damage and supporting communities which suffered extreme weather events reached $45 billion. In 2019, the U.S. had 14 "billion-dollar disasters," each costing at least $1 billion. In addition to the floods, eight severe storms, two tropical cyclones, and one wildfire topped $1 billion.

The House Science Committee tweeted,
"Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis. We must work together to address this global threat."

It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster. Why are we heading towards catastrophe? 

It defies common-sense to depend upon hope for avoiding planetary disaster upon corporations and corporate-sponsored governments working to realize a common interest. The corporations enriching themselves through the commodification of the growing scarcity of planetary resources. Corporations thus increasingly profit off of the environmental damage they have wrought; destruction of the commons justifies further accumulation of the commons.

Capitalism requires constant growth because it always needs more profit. Making ever more profit is what motivates people to make investments. The capitalist drive to maximize profits explains the externalizes  environmental costs. Capitalism allows small minorities to profit at the expense of the majority. Private ownership of the livelihood of us allows capitalists to make decisions that pass the real costs of industry to communities, workers, and future generations. Capitalism is a system of boundless expansion that functions by commodification and accumulation. As Marx described in the Grundrisse, “capital is the endless and limitless drive to go beyond its limiting barrier. Every boundary is and has to be a barrier for ita necessity which it constantly tries to violate and beyond which it constantly seeks to go.”

Yet some so-called environmentalists look to capitalism for solutions. You can’t be a serious environmentalist and support capitalism. A sustainable economy is incompatible with a system that constantly demands more profit. Population growth is not the problem. Human ingenuity remains our most precious and under-used resource. Once basic material needs for food, clothing, housing and healthcare have been met, human well-being depends less on consumption.

The only alternative - impossible as this may seem right now - is to overthrow this global economic system and all of the governments of the ruling class that prop it up and replace them with an economic democracy, socialist society.

No comments: