Capitalism will be defeated by Nature

Capitalism will be defeated by Nature

By Leonardo Boff

There is an indisputable and bleak fact: capitalism as a mode of production and its political ideology, neoliberalism, have so consistently sedimented globally that they seem to make any real alternative unfeasible. In fact, it has occupied all spaces and aligned almost all countries to its global interests.

Since society became a market society and everything became an opportunity for profit, even the most sacred things such as human organs, water and the pollination capacity of flowers, the states, for the most part, have been forced to manage the globally integrated macroeconomy, much less to serve the common good of its people.

Democratic socialism in its advanced version of eco-socialism is an important theoretical option, but with little global social base for implementation. Rosa Luxemburg's thesis in her book Reform or Revolution that "the theory of capitalist collapse is at the heart of scientific socialism" has not come true. And socialism has collapsed.

The fury of capitalist accumulation has reached the highest levels in its history. Virtually 1% of the world's wealthy population controls about 90% of all wealth. 85 affluent, according to the serious NGO Oxfam Intermón, had in 2014 the same money as 3.5 billion poor people in the world. The degree of irrationality and also inhumanity speak for themselves. We live in times of explicit barbarism.

Until now, the system's short-term crises occurred in peripheral economies, but from the 2007/2008 crisis, the crisis exploded in the heart of the central countries, in the United States and Europe. Everything seems to indicate that this is not a conjunctural crisis, always surmountable, but that this time it is a systemic crisis, which puts an end to the reproductive capacity of capitalism. The outlets that the countries that hegemonize the global process find are always of the same nature: more of the same. In other words, continue with the unlimited exploitation of natural goods and services, guided by a clearly material (and materialistic) measure such as GDP. And woe to those countries whose GDP decreases.

This growth further worsens the state of the Earth. The price of the attempts to reproduce the system is what its coripheans call "externalities" (which does not enter into business accounting). These are mainly two: a degrading social injustice with high levels of unemployment and growing inequality; and a threatening ecological injustice with the degradation of entire ecosystems, the erosion of biodiversity (with the disappearance of between 30-100 thousand species of living beings each year, according to data from the biologist E. Wilson), increasing global warming, the scarcity of drinking water and the general unsustainability of the life-system and the Earth-system.

These two aspects are bringing the capitalist system to its knees. If we wanted to universalize the well-being it offers to rich countries, we would need at least three Earths equal to the one we have, which is obviously impossible. The level of exploitation of the "bounties of nature", as the Andeans call natural goods and services, is such that in September of this year "the Earth overshoot Day" occurred. In other words, the Earth no longer has the capacity, on its own, to meet human demands. It takes a year and a half to replace what is taken away in a year. It has become dangerously unsustainable. Either we restrain the greed of wealth accumulation, to allow it to rest and rebuild, or we must prepare for the worst.

As it is a living super-entity (Gaia), limited, with a shortage of goods and services and now sick, but always combining all the factors that guarantee the physical, chemical and ecological bases for the reproduction of life, this process of Excessive degradation can generate an ecological-social collapse of daunting proportions.

The consequence would be that the Earth would definitively defeat the capital system, incapable of reproducing itself with its materialistic culture of unlimited and individualistic consumption. What we have not achieved historically by alternative processes (it was the purpose of socialism), nature and the Earth would achieve. This, in fact, would get rid of a cancer cell that threatens metastasis throughout Gaia's body.

Meanwhile, our task is within the system, widening the gaps, exploring all its contradictions to guarantee especially to the most humble of the Earth the essentials for their subsistence: food, work, housing, education, basic services and a little free time. . This is what is being done in Brazil and in many other countries. From evil to get the minimum necessary for the continuity of life and civilization.

And besides, pray and prepare for the worst.


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