Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon

Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon Ecology

The economy extracts and adds to the environment impacting it in diverse ways. This page compares capitalism and parecon vis a vis impact on the ecology.

Next Entry: Comparing Regarding International Relations


“South of Scranton”
by Peter Blume


“Bird Painting, Tropical”
by Marvin Hayes

Introducing Capitalist Ecology

In a capitalist economy, the ecology is a dump site and input storehouse, for the most part. The market-driven economy pursues profits — and one avenue of gain is to exploit resources and reduce costs by avoiding attention to environmental implications. Environmental costs are not counted because neither buyers nor sellers are victims of the dumping which occurs external to market transactions and thus fails to impact pricing and choices. Moreover, the economy drives toward ever larger scale in its very logic, which eventually incurs ecological devestation even without intentional dumping.

To impose environmental concerns on capitalist economic choices requires political pressure — and occurs against the logic of market exchange and disruptively to it.

Introducing ParEcon Ecology

In a parecon, prices reflect true social costs and benefits to all citizens, not just those immediately consuming or producing items. As a result, decisions are taken in light of impact on ecology and anything and everything else that affects producers and consumers. More, there is no bias built into the economy toward large scale, growth, centralization, etc. etc. Choices about such matters occur case by case and in light of both social, personal, and environmental implications.

The way that relative valuation in a parecon reflect ecological implications, however, is in terms of derivative affects on humans. Environmental costs — insofar as they are costs for people — are accounted in a parecon. If reducing a species hurts people, or for that matter benefits people, those effects are assessed and enter in parecon decisions. Also, those affected have a say proportionate to effects on them, providing real democracy. But, if we also want to curb or propel some activity based not on its implications for people, but rather based on its implications for some other species (as in animal rights, for example), that aim becomes, in a parecon, an extra-economic matter.

Political stances vis a vis ecological outcomes, however, are not biased by anything the economy does. It neither gives any constituency more nor less clout to utilize in political life…nor does it have any problem abiding constraints imposed from without.

Evaluating Capitalist Ecology

To the extent that the ecology is respected and attended, which can be considerable, it must occur against the natural tendencies of capitalism since those are to violate the ecology whenever profits can be had by doing so. Since capitalist economy also puts most political clout in the hands of owners, the political means of redressing or preventing ecological violations arising from economic life are sharply limited.

Evaluating ParEcon Ecology

To the extent that impacts on the ecology in turn impact people, parecon accounts them properly. To the extent they do not impact people, parecon does not account them, itself, but can abide any policy a polity might impose.

 Next Entry: Comparing Regarding International Relations



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