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Difference Between Capitalism and Environmentalism

Capitalism vs  Environmentalism

As world population and consumer demand grow at an uncontrollably exponential rate, the most sought-after reconciliation between capitalism and environmentalism draw nearer and nearer to impossibility. In an attempt to address the current and increasing market needs and, at the same time, to make the Earth a sufficient habitat for the coming years, the tag-of-war between capitalists and environmentalists carries on in a never-ending feat. It, however, all boils down to what capitalism and environmentalism prioritize respectively. Which between the two better promotes human survival and sustainability? Capitalism is probably the most ubiquitous economic system there is. It is a structure in which the means of production and distribution are privately owned and operated for profit. Capitalists are usually private entities who make their own decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments. There is minimal intervention from the government as far as direction is concerned. Profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses.

Capitalism is a deliberate system of a mixed economy that provided the main means of industrialization throughout the world. Variants of which include anarcho-capitalism, corporate capitalism, crony capitalism, finance capitalism, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, neo-capitalism, post-capitalism, state capitalism, state monopoly capitalism and technocapitalism. Different perspectives on the analysis of capitalism have arisen throughout the years. However, there is general agreement that capitalism encourages economic growth while further entrenching significant differences in income and wealth. Economic growth is measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), capacity utilization or standard of living. Advocates believe that increasing GDP (per capita) is empirically shown to bring about improved standards of living, such as better availability of food, housing, clothing, and health care. They also maintain that a capitalist economy offers far more opportunities for individuals to raise their income through new professions or business ventures than do other economic forms. Favorable it may seem, capitalism has also gained a great deal of criticisms from different perspectives. For instance, environmentalists think that since capitalism requires continual economic growth, it will inevitably deplete the finite natural resources of the earth, and other broadly utilized resources. One of the most popular perspectives opposing capitalism would be environmentalism.

It is a broad philosophy and social movement upholding environmental conservation and improvement. Capitalism, together with the Industrial Revolution, gave rise to modern environmental pollution. The emergence of factories and consumption of immense quantities of coal and other fossil fuels gave rise to unprecedented air pollution and the large volume of industrial chemical discharges added to the growing load of untreated human waste. Environmentalism grew out of the amenity movement, which was a reaction to industrialization, the growth of cities, worsening air and water pollution, and depletion of valuable resources such as trees and land. It is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement advocating the sustainable management of resources, and the protection and restoration of the natural environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in ecosystems, the campaign is centered on ecology, health, and human rights. It advocates protection of natural resources and eco systems by influencing the political process through lobbying, activism, and education. Environmentalists promote our natural environment and the sustainable management of its resources through changes in public policy or individual behavior by supporting practices such as observing proper waste management and minimal use of non-biodegradable materials.

Summary
1) Capitalism and Environmentalism are two opposing views with regard to the optimization of natural resources to address consumer needs.
2) Capitalism is profit-oriented and aims to improve standards of living by providing not only consumer goods but as well as jobs.
3) Environmentalism criticizes Capitalism’s exploitation of natural resources and damage to the environment. It advocates sustainable management of natural resources and discourages a wasteful lifestyle.


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2 Comments

  1. It is true that they are seemingly opposed to each other, but this opposition is simply not sustainable.
    Consider this. According to estimations, there will be 9 billion people on the Earth by 2050. For capitalism, this means a huge potential marked (Capitalism of course, is completely dependent on there being a marked). The problem is, by placing short term financial successes before long term ones, the outcome of current capitalism is destroying the potential of an even larger future marked: by not giving a damn about the environment today, capitalism is shooting itself in the leg. If future populations have no clean water or clean air, they will die. If huge amounts of the population die, there is no marked left.

    This reveals a few insights:
    1) by juxtaposing itself against environmentalism, capitalism is obviously too busy with greed and quick fixes to be even concerned for their own future success, which just says it all about how well their whole agenda is thought through.
    2) it also witnesses what immense power we have as consumers. If we didn’t buy their shit, there would not be an ultra-high class of extremely rich and wealthy corporate individuals, with the power to do what they want with the planet and everything and everyone that lives on it. Only capitalism enables a few such individual to maintain such disproportional wealth, and thereby give absolute power to only this small handful of individuals, whose main interest is, sadly, to maintain their surreal wealth rather than to enable the well-being of humankind, let alone the non-human world.

    So yeah, if it weren’t for the greed of man and his tendency to be hijacked by the demanding urge for power and dominance, capitalism and environmentalism could easily be merged. Alas, an empowered human is too easily corrupted…

    • The environmental movement has most definitely been hijacked by even greedier people than those
      damned Capitalists
      You cannot change man’s greed by changing the lifestyle he promotes.
      The environmental movement has been hijacked by those who find a perfect medium for a huge power grab on earth and actual slavery of the people, in order accomplish the non interest of saving the earth.
      They really do not give a dam about the earth…they hide behind it to cover up their twisted desire for control and power ONLY.
      Environmentalism is a front for the agendas of very evil men.
      Yes, it seems noble at first….but it truly does end in slavery,misery and death.
      Environmentalists can be capitalists (as in the Green Movement…really!).
      And Capitalists can be environmentalists without the title, by being good stewards of what God has lent to us.

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