The focal point of capitalism is the accumulation of capital or wealth. Who gave the rights to the private ownership of sheiks to pump oil?
You will all remember the oil spill across the Gulf of Mexicoback in April 2010?
The oil spills are a classical ‘low probability — high-impact events’ as the one in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969, when more than eleven million gallons were dumped into coastal waters. From there on, we’ve seen more than our share of these kinds of accidents.
If there are lessons to be learned from those catastrophes, among the first ones are that “pre-disaster assumptions tend to be dramatically off base” and that “the worst-case scenarios were downplayed or ignored”.
We could argue whether this attitude is driving us against all the basic principles of Nature. Uncontrollably destroying the natural environment and exploitation of resources beyond recovery are just some of the profit-oriented results. Is such a conduct responsible behaviour to future generations?
The author Minqi Li of The Rise of China and theDemise of the Capitalist World Economy suggests some important solutions for the projected ills of capitalist economies. He explains that we do not live in ‘normal’ times. In this century, instead of expecting more ‘development,’ more ‘modernization,’ more upward mobility, more of the same pattern of systemic dynamics that we have observed and with which we have become familiar with over the past five or six centuries, it may be more appropriate to expect more bifurcations, more chaos, more transformations and transitions, and more ‘turns’ and ‘tricks’ of world history.
Let’s play with an imaginary but still very possible scenario. Supposedly someone develops such a technology that that is able to build up “a space station” that, from the Earth’s point of view, covers the Sun. Whether it is a world-leading state, group or global company it claims it as their own property, and therefore has the right to open or close ‘the doors’, allow sunbeams to go through or not. Consequently, they are in the position to charge the sun energy and light to the rest of the world.
This could be a completely regular concept that would also be backed up by laws and armies. But, is this righteous? Is it sustainable? Can or should we trust this development path?