The enormity of the environmental crisis means we have arrived at a turning point in human history. Human society is confronted with a most critical challenge. Our world is being poisoned by pollution and our environment degraded. The source of the problem lies in the very nature of the social system under which we are forced to live. The crisis of the environment, like other crises, has its roots in the inherent characteristics of capitalism. There is a crisis because we are dealing with the problem of the environment within an outmoded social and economic system dominated by a class whose policy is maximum private profits regardless of social costs. The drive for private profit insists on a disregard for natural resources. The threat can be erased for good only when capitalism is discarded and replaced by a social order that is motivated by the promotion of public welfare. There is a crisis because capitalism is not propelled by human need. Corporations are not going to do anything to safeguard the environment if it affects their drive for maximum profits. The insistent drive for maximum private profits by corporate interests has been and is ever more sharply in conflict with the overall general interests of society.
Capitalism has come to threaten our very civilisation on earth – through the threat of nuclear war, through the spread of new and virulent pandemics, but predominantly through the consequences of CO2 emissions creating the greenhouse effect destabilising the climate. We need to confront the system as a whole and not seek to make piecemeal reforms to it. The only solution is the creation of a planned society in which the quest for profits has been abolished and the results of our science and technology are used for the benefit of the people. The question for the future of human society is that we want to produce a liveable environment in which to build sustainable lives.
Capitalism has never been concerned with human problems, including human life. Why should anyone think capitalism is going to change now? One can judge a social system by its history. Tens of thousands of human beings die prematurely because of malnutrition every day of the year. These deaths occur not because the human race cannot raise or produce enough, but because capitalism is geared to making private profits for the few! These thousands are daily victims of capitalism.
We endure a deliberate, cruelly contrived and highly effective system that has been devised to extract the maximum work and productivity for the cheapest possible price. The method is exploitation. The aim is private profits. The result is starving people. The question is why should anyone expect this system and the government that represents it to seriously place a priority upon the environment?
Capitalist production is unplanned. It is anarchic. Each corporation is motivated only by how it can squeeze out the maximum profits. The environment cannot be left to the mercy of individual corporations who have no social consciousness.
Socialism corrects the flaws of capitalism. It sets human society on a new path. The means of production, factories, mines and mills become the common property of the people. They operate and produce only to fulfill human needs. They are not motivated by profits. This is the foundation for a new set of values. If a process does not serve the common good, it does not take place. A clean environment is for the common good. It is therefore pursued. Saving the environment becomes a social necessity. Capitalism is replaced by a pressure to do only that which is in the best interests of all in society, that no process will take place that endangers a continuation of life on this planet. The capitalist rewards hunger, misery, death and the destruction of the environment. Socialists support a system based on the elimination of exploitation. Capitalist society cannot basically stop the destruction of the environment under capitalism. Socialism is the only way that makes it possible. The power of environmental control must be with the people.
Capitalism is in its very essence a system through which a small minority class exploits the majority to further enrich itself from the profits that come from exploitation.