There are many aspects to waste in this capitalist world. Here's one of them. Approximately 300,000 people in New Delhi scrape an existence sorting through a mountain of refuse. Ranjit and his ten year old son, like so many others, wade through the stink and rot daily using the bare hands in search of glass, metal and plastic which they sell for about £3. This pitiful income, which they need to support the family, will end up in smoke as soon as the new electricity-generating incinerator is started. We consider this unnecessary abhorrence a terrible waste of human potential which simply would not happen in a world of free access.
There would still be dirty work in such a future society, but that which is so closely associated with capitalism will be eliminated.
This topic is currently being debated on the old WSM Forum. One contributor, Robin, although not a Party member has been batting for Socialism in his exchanges with several supporters of capitalism. Here is an example:
In the UK, some 17 million tonnes of food - 4 million tonnes well within the sell by date - costing £18 billion, is being ploughed into landfill sites every year - all because "it's cheaper and easier for the food industry to dump it than give it to those in need".
In America, the recent recession has seen a collapse in the auto-car business. In ports across the country like the massive Long Beach Port, in California, foreign imports have been piling up while elsewhere maufacturers have been forced to convert hundreds of acres of land into vast open air parking lots jam packed with their gleaming new products that simply cannot find a buyer at the present time. Even if, after months, if not years, some of them do manage to get sold this is not the end of the problem, Being left unattended and exposed to the elements for so long - particularly saltwater spray - means that cars can become subject to what is called "lot rot". The damage may not be so obvious at the time of sale but it can affect a car's brakes, batteries, tyres (which can develop flat spots) and paintwork as well as encouraging rust.
In Spain the crash in property prices after mid 2007, following a period of feverish speculative building, helped to highlight the fact that there are some 3-4 million empty houses. According to government estimates of all houses built over the 2001-2007 period, "no less than 28%" were vacant as of late 2008.
Appalling though this figure is, it pales in comparison with the situation in China where according to one Hong Kong-based real estate analyst, Gillem Tulloch, there are an astonishing 64 million empty apartments . According to Tulloch housing units are priced well above what an average Chinese person can afford and while it might promote GDP it "doesn't add to the betterment of people's lives".
It is not just houses that are empty - there are also empty offices, warehouses and shops. According to data gathered by the British Property Federation between July and December 2009, 12.4% of shops stand empty across Great Britain. In Dubai, 40 per cent of office space remains vacant, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph ("Dubai: 4 in 10 offices empty" 30 Nov 2009) due to the financial difficulties faced by the emirate.
And in China, once again, we find another example of profligate waste in the form of the world's largest shopping mall in terms of gross leasable area - the New South China Mall in Dongguan North of Hong Kong. Amounting to 9.6 million square feet with space enough for more than 1,500 stores, as well as fun fairs, hotels and luxury apartments, it has been 99% vacant since its 2005 opening.