Posted by: atowhee | April 6, 2017

IS IT NATURAL FOR PEOPLE TO DESTROY THE PLANET?

“It is thus completely ridiculous to stop at making decrees [on the forests] that enjoin civilisation to be no longer itself, to change its devastating nature, to stifle its rapacious spirit … One might as well decree that tigers should become docile and turn away from blood.”   –Charles Fourier, On the Material Degradation of the Planet. 1821

Fourier was upset at the de-forestation of his native France and much of western Europe for ship-building and other mercantile endeavors.  The word “capitalism” awaited the later arrive of Marx and Engels.

Here’s a fine review of a book by two modern French worriers.  Their conclusion is that the anthropocene is seeing more of the same, only worse. This book is an historic survey of economic demands on the planet and the social, ecological and political results.

One example of connections most of us cannot make: Henry Ford figured out how to quickly manufacture inexpensive cars.  To sell them he needed to help buyers get consumer credit.  That in turn enabled an entire new consumer economy built around loans, not cash. That encouraged buy-inducing advertising which powered commercial media. Voila.  Now we can shop until we drop and fill endless storage units with stuff that won’t even fit into our apartment, SUV or home. And with the Internet we do not even have to leave home to buy and buy.  The old-fashioned catalog companies, Sears and Montgomery-Ward, just couldn’t keep up.

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