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Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

Capitalism and Sustainability Cannot Coexist

Left Voice says “Capitalism has prospered for centuries by exploiting nature, either as an ‘inexhaustible’ supply of resources to produce commodities, or as a waste dump. But the earth’s ability to “endure” the destructive processes of capital is reaching its limit.”

Ingrid Tang says “Veganism, for example, is a lifestyle designed to not purchase, consume, or support animal cruelty. Although this lifestyle supports far less exploitation, however, let’s say, by buying rice harvested from Filipino rice farmers, who are forced to accept less than the minimum wage to pay for their children’s schooling, food for the family, and seeds for the next harvest, makes one unwillingly a sponsor for human exploitation.”

Capitalism has never been ecologically fair. If capitalism does not care about the people, it certainly does not care about the world, especially places that do not touch capitalist giants like America. Capitalism benefits a select few, while the rest of the world and people in it suffers.

Many people, mostly those below the poverty line, are food insecure. With fast food options being so readily available and cheap, most families choose that over whole foods, making chains like McDonald’s extremely wealthy.

Drew Hanson writes for Forbes, “Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20%.”

Our population is steadily increasing but our natural resources are running low because of the abuse of them by large corporations. Because oil is so cheap and abundant, for now, it is a get-rich-quick scheme because American corporations are more concerned with money than green, renewable energy. 

Marc Brodine writes for Communist Party USA that “The capitalist economic system is based on infinite expansion of production. But the earth and its resources are finite. So capitalism will reproduce environmental problems as long as it is in existence.”

When the government does not mandate or regulate companies’ ethical means, they not only get away with exploitation but also the use of cheap materials that result in harm to our planet. Joselyn Temperley writes for BBC that “Seventy percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions over the previous two decades are attributable to just 100 fossil fuel producers” and that “Across 86 countries, the richest 10% of people consume around 20 times more energy than the poorest 10%.”

Poor people are often blamed for the destruction of the planet. People who recycle, are vegan, buy from farmers’ markets, etc., are under the belief they are responsible for the saving of the planet. Thus, poor people who cannot afford to live this lifestyle are often blamed for the destruction of the planet. When in reality, rich people and corporations, as well as the government are to blame. Poor people have fewer choices and options to choose from, while rich people have an abundance. Rich people also have the power and money to influence policy and decision-making. Whatever makes them more money is what they will always choose.

“There is no ethical consumption under capitalism” is true, but there is also no ethical production under capitalism.

Sage Short

Coastal Carolina '22

Sage Short is an undergraduate English student and research fellow at Coastal Carolina University. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, and listening to Florence and the Machine.
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