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A New System

Entry 303, on 2006-03-24 at 20:45:09 (Rating 2, Politics)

I listened to an interview with an expert on climate change from the UK this morning - I usually find National Radio's interviews very thought-provoking, and worth blogging about. At the end I had reached several conclusions based on what he said, and many of them are contrary to commonly held belief.

First, global climate change is a fact. The world's climate is changing, and it isn't because of natural trends, although the climate does change naturally without human intervention. Second, we can do something about it, but it would involve significant change in energy use and in general lifestyles. Third, our capitalist system is the major cause of these problems. Capitalism feeds on growth, and growth is fed by increased energy use (generally involving significant waste) and exploitation of other resources. Finally, a significant change in the way the world works is required to tackle these problems, and that isn't likely to happen until it is too late, if at all.

So we have created this system which is based on greed and short term gain, and which does not consider long term trends, moderation in resource use, and fairness in allocation of its benefits. I'm convinced capitalism is a poor system to run the modern world, but I must confess that I'm not sure what alternative system we should use instead.

Realistically, we should create a more moderate form of capitalism which considers more than simple profit, but this would need to be controlled by a series of penalties and benefits run by governments, and that concept doesn't exactly inspire confidence!

There is plenty of money, talent, and resources available to solve the world's problems. Its just that, in most cases, the money is being used for the wrong things, the talented people are wasting their time, and the resources are being squandered. If we spent more money on research into alternative energy sources and less on advertising sugary water (for example, I don't want to just pick on Coke) and other worthless products we would be a lot better off.

We need a system which re-routes the money from worthless activities like advertising and fatuous entertainment to research and other forms of real progress. But will it ever happen? I really doubt it!


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