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Permaculture and capitalism

                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
I just read A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen and it pretty much answered all the questions I had about what my relationship can be with capitalism if I am to incorporate permaculture ethics. I highly recommend it--I think it's a book everyone should wrestle with, even if only to challenge yourself to formulate why you disagree.

Birdman, why do you think you need profit to improve yourself? Do you think before the cash economy was developed, no one ever improved themselves? How do you think we developed agriculture and language then? What does "improving yourself" mean to you, exactly?
tel jetson
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Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3096
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
Birdman wrote:
but there is the personal side of capitalism, and that is freedom,  the freedom of being to use your mind and talents and possessions to better your self and your family,


the freedom capitalism offers seems pretty hollow to me.  it's basically the freedom to choose what to buy.  if you're one of the privileged few, you may also have the option of some version of "opting out".

a few authoritarian governments have made unsanctioned intellectual exploration criminal, but that doesn't mean capitalism is the only path to any kind of freedom.  in the capitalist culture that I'm familiar with (US of A/Western Civilization), we are certainly afforded the freedom of thought, but we are just as certainly discouraged from exercising it beyond very narrow limits.

Birdman wrote:
with out this personal side of Capitalism there would be little Permaculture even being tried, as one would not have the freedom of exploration of what YOU think is the better way,


I'll just go ahead and put this one to rest: permaculture is rather older than both the word "permaculture" and capitalism.

Birdman wrote:
yes Capitalism need a moral base to work properly, as with out you try to regulate the excess of or the abuses of the potential of the system on those who are in the system,
and the end result of the regulatory system is a socialistic system of controls and limits.


capitalism does have a moral base: seeking profit is pious.  being poor is sin.

Birdman wrote:
profit in the system is necessary as if there is no profit from your produce or labor then you will never have any thing for improving your self,

As profit is usually defined as extra after the expenses and the costs are payed,

if all the system has to offer is just the survival of your situation what means do you have to better your self,

example say you sell goat milk to a customer, and you only charge for the cost of the feed, and a estimated cost of the fencing over 20 years, and so on,  when do you have money to add more goats to your herd, or to buy that great buck the neighbor has, to improve the future of your herd,  or that automatic milker.


I've got another example: what if you raise exceptionally healthy goats.  their milk is likewise exceptionally healthy.  you share it with the members of your community who are exceptionally healthy as a result.  you are filled with an overwhelming joy when you see how your good work allows other people to be so alive and happy.  in turn, you share in the delicious harvests of your neighbors.  the outstanding craftsmanship of other neighbors.  the support of folks who care for each other and the land.  the beautiful art that everyone who feels so-inclined makes, not to reap financial rewards, but just to create some tangible evidence of something that needs expression.

existing in that community is very much more appealing to me than one where I've got to constantly cut costs and increase production so I can afford an automatic milker that will allow me to compete with the dairy down the way.

competition does not increase efficiency, it just increases competition.

Birdman wrote:
where is that money coming from if profit is not in the system,  or you may not want to use it on the enterprise it self but on a kids birthday present, or a music system,  the profit in the system is what many times gives one the drive to do better, to do better and be more efficient,


as an abstract notion, profit seems pretty benign.  unfortunately, we've got physics to deal with.  if more resources are traded for a product than resources were used to create it, the total circulation of resources has to increase with every transaction.  that leads to exponential growth in resource consumption, which a finite planet physically can not support.  you don't have to buy all my mumbo jumbo about community and having better relationships with land and people and ourselves, but it is very difficult to get around this physical fact.  buying a stereo is nice, but I think you're going to need a much better argument if you want physics to change its mind.

Birdman, it's clear to me that you've given this some thought and I applaud you for that.  apologies if my treatment of your post seems a bit harsh or flippant.  clearly we disagree, but that's no big deal.

Kerrick wrote:
I just read A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen and it pretty much answered all the questions I had about what my relationship can be with capitalism if I am to incorporate permaculture ethics. I highly recommend it--I think it's a book everyone should wrestle with, even if only to challenge yourself to formulate why you disagree.


Derrick Jensen is a good egg.  I recommend Culture of Make Believe if you haven't already gotten to it.  Endgame is good, too, though it does drag on a bit.  his column in Orion Magazine has also been pretty good and I think it's accessible online.

