How capitalism will help save the planet

That's right, you heard me; I used the “C” word in conjunction with environmentalism. But before you dismiss the idea as elitist, corporate propaganda, hear me out and try to keep an open mind.

It seems to me we have two choices for creating an indefinite state of abundance: we can continually reduce our rate of consumption and have faith that technology will save us as the human population increases, or we can voluntarily reduce our global reproduction rate in order to increase the ratio of resources to consumers (notice I said “voluntarily”; no genocide required).

The modern environmental movement seems to almost exclusively focus on the former, while avoiding the unpopular, and no doubt emotional, issue of human population. Since I'm not seeking to increase my donor base or run for political office, I'm going to tackle the unpopular population issue head-on and propose that, in a world of 800 million people instead of 8 billion, we could all drive Hummers and live in McMansions, if we so chose, without any long-term repercussions to the environment. And that's an easy sell to folks on all sides of the political spectrum. For those of you who would prefer to live in your 300-square-foot box on .03 acres, knock yourselves out.

Here's the punch line: as nations increase their standard of living, they also reduce their reproductive rates. This is not theory; this is fact. Wealthy people, by and large, do not have 10 children.

Relatively free markets (there is no such thing as a purely free market), when managed intelligently and fairly by governments not bought and paid for by their corporate masters, actually do result in greater wealth for most people. Greater wealth undeniably leads to reduced populations, and reduced populations will lead to greater environmental sustainability (not to mention a whole host of other beneficial side effects, which are too numerous to list here). And a free market system need not result in the kind of corruption and inequity that has manifested itself in modern day American “capitalism.”

— Tom Adams
Asheville

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27 thoughts on “How capitalism will help save the planet

  1. What a confused mess of incredibly bad conclusions drawn from spurious “fact” that has absolutely no basis in any sort of reality.

    You don’t support genocide yet you somehow magically see the population shedding 6 billion souls (I don’t even know where you got 8 billion from) so you can drive a Hummer? That’s a sort of hubris not even the most daring of the “got mine, screw you” school of Tea Party Patriot can muster.

    [b]Relatively free markets (there is no such thing as a purely free market), when managed intelligently and fairly by governments not bought and paid for by their corporate masters, actually do result in greater wealth for most people.[/b]

    Name one.

    [b]Greater wealth undeniably leads to reduced populations[/b]

    Which must mean there are fewer people on Earth now than when we all were wallowing in garbage and excrement. Right?

    [b]And a free market system need not result in the kind of corruption and inequity that has manifested itself in modern day American “capitalism.”[/b]

    A free market will always result in inequity. It is the logical end result anytime the pursuit of profit in emphasized. Profit leads to centralization of wealth, as profit necessitates taking more than what is required to sustain oneself. Eventually, that leads to others being denied what they need for sustenance. That is not equitable. That is the very definition of the sort of corruption you claim to want to end.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for anyone to crank out fifteen children and buy a Hummer and take up three parking spots at the Sam’s Club while buying a year’s supply of frozen pizza. But your solution is not a solution, as it doesn’t seek to address the real problems of the here and now and merely seeks to ride rainbows to where the fairies and unicorns play in their free markets and we can all live like Kings.

    Sad, really.

  2. It’s not the planet anyone’s really worried about. It’s the continued survival of us ants that worries people. Unfortunately, the letter writer is only interested in some of the ants so those ants can take over all the toys from the dead ants.

  3. The problem with this analysis is the claim that we have a free market. We do not. We have a heavily regulated mixed interventionist economy. This is why it is failing now.

    Also, capitalism does not equal ‘rich’. Capitalism is the classless economic/political social system of freedom.
    ………………………

  4. bill smith

    [i]Capitalism is the classless economic/political social system of freedom.[/i]

    Freedom has a system? Under what conditions could a classless economic/political system exist?

    I mean, besides fictional novels, comic books, and college classes.

  5. “Under what conditions could a classless economic/political system exist?”

    Under the condition of a written classical liberal Constitution and objective law that acknowledges, respects and protects individual rights.

    Someday.
    ……………………

  6. bill smith

    []Under the condition of a written classical liberal Constitution and objective law that acknowledges, respects and protects individual rights.[/i]

    Protects them from who or whom? Sounds like more big government to me.

  7. Bjorn

    “Free market” translates into Republicanese as “suits me”. Unregulated Predatory Capitalism, has a done a fine job so far – of wrecking the planet!

  8. bill smith

    What’s up with TimPeck making bold statements he never comes back to elaborate upon when asked?

    It leaves one with the impression he is unable to substantiate his claims.

  9. I’m shocked, shocked, that you say that, Mr. Smith. Surely Mr. Peck is capable of backing up his amusing non sequiturs with some kind of logical and rational line of thought.

  10. Hugh Akston

    Mr. Peck’s truths are self evident and require no explanation. He is privy to a higher truth. In a true free market world, overpopulation would not be a problem for long. This world would be a paradise.

  11. bearsnotyuppies

    “Capitalism is the classless economic/political social system”

    I think you’re confusing capitalism with the textbook definition of communism.

    Silly goose.

  12. U.S. ECONOMIC FREEDOM REPORT

    Economic freedom is the right of individuals to pursue their interests through voluntary exchange of private property under a rule of law. It has been said that liberty is a whole, and that to deny economic liberty is finally to destroy all liberty. Irrespective of our love for freedom, the authors of this report set out on an empirical journey, not a romantic one. Our goal is to measure economic freedom across the 50 U.S. states. http://is.gd/TmfCOI

  13. bearsnotyuppies

    Tim peck-
    I think by “economic freedom” you actually mean “economic privilege”.

    Freedom is based on voluntary association, where-as privilege is based on having power over others.

    Privilege is necessary in any system based on the private (or state) accumulation and control of capital such as the right-wing-”libertarian”-capitalism you propose.

    You can call the rule of profit-based market-relations “freedom” or any other empty slogan you choose, but really others have said the same thing more articulately for a longer time and most people aren’t fooled.

    And please elaborate on how capitalism is the “classless society” because really it’d be hilarious to see you try and back that claim up.

  14. Hugh Akston

    I think Mr. Peck has been very generous with his time spent in trying to enlighten “matcat” and company. Please do your own research, the truth is out there!

  15. TallPaul

    “Surely Mr. Peck is capable of backing up his amusing non sequiturs with some kind of logical and rational line of thought.”

    At least Tim’s “non sequitors” are amusing.

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