The end of capitalism?
10/10/2014 § 6 Comments
I went to hear Naomi Klein speak on Monday at an event in London. She is the author of “No Logo” which I read 12 years ago. I found it a very sharp and articulate account of how large businesses are seeking to extend their sphere of influence in order to turn the world into products which can be sold for private gain. Her latest book is called “This changes everything”. As I understand it (I haven’t read the book yet) she makes an explicit link in the book between climate change (and other negative impacts of human behaviour on the planet) and capitalism, in particular the sort of neo-liberal capitalism that has predominated in Western countries since the days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
I found her very articulate and passionate on Monday. As I understood it, one of her points was that this is an opportunity for the left-wing, those on the other side of the political spectrum from the neo-liberals, to get their way at last since only through left-wing measures involving lots of state spending will any plausible solution emerge. Time for capitalism to step back and socialism to step forward perhaps?
Much as I admire Naomi Klein, I cannot buy into this. I’m really bored of “isms” – I have seen communism (or at least the tail end of it, when I lived in Russia) and socialism and capitalism and they all seem to be about a group of powerful people, mainly middle-aged or elderly men, promoting their own pet solutions and then pushing them through against opposition. They all seem predicated on growth as the only solution to humanity’s predicament. I’m not at all convinced that there is any solution to humanity’s predicament – we deal with our predicament by living it, not by rushing towards some fantasy perfect future.
It’s time we started finding new language. I know I am for societies which allow and encourage initiative and creativity, and reward people who are willing to follow their hearts, their passion. I know I am not for societies which relentlessly seek to crush the human spirit on the wheel of progress and growth, societies that systematically make the rich richer and more powerful and make the poor and downtrodden pay for it. I know I am not for a society that seeks dominion over the Earth, but rather for one that seeks connection and joyful union with all life.
What sort of ism do we call that?