Derrick Jensen's refusal to kowtow to dogmatic pacifists is very refreshing to me, though I'm sure it leads to a lot of folks shutting him out without really giving him a fair shake.  outing Gandhi as a body-hating misogynist might not make him a lot of friends, either.


find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
I started reading his Orion column, and was feeling pretty ambivalent--it seemed like eloquent words about why all the solutions are wrong, and no fresh solutions in their place. All the same I noticed I had begun pointing people to the column when I was trying to explain something difficult. ALOTW seemed to give me the background I needed to understand it better. It was a unique experience to me to read this book and feel at once totally overturned and totally confirmed in what I experience.

Probably shouldn't have read it in one sitting, though. I did that with the Illuminatus! trilogy, too, when I was a know-nothing teenager (as opposed to a know-nothing thirty year old), and I became totally intolerable for months. Very different experience, though.
tel jetson
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Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3096
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
I guess I've liked the Orion stuff because it doesn't give solutions.  it's too easy to shirk responsibility by asking some outside authority for a prescription.  what I got out of the Orion column was that a prescription isn't appropriate; do what the land tells you it needs where you're at.

that's not going to be an immediately satisfying answer for somebody who just wants to be told how to help (and I have been and still am that person), but I think it might be more useful and ultimately satisfying.

I think I've had a similar experience to yours reading Derrick Jensen.  it fit very nicely with my own experience and knowledge of the world, but ran me through the wringer emotionally and intellectually.

for me, the most concise and powerful part of Endgame is the list of assumptions that I believe begins both volumes.  I don't know if that list is available online and I don't own a copy of the book to copy it out of, but reading it would be a good primer if somebody doesn't want to wade through the whole tome.

as far as becoming intolerable, it's a constant battle for me to shut up or be labeled something unpleasant.  I post this drivel on the internet to spare my friends and family.  maybe not what you were talking about, though.
                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
Well, becoming intolerable about Illuminatus! is one thing. That's a kid's book. "Oooh, what if the world we see isn't really all there is? What if all the conspiracies are real? What if the conspirators themselves are the victims of their own conspiracies?! What if we all create our own reality?! WOOOOOO! I'm a Pope of Eris!" Groundbreaking. I'm not sure whether to be grateful to my friends for not shooting me, or chastise them for it. But I did grow out of it, like everyone who goes through that particular manifestation of the dominant culture has to sooner or later.

If I am going to be intolerable about Jensen, it'll be a different experience—a lot more important and real, and correspondingly a lot harder to keep myself from getting killed. It's like the conversation he has early in the book with the animal communication researcher, where the guy keeps saying "You've got to keep this stuff subtle, don't tell people what they don't want to hear or they'll tune you out or shut you up however they can." I guess that's one avenue.

But yes, ALOTW helped me understand why I wasn't getting answers out of the Orion column, and why that's—not okay, but necessary, and just the way it is. It's not that he's saying "Aha! There are no answers! We're doomed! See you in hell, suckers!" It's that there are no answers, how doomed we are remains to be seen and depends on factors a lot bigger than how fast we replace our fucking lightbulbs, if you love enough you'll do something more right than you would have otherwise, and if you don't love enough—well, see us all in hell, sucker. What I thought was a rhetorical flourish is a lot more truthful than I realized (and a lot more Buddhist in flavor than Jensen probably would care to admit).

I'll keep an eye out for CoMB and Endgame. But I think I need more time with ALOTW first.

Ennyway, back to capitalism--maybe it's a little relevant to the topic of this thread that Illuminatus! is a kind of Libertarian paean to individualism and the freedom of the rich to be eccentric and bohemian, and ALOTW takes a bit different stance.
Robert Ray
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Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Let's compare a garden to profit.

I plant a garden and get to harvest.

There is enough to feed myself

I can eat my produce and be full and happy.

I work just a bit harder and save seeds to replant next year.       Profit?

I plant my seeds again and have enough to feed myself but fall in love with a forest garden nymph.

My garden is just enough to get us by.             Not a sin being poor is just a challenge.

I work even a bit harder to collect more seeds for next years garden    More profit.

