For a More Progressively Evolving Society

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Environmental Destruction and Pollution

It can be safely said that financial interests are for the most part responsible for environmental destruction.  Most advances in modern science create detrimental side effects which require considerable time and effort to understand, and then to minimize.  This corrective process is expensive and cuts into profits—resulting in great opposition from corporate elites to implementing new safety standards and methods of environmental protection.  This is especially problematic as the direction of science is largely determined by what these elites decide upon.  It is well know that independent research that strives to address environmental problems often has difficulty being funded, especially if the results might damage an existing industry.  Research into non-fossil fuel based automobile engines, for example, is certainly going on, but with a fraction of the resources poured into fossil fuel research.  Alternative energy in general (solar, wind, bio-gas, etc.) is researched but with only a fraction of the funding nuclear energy receives.

In PROUT the control of science would not be determined by profit seekers.  The large scale key industries would be run by the state on a "no profit no loss" basis, and research would be out of the hands of corporate interests.  Each locality will rely on whatever resources are naturally available or can be synthesized artificially.  In this case the “polluter pays” principle is not just a slogan, it cannot be avoided.

Essentially, pollution is beneficial for only a short time period.  Corporate profits are increased through throwing off negative side-effects onto the environment and society as a whole.  Eventually, however, the long term effects of raping and polluting the environment will require tremendous effort and resources to correct.  PROUT maintains that the calculations of profits must include not only the cost of production, distribution, labor, etc., but equally important, the environmental and social costs involved.  Social costs includes all factors that negatively affect the mental, physical and spiritual capacity of people immediately and into the future.  For instance, the trucking industry is uneconomical from the stand point of social costs.  Currently highway maintenance costs are not calculated, the environmental impact is not properly evaluated, the damage done by depleting the earth's oil reserves is not considered, and the health problems resulting from environmental pollution are not considered—not to mention traffic congestion, accidents and the mental and physical strain on the drivers and their families.  Although trucking allows faster delivery and thus greater profits, from the social perspective as a whole, the railway system would be a better alternative.

The concept of social costs is integrally related to the idea of environmental sustainability.  In agriculture especially, the costs of using chemicals far outweighs the alleged short term benefits.  Agricultural pollution resulting from pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc., would be reduced by decentralized agriculture using the techniques of integrated, ideal farming (see Chapter Four).  Agricultural research could then focus on sustainability as well as quality and efficiency.  Already there is indication from applied research that output can even be increased using advanced natural techniques—not to mention the increase in taste and nutritional value.

From the point of view of sustainable economic development, anything that reduces the productive capacity of the earth and destroys the health of human beings and other life forms is definitely to be avoided.  Yet this is the path of the so-called global economy.  In capitalism, the quest for short term gain usually overrides consideration for the future.  It has been stated by scientists in international conferences, such as the Earth Summit, that the global economy is destroying ecologies at a rate of a thousand times faster than they can reproduce.  It has also been predicted that given the current rate of destruction, it will destroy the planet’s life support systems—ozone, breathable air, arable soil, potable water and the forests—in about fifty years.  It is therefore a life and death matter to reduce the economic decision-making powers of the corporate elites.  They have ignored repeatedly the considerations of the general welfare and they will continue to do so without governments and people intervening to curb their efforts.  

Political Democracy can and will be fortuitous
when Economic Democracy is established.  

Explore this and other articles covering alternative economics, ethical leadership, economic democracy, and a society without the weal and woe of social and economic vicissitudes HERE  
How does PROUT compare or contrast with capitalism or communism?  Explore the answers HERE
What are essential ingredients assuring progressive sustainability bereft of the vicissitudes of economic or political predation, privation or disparity?  Learn more HERE