The first rule of capitalism is that everything must make a profit. The second rule is that the profit must increase each year. The economy must keep growing. This means more and more raw materials are used up and more and more energy is used up, much of it from non-renewable sources. It means more emissions and more pollution of the environment. And more and more old stuff to get rid of so the newly produced stuff can be sold. Because that’s the only way profits can keep growing.
It’s not doing much for the people. To maximize profit and keep stuff affordable so people will buy lots of it, wages are kept as low as possible all along the production chain, and only lip service is paid to health and safety.
And the mess capitalism creates is killing the planet.
According to capitalism, the market will take care of everything. But capitalism can’t deal with the mess, because it is now impossible to make a profit out of rubbish. There is no longer a market for rubbish. There is too much of it and it is too expensive to gather it up, clean it, sort it, and reprocess it into a new product. Burning and burying can’t deal with the volume of rubbish without creating major pollution.
Capitalism has washed its hands of all of this. It’s up to consumers and local and central government to deal with the old stuff. All the while, more and more new stuff is being churned out to make sure profits keep growing. It is a recipe for disaster both environmentally and economically.
Governments seek to put the cost onto ordinary people through higher waste collection costs and landfill fees. And they try to export waste to countries even more ill equipped to deal with it. The oceans are full of rubbish and the emissions keep on rising.
Capitalism has gotten us into this mess, but it has no intention of getting us out. The plug has to be pulled.
A new economic model is needed that understands that workers’ rights and environmental concerns need to be at the front and centre, not profit. Workers must not be exploited, resources must not be exploited, messes should be cleaned up by those who made them and no rubbish left behind. The well-being of the Earth, and all who live on it, is infinitely more important than a few people being able to make mountains of money. It should always have been so.
Capitalism is rubbish. There is no way to reuse or recycle it, and it’s costing the Earth.