We eat like kings and are happy.  Additional sustainable work has created a surplus..Profit

Working with a sustainable mindset together we perfect our garden....Knowledge=profit

With our new knowledge we work towards a sustainable better dwelling, we trade some of our profit (seeds and knowledge)  for help in constructing a beautiful cob house.

Our work force consists of a neighbor who has built with cob previously. His knowledge is his profit from those previous works.

It goes on and on capitalism is a trade for goods, labor, knowledge, pleasure. It doesn't have to be a dead president exchange, it is a trade that is determined to be equitable and acceptable by both parties.

A moral base isn't from the system. Morality is not something that is placed on a system but on the individuals participating in the system. The system isn't bad the people are.

If one makes an exceptional product people will seek you out. To increase production to compete with someone down the road shouldn't be the goal. Competition pollutes capitalism. Wanting to be a craftsman and create the perfect product increases it's value and value in a trade.

Knowledge on how to create the perfect wheel of cheese, personal satisfaction, recognition and ones time all have value.

Wait!!!we have a surplus, now our profit can now be used for good, we give a charitable contribution of produce and support to our neighbor who has had his house burn down. And what the hell my trade with the cob builder has given me  the knowledge to help him build a house. Better because I have found some things that I wish I had incorporated into my house.


"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
thank you Robert Ray
                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
That's a generous analogy, Robert; thank you. I'm especially interested in how you see capitalism's potential to encourage cooperation and not competition. If all I saw of capitalism was your understanding of it, I wouldn't have any problem with it.

But I see it differently... In my understanding of the system we call capitalism, profit depends on externalizing costs. If you want to get back more energy than you put in, you must find a way to externalize some of the costs—make some other creature or system pay the cost instead of you. That's because thermodynamically speaking you can never get out more energy than goes into a system, and you'd be doing really good to break even. So in a garden, that means I don't pay the price of a few ravaged leaves, the slugs do when I poison them or simply stomp every last one to death. On a larger scale, that's murdering indigenous people because they have the temerity to live and breathe on land that capitalism wants. I can't tell you how I felt when some ten or eleven years ago I learned that Celestial Seasonings of all happy-sounding companies had allowed, encouraged, and profited by South American dictators murdering native people who had been made homeless by their company's buying up of indigenous forest lands in order to plant such herbs as yerba maté, an herb with which the native South Americans have long had an intimate relationship, for their popular tea flavor "Morning Thunder." If you pick up a box of "Morning Thunder" you will see an image of the virtually extinct American bison or buffalo, with whom certain tribes of native North Americans had an intimate relationship upon which the lives of both depended. No indigenous person could have conceived of hunting ALL the buffalo. That is because they only needed to take as many buffalo as they and their tribe could use that season. Capitalism incentivized the utter destruction of the buffalo. Hides were worth money, and there was no reason not to make as much money as you possibly could selling hides. Loss of life, extinction of a species, was an externality. Capitalism can't conceive of there being value in something you can't trade for money, so lives are worthless, the experience of showing living, free-roaming buffalo to one's children is worthless; it can't be represented as profit. You don't get out more energy (which is, yes, most often represented in dollars) than you put in. Capitalism has no way of understanding "enough."

Capitalism has no room for mutualism for the sake of mutualism, or for giving to the earth because that is simply what you do. Two great forces are always at work in nature, competition and cooperation. Because of how deeply capitalism lodges in our bones, we must work hard, very hard, even to be able to see cooperation, let alone foster and encourage it, in nature. Instead everywhere we look we see competition—competing animals stealing my animals, competing fungus killing my plants. Competing species striving against each other, killing each other in a desperate bid for limited resources, striving to make an energetic profit so they can pass on their selfish genes. Much that happens in nature depends on a complex dance of cooperation between individuals of a species, even between different species altogether: bees allowing ants into their hives to remove rubbish; predators following scavengers who lead them to a kill, then wait patiently to clean up the leavings; individuals caring for young that are unrelated to them. Capitalism trains us not to see this mutualism, or to disregard it as unimportant compared to competition. If you see mutual care in capitalism (other than big corporations getting together to price fix everything from oil to milk, as happens daily now and is both the logical extension of the drive to profit and the necessary structure on which the US economy presently rests), I'd be interested to know how you think it's justified by the market theories that underpin capitalism.

