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”

Displaying 71 - 78 of 78

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Bob

Let's all cool off for a second. Has anyone dealt with the Post office, the DMV, or some other Federal, State, or Municipal agency recently? I have, and the experience has not been pleasant. Here's the problem as I see it: these employees don't have to make sure that their "clients" leave with a smile. Do you know why? BECAUSE THERE'S NOWHERE ELSE TO GO! The "profit" sector has competitors. So, if I'm being treated like garbage at Walmart, I can head to Macy's, Target, KMart, etc. They need to make the consumer happy, because if they don't, we can take our business elsewhere. This results in employees who give a damn and quality of service. What's my point? Picture a world with "nanny state" government. Do you want the above mentioned type of work ethic when you're facing serious healthcare issues. Consider Hurricane Katrina: FEMA and the state of Louisiana couldn't find their butt from their elbow. You know who was prepared for the Hurricane? "Evil" Walmart, who made sure their stores in the region had plenty of water and other needed items days before the storm hit. Capitalism can really stink, and I'm no fan of greedy pigs who exploit others. However, capitalism works much better then the "not for profit" sector. Let's all keep that in mind before we replace it with a system that leads us back into the Dark Ages. P.S. If you can get your hands on it, about 10 years ago ABC news ran a special called "Is America #1?" It compares business friendly climates like Hong Kong and America with socialist ones like parts of India. The difference was striking. In Hong Kong you had a crowded "rock" with no natural resources that had developed one of the world's highest standards of living. In parts of India (I can't recall which state) you had complete poverty despite 40 years of nanny state socialism.

Bob

Let's all cool off for a second. Has anyone dealt with the Post office, the DMV, or some other Federal, State, or Municipal agency recently? I have, and the experience has not been pleasant. Here's the problem as I see it: these employees don't have to make sure that their "clients" leave with a smile. Do you know why? BECAUSE THERE'S NOWHERE ELSE TO GO! The "profit" sector has competitors. So, if I'm being treated like garbage at Walmart, I can head to Macy's, Target, KMart, etc. They need to make the consumer happy, because if they don't, we can take our business elsewhere. This results in employees who give a damn and quality of service. What's my point? Picture a world with "nanny state" government. Do you want the above mentioned type of work ethic when you're facing serious healthcare issues. Consider Hurricane Katrina: FEMA and the state of Louisiana couldn't find their butt from their elbow. You know who was prepared for the Hurricane? "Evil" Walmart, who made sure their stores in the region had plenty of water and other needed items days before the storm hit. Capitalism can really stink, and I'm no fan of greedy pigs who exploit others. However, capitalism works much better then the "not for profit" sector. Let's all keep that in mind before we replace it with a system that leads us back into the Dark Ages. P.S. If you can get your hands on it, about 10 years ago ABC news ran a special called "Is America #1?" It compares business friendly climates like Hong Kong and America with socialist ones like parts of India. The difference was striking. In Hong Kong you had a crowded "rock" with no natural resources that had developed one of the world's highest standards of living. In parts of India (I can't recall which state) you had complete poverty despite 40 years of nanny state socialism.

Montag

What Steven Forbes, as an AMerican capitalist, meant to say was: "Capitalism will save us, after it attempts to murder us...and it will continue this way as a killing, bloodthirsty savior until the damage is too great to repair." That sums it up.

Montag

What Steven Forbes, as an AMerican capitalist, meant to say was: "Capitalism will save us, after it attempts to murder us...and it will continue this way as a killing, bloodthirsty savior until the damage is too great to repair." That sums it up.

Joginder Singh ...

Capitalism's current problems and the attempts to solve capitism's current problems are like rearranging the deckchairs on the RMS Titanic the ship is still sinking but everyone is only concerned that they have the best seat

Joginder Singh ...

Capitalism's current problems and the attempts to solve capitism's current problems are like rearranging the deckchairs on the RMS Titanic the ship is still sinking but everyone is only concerned that they have the best seat

Anonymous

It's so amusing to see Capitalism's apologists (and some of the biggest leeches in society) try to explain to us that greed is the most benign agent of development ever morally conceived. Hmmmm. Not to complain or anything but is it really that good of an idea to let non-transparent, non-democratic, monopoly-creating, proven to be sociopathic, inhuman legal fictions like corporations determine most of the laws that govern our world? Why would an inhuman sociopathic entity be the best one to determine the rules and limits of our financial system? Kind of a bizarre choice from the alien in space or logical perspective. Humanity only developed because of its propensity for intelligent society-building. That wasn't the result of every man for himself (plus vs the corporations), that came from empathy and logic. What is the moral purpose of money anyway? And exactly what rules would allow money to circulate most efficiently and effectively in such as way to make of the economy a tool of human development? Like, yeah... Let us ponder that a little...

Anonymous

It's so amusing to see Capitalism's apologists (and some of the biggest leeches in society) try to explain to us that greed is the most benign agent of development ever morally conceived. Hmmmm. Not to complain or anything but is it really that good of an idea to let non-transparent, non-democratic, monopoly-creating, proven to be sociopathic, inhuman legal fictions like corporations determine most of the laws that govern our world? Why would an inhuman sociopathic entity be the best one to determine the rules and limits of our financial system? Kind of a bizarre choice from the alien in space or logical perspective. Humanity only developed because of its propensity for intelligent society-building. That wasn't the result of every man for himself (plus vs the corporations), that came from empathy and logic. What is the moral purpose of money anyway? And exactly what rules would allow money to circulate most efficiently and effectively in such as way to make of the economy a tool of human development? Like, yeah... Let us ponder that a little...

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