Blackspot

Steve Forbes' Deadly Notion

Steve Forbes claims that capitalism will save us.

 

A dangerous idea is floating around the halls of megacorporations. It is seeping into the pages of popular magazines and the minds of sensible folk. If this idea continues to circulate freely, it could spell death for our already unwell natural environment. The deadly notion is that capitalism will save us from an economic collapse.

Steve Forbes clearly articulates this argument in his article "How Capitalism Will Save Us." Forbes argues that as long as people don’t try to hinder capitalists, everything will work out fine.

Underlying Forbes’ logic is nostalgia for a mythic past, one in which capitalism bestowed great gifts on the world. Forbes writes, “Between the early 1980s and 2007 we lived in an economic Golden Age. Never before have so many people advanced so far economically in so short a period of time as they have during the last 25 years.”

What Forbes doesn’t say is that this so-called Golden Age was dependent on the massive, systematic destruction of the natural environment. Capitalists took nature, mixed it with toxins and sold it as disposable garbage to consumers. All in the name of profit. Capitalists can only refer to the last 25 years as a “great time” by ignoring the destruction of the natural environment. We all know the alarming statistics: world biodiversity has declined by almost one third in the past 35 years; twenty-five percent of all mammals now face extinction.

What we are seeing now are capitalists’ desperate attempts to stay on top. As Naomi Klein explains, “today’s preferred method of reshaping the world in the interest of multinational corporations is to systematically exploit the state of fear and disorientation that accompanies moments of great shock and crisis.” The question is, do we have the courage to propose alternative ways to get out of this state of fear?

Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. Micah is currently writing a book on the future of activism. He lives in Binghamton, NY with his wife and two cats. www.micahmwhite.com

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78 comments on the article “Steve Forbes' Deadly Notion”

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A concerned fel...

This is a large misuse of authority. I looked at you home page and it seems quite clear that you were not the kind of person take your early education as absolute. So why would you think that it would be reasonable to trust in purely based their support by others. Also because you can not immediately find another solution does not mean that the first theory is correct. I think that it would be safer for all of us if you spent less time proclaiming your certainties and doing a little bit of research.

A concerned fel...

This is a large misuse of authority. I looked at you home page and it seems quite clear that you were not the kind of person take your early education as absolute. So why would you think that it would be reasonable to trust in purely based their support by others. Also because you can not immediately find another solution does not mean that the first theory is correct. I think that it would be safer for all of us if you spent less time proclaiming your certainties and doing a little bit of research.

Kate

I'm not sure that 'capitalism' per se is the problem. It's the idea that "as long as people don’t try to hinder capitalists, everything will work out fine". Fine for who? For you? For the environment? For me? Anyway, I just finished a bit a discussion on Buy Nothing day and Laissez-faire capitalism on my blog (link above) so I wont repeat it all here - except this good quote from Edward 0. Wilson: A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic. Edward O. Wilson

Kate

I'm not sure that 'capitalism' per se is the problem. It's the idea that "as long as people don’t try to hinder capitalists, everything will work out fine". Fine for who? For you? For the environment? For me? Anyway, I just finished a bit a discussion on Buy Nothing day and Laissez-faire capitalism on my blog (link above) so I wont repeat it all here - except this good quote from Edward 0. Wilson: A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic. Edward O. Wilson

Brymo

I think it's a big shame that people feel a need to attack each other in threads rather than just tackling the issue, regardless of how strongly one feels about the issue. I would put personal attacks in the same league as greed - both are dysfunctional and anti-human. Anyway...the main thing I wanted to say is that I believe the capitalist system is pretty close to, if not already, a form of pathological insanity. We live in a way that is not ultimately in the best interests of any party...humans, animals, the physical environment. Legislating for change makes a difference...racism in the US as an example. Ultimately, I believe it is only when we heal ourselves of the emotional scars gained through early life that create a sense of deprivation and shake off the indoctrination of consumerism, that we will be individually motivated to make lasting beneficial changes. When enough people attain that level of moivation, significant changes occur. Sadly, or perhaps necessarily, it would appear that many of these changes will be dramatically forced upon us in the very near future both economically and environmentally. Change with choice would appear preferable but desperation is a good teacher! When we start to care about each other and the planet on a large scale, then some sanity might prevail. Until then, it feels somewhat like pockets of sanity in a global psych ward!

Brymo

I think it's a big shame that people feel a need to attack each other in threads rather than just tackling the issue, regardless of how strongly one feels about the issue. I would put personal attacks in the same league as greed - both are dysfunctional and anti-human. Anyway...the main thing I wanted to say is that I believe the capitalist system is pretty close to, if not already, a form of pathological insanity. We live in a way that is not ultimately in the best interests of any party...humans, animals, the physical environment. Legislating for change makes a difference...racism in the US as an example. Ultimately, I believe it is only when we heal ourselves of the emotional scars gained through early life that create a sense of deprivation and shake off the indoctrination of consumerism, that we will be individually motivated to make lasting beneficial changes. When enough people attain that level of moivation, significant changes occur. Sadly, or perhaps necessarily, it would appear that many of these changes will be dramatically forced upon us in the very near future both economically and environmentally. Change with choice would appear preferable but desperation is a good teacher! When we start to care about each other and the planet on a large scale, then some sanity might prevail. Until then, it feels somewhat like pockets of sanity in a global psych ward!

Anonymous

The article in two very, very simple sentences: Government intervention in the market is very, very bad. Government handouts to the market are very, very good.

Anonymous

The article in two very, very simple sentences: Government intervention in the market is very, very bad. Government handouts to the market are very, very good.

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