The first and foremost ecological truth of capitalism is that it is destructive

The first and foremost ecological truth of capitalism

This preview shows page 11 - 13 out of 14 pages.

The first and foremost ‘ecological truth’ of capitalism is that it is destructive to the environment. One needs to simply look at fossil fuels and the ramifications it has had on climate change to see the inherently destructive nature of capitalism. The economic system is liable to fail unless wealthy individuals and corporations acknowledge that the very same planet that they and everybody else lives on is gradually deteriorating and is bound to be left unhibatable sooner or later due to their greedy, capitalist profit-maximization machinations. Not only is capitalism's destruction of the environment an inherently awful thing, but it also has severe effects on the economy and industry. For example, the World Health Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated that the economic cost of premature death and disability from air pollution, a major environmental issue that has arisen from capitalism, in Europe is close to USD 1.6 trillion. Environmental damage has consequences on the economy in multiple ways: it costs human lives, it reduces productivity, it affects vital industries like the fishing and agricultural industry, it reduces the ability of ecosystems to
Image of page 11
perform the functions societies need, and it costs money in remediation or restoration. All of these issues can be traced back to the ecological damage capitalism has on our environment. And the reason as to why this has happened is because the classical liberal economic principles of capitalism allow wealthy individuals and corporations damage the environment despite the economic ramifications of doing so. In pursuit of their self-interests, which is predominantly to maximize profit and amass the most capital possible, they can do nearly anything; such as destroying the environment despite the future economic costs. This is otherwise known as the classical liberal economic principle of economic freedom, in which these wealthy individuals and corporations behave however they want in the economic sphere despite the fact that their actions are having severe repercussions on the future environment and economy. The second ‘ecological truth’ of capitalism that must be acknowledged is that the economic system is not sustainable. To function properly, capitalism is contingent on continuous growth. This is because production is reliant on consumption. Capitalism does not function without consumption, as the latter creates more demand for production, and in turn, more opportunities for profit-maximization for wealthy individuals and corporations. Therefore, consumption is embedded in the core tenets of capitalism, and by extension, classical liberal economics as well. The higher the consumption, the higher the production. And the higher the production, the higher the sales, and with higher sales, higher profits are generated much to the delight of wealthy individuals and corporations. The sustainability issues of capitalism and all that the economic system entails (production, consumption, classical liberal economic principles, etc.) arise from the fact we live in a finite planet with limited ecological and natural resources.
Image of page 12
Image of page 13

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 14 pages?

  • Spring '18
  • Capitalism, Economic system, ideological principle, wealthy individuals, ideological perspective

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture