Saturday, August 25, 2007

Global Climate for Capitalism

The Canadian blogger from Fruits of Our Labor, quotes Marc Brodine in an article from Political Affairs magazine as making this sort of argument:

That is why we are burning all this carbon to produce lots and lots of commodities that capitalists think they can sell profitably, whether that’s actual goods like plastic bags or little toys, or the gas that we put in our car, or use for chemical processes like making plastic for example. So capitalism is part of the cause, and we have to change our economic system, because it is directly linked to why we have these problems.

Yet capitalism is the only economic system that has cared about the environment historically. No other industrialized economic system has had the level of awareness about the environment as capitalism has in a liberal democracy. Socialism does not work based on epistemological problems pointed out by F.A. Hayek and problems in pricing 'communication' pointed out by Ludwig von Mises. Yet socialism seeks to raise our awareness of living in a community together. If capitalists become enlightened, like for example Paul Hawken and other CEOs, and governments would cease subsidizing harmful industries like, oh I don't know -- the housing market! -- then perhaps the real capitalist enterprise will surface and start to balance things out. We're destroying the environment with consumerism, which is largely a product of fast economic growth, marked by wild changes in supplies due to labor and investment. Once populations become stable, and labor markets slow down, our ecological footprints will be less dramatic, and we can build the sorts of societies the John Stuart Mill talks about in Principles of Political Economy

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