29 Jan 2008

Capitalism or beyond?




Joseph Healy
wrote: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/big-business-says-addressing-climate-change-rates-very-low-on-agenda-774648.html So much for the Jonathan Porritt line that it will be sustainablecapitalism, led by big business, which will save the planet in the end. Expecting capitalism to save the planet is like asking a pig to fly. First sign of a profit cut and it's back to basics!

Incidentally found some interesting essays on green economics, I disagree with the 'neither left nor right' assumptions but good food for thought and since when do I only flag up essays I agree with ...critical thought is needed in this critical point in history!

Abolishing Private Ownership.

Before I get jumped on by the Libertarians for being a socialist or communist,writes Robert Feinman, I need to explain I don't mean eliminating the concept of private property. I mean eliminating the concept of ownership and replacing it with "usage rights".
No one ever really owns anything permanently, they just possess it for a period of time. At the end of the period they dispose of it. It wears out and is discarded, or is sold, or eventually the owner dies and the item is passed on to others. So we don't "own" things we just use them for awhile.

What I'm proposing is formalizing this concept. Whenever a non-consumable item is purchased there is a usage fee included in the price. When the useful life of the product is over it is returned to a designated facility and the fee is returned to the buyer. The facility does not have to be the original store or manufacturer, but can be a proxy set up for this purpose. We already see some small scale attempts at this model. Batteries and inkjet and toner cartridges are now recycled and, in some cases, a premium is paid for their return. But this only works if the item has commercial recycling value. Bottle recycling is used in many areas to reduce litter, but the deposit is only nominal and the effort mostly depends upon people's good will.

4 comments:

Daniel Owen said...

I'll go with "beyond." I'm for workers self-management, syndicalism, a free market of goods and common ownership of the land and resources.

Cheers and solidarity,

- Daniel

Derek Wall said...

beyond is what we need...social sharing, FOSS, commons regime, call it what you like but we need an economy beyond the market and the state....I like free as in free beer!

Robert D Feinman said...

I'm glad you liked my essay (or at least didn't dislike it).

I don't know if this is outside your range of interests, but I also claim that the consumerist/capitalist model will need to change, it puts too great a strain on non-renewable resources.

Here's the link if you are interested:
After Capitalism, What?

weggis said...

When, if ever, we get "Capitalism" do let me know, and then I will have a think about where we go from there.