FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Devil Capitalism

Okay, here’s the proposition — you can have a good job, decent pay, lots of overtime, but only if you give me your grandchildren or maybe your great-grandchildren.

Would you make this deal with the devil?

This is pretty much the choice currently offered workers by the captains of the carbon extraction, transportation and burning industries.

In fact, in a more general sense, it seems to be the choice being forced upon many governments around the world by the devil, which has taken the form of our current economic system.

Capitalism is asking us to choose between jobs and the future livability of our planet. Capitalism tells us it makes sense to flood some of the best food growing land in B.C. and build a dam to provide electricity for Alberta’s tar sands; capitalism says build more pipelines across B.C. and allow hundreds more oil tankers every year to sail through pristine waters; capitalism doesn’t care that more carbon extraction will guarantee our planet is cooked.

Capitalism, especially the current neoliberal version, says profitability should be the sole criteria by which we decide what gets built, what services are provided and who works. If there’s a profit to be made, let’s invest in it. Don’t do it if there’s no profit to be made. The ‘invisible hand’ of the market will solve all our problems.

Profits bring jobs, the capitalist devil whispers in our ears. Jobs! So you can overcome or avoid the misery of unemployment. Jobs! So you won’t fall behind on your mortgage, your credit card payments or your student loan. Jobs! So you will be able to buy ever more stuff that you don’t really need but somehow those great commercials convince you otherwise.

“Think about the jobs!” the devil/capitalism repeats over and over again. When brave critics ask: “What about the consequences to our environment?” the devil/capitalism answers: “Don’t listen to those Leap-ing people. They’re radicals. They’re tree-hugging, moonbeam-chasing hippies. They’re Indians. They’re anti-development. They’re socialists. They’re from downtown Toronto. Think about the jobs!”

So what do we do? Listen to the devil and build more pipelines, tar sands plants, fracked oil wells, housing that requires ever more carbon-spewing automobiles and tell ourselves that we are not responsible for what happens to our grandchildren?

Or do we cast out the devil? Tell the beast we do not have to choose between jobs and the environment, that in fact there will be more jobs in a sustainable energy-based economy. Proclaim loudly that, if forced to choose between capitalism and the environment, we will choose the environment every glorious day on this wondrous planet.

The truth is the devil’s way leads to hell on earth. Building our economy solely on capitalist greed for profit has placed us all, lobster-like, into a pot of hot water that is only a few degrees away from cooking our great-grandchildren. Our most critical task right now is figuring out a way of getting out of the pot and turning down the heat.

The good news is the devil’s way is not the only way, despite the constant media bombardment proclaiming that to be so. Humankind has followed the devil/capitalism path for only a relatively short time. We have tens of thousands of years of history proving that we can organize our lives around values other than greed for profit. Even today, in the midst of the most capitalist-dominated period ever, most of our lives, outside of paid work, is based on love, caring, sharing, solidarity, respect and doing what’s best for our collective future. This is called family and community.

If we can just come to the understanding that an economic and political system can also be based on these ‘community values’ we would have a path to building a viable alternative to the mess we are in.

The devil promotes the idea that we have no alternative to the way things are, but if all the people who care about their grandchildren come together to talk about a better way we can have jobs, lower the temperature and save our planet for future generations.

More articles by:

Gary Engler is a Canadian journalist, novelist (The Year We Became Us) and co-author of the recently released New Commune-ist Manifesto — Workers of the World It Really is Time to Unite (www.newcommuneist.com).  He is currently working on the first great hockey novel tentatively titled Puck Hog.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Dave Lindorff
What’s a Social Democratic Political Program Really Mean?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Cesar Chelala
Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says No to Democracy
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail