Friday, July 12: Philadelphia, PA 4:15pm - At Netroots Nation
Location: PA Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
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According to the world bank, half of the world population, about 3 billion people, live on $2.50 a day. A population unable to meet its needs for basic survival creates desperation. Where there is poverty, there is crime. Running out to buy a gun to protect ourselves will not solve that problem. The profoundly unjust and fundamentally unsustainable world is the unprecedented reality in which we all live today. In taking a look at what economic systems create poverty, one must come to terms with the truth about those economic systems. Here in America, our democracratic republic exists within a capitalistic economic system.
Capitalism is not only inhuman and anti-democratic; it's also unsustainable, and if we don't come to terms with that one, not much else matters. It is a complete contradiction of democracy which is dependent on humanities capacity for empathy, solidarity, cooperation, and equality. Capitalism is a wealth concentrating system souly dependent on mans capacity for greed. Capitalism is an economic system based on the concept of unlimited growth, yet we live on a finite planet. It has always been so and will always be so. Forget about what they tried to teach you in economics 101. Thats all mythology. The reality of capitalism, as it has existed on this planet for the two hundred and fifty years of the system, is that it is a wealth concentrating system. A wealth concentrating system will result in the concentration of power. There is a relationship, obviously, between a political system and an economic system. A political system doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exist in a world and part of that world is the economic system and I know of no example in history in which you can concentrate wealth and not concentrate power. Wealth and power are related. A wealth concentrating system will result in the concentration of power. In other words capitalism will undermine democracy and that is in fact the story. This economic system has created the political crisis were we are losing our capacity to function in a democratic fashion. Capitalism quite literally, is crazy but it's not fair to focus only on capitalism. Industrial systems -- whether operating within capitalism, fascism, or communism -- are unsustainable. The problem is not just the particular organization of an economy but any economic model based on high-energy technology, endless extraction, and the generation of massive amounts of toxic waste. Extractive economies ignore the health of the underlying ecosystem that all life depends and a socialist industrial system would pose the same threat. The possibility of a decent future, of any future at all, requires that we renounce that model.
One of capitalism's few legitimate claims -- that it is the most productive economic system in human history in terms of output -- is hardly a positive. The levels of production in capitalism, especially in the contemporary mass consumption era, are especially unsustainable. We are caught in a death spiral, in which growth is needed to pull out of a recession/depression, but such growth only brings us closer to the edge of the cliff, or sinks the ship faster, or speeds the unraveling of the fabric of life. Pick your metaphor, but the trajectory is clear. The only question is the timing and the nature of the collapse. No amount of propaganda can erase this logic: Unsustainable systems can't be sustained. It is time to rethink an economic system with in a democratic republic. Time to create a democratic economic system based on sustainable principles of human morality and social justice. Social equality, the way that wealth is distributed in the human family along with the ecological sustainability of the health of the underlying ecosystem that all life depends.