Note — Apr 28, 2019

Dare to Declare Capitalism Dead – Before It Takes Us All Down with It

George Monbiot explaining how, after years of blaming different forms of capitalism, he has come to declare capitalism itself dead because it’s based on growth, growth can’t be decoupled from extraction and externalities, and through extraction “the entire planet becomes a sacrifice zone.” Also, an interesting view on communism which he sees, like capitalism, as based in growth and “willing to inflict astonishing levels of harm in pursuit of this and other ends.”

A system based on perpetual growth cannot function without peripheries and externalities. There must always be an extraction zone – from which materials are taken without full payment – and a disposal zone, where costs are dumped in the form of waste and pollution. […]

This seizure of common goods causes three further dislocations. First, the scramble for exclusive control of non-reproducible assets, which implies either violence or legislative truncations of other people’s rights. Second, the immiseration of other people by an economy based on looting across both space and time. Third, the translation of economic power into political power, as control over essential resources leads to control over the social relations that surround them. […]

Another part arises from the creation of a new conception of justice based on this simple principle: every generation, everywhere, shall have an equal right to the enjoyment of natural wealth.

Further: He also mentions this piece of his from 2017 on private sufficiency and public luxury, a framing I quite like.