Capitalism functions as a system of accumulating more wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many. That's what profit means. In every culture we know of where the social system functions to encourage the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor, there is much greater prevalence of violent crime. In societies where the social system functions to equalize wealth among people, there is almost no violent crime.

You could compare it to different systems of keeping chickens. On Happy Chicken Farm you have happy hens who do the work that is best suited to their nature—they scratch, run around in a yard or a garden, eat bugs and weeds, and contentedly groom each other. A happy rooster keeps watch for predators, and when he finds a morsel of food, he patiently parcels it out to each of the hens, making sure no one is left out. He mates with as many hens as he can keep happily, so he doesn't have to compete with any other roosters, therefore mating is gentle and at leisure and he doesn't have to bully the hens to keep them. The hens lay eggs—sometimes fertile, sometimes infertile, sometimes once a day in the summer when the light is bright and the days long, but in winter they may not lay any at all. The human maintaining this farm knows this and doesn't care, because the point is the relationship with the chickens, and the eggs are a nice side benefit, a gift in exchange for the gift of a place to live and food to eat and proper management. Farmer Happy is giving to her chickens just about as much as she gets back, and she's not getting rich off the eggs; how many eggs can one person or family use, anyway? The point is the relationship with the chickens, everyone on the farm being happy, and everyone having what they need to live.

Unfortunately, Farmer Happy has just kicked it, and her niece Rude, who just got a MBA, inherits the place. Rude plans to make a profit—her time is worth money, in fact a lot more money than Happy's time was, since Rude has that MBA. The chickens are a resource to be turned into profit, not a business partner whose time is also valuable, and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly crazy. She knows that eggs sell for $3 a dozen in town, that Happy Chicken Farm eggs could command a premium for sustainable practices and extra nutritional value, and figures that she can do a better job managing the resources of the farm from a business standpoint. For one thing, she needs to standardize whether the eggs are fertile or not. Fertile eggs can command a premium but there is a smaller market for them. There is no market at all for eggs which may or may not be fertilized--customers who like fertilized eggs want a guarantee that their eggs are fertile, and customers who don't get really uncomfortable if they crack an egg and see a little blood spot that might one day have developed into a chick. So she has to divide up the flock and put some of the hens in with roosters and others not. To guarantee fertilization, she needs to greatly increase the number of roosters. That leads to competition among the roosters, but hey, that's okay, competition is the way of nature. Unfortunately now they're pecking each other and beating up on the hens. Now we have to protect our investment by debeaking them and penning them in little cages so they can't hurt each other. Meanwhile the other hens, with no rooster to protect them, can't be allowed to free range anymore. Now they're employed sitting in little cubicles eating, shitting, and laying an egg a day every day or else. To maintain profit margins through the winter, they sit under timed lights, never getting a break to rest and rejuvenate, so their lifespans are shortened. But we can increase profit margins even more if we cycle through layers, bringing them up to laying condition earlier in their lives, pushing them to lay as much as possible for a few months, and then killing them and selling them for pet food (because the enforced laying makes their little bodies tough and flavorless) as soon as laying rate begins to drop off. Rude replaces the hens every few months with a standardized breed. Happy had about a dozen good layers, plus a rooster, and a few old hens who didn't lay anymore; Rude has 7,000 birds at a time and slaughters and replaces an old flock every four months, just as the new layers are coming on line. It's not because she hates chickens; chickens are just resources--she just needs to turn a profit.

It's not this word capitalism that I have a problem with. So many people have given me different definitions of capitalism that I may as well admit I don't know what that word means to everyone. If capitalism to you is saving seeds in your garden, if that's turning a profit to you, well, right on. What I find incompatible with the permaculture ethics as I understand them is the system of converting relationships with other beings into profit, focusing on production at the expense of honoring the process. I don't want to work all my waking hours in a cubicle under artificial lights, doing mindless repetitive tasks that make me so crazy I have to be physically restrained from harming myself. That's why I'm interested in permaculture, because it offers another way. I don't want to be the boss of people working all their waking hours in cubicles under artificial lights doing mindless repetitive tasks that make them so crazy they have to be physically restrained from harming themselves, whether those people are human people or chickens. But the cubicle and the artificial lights are just some of the undesirable end results of putting production ahead of relationship. I know a lot of people are trying new ways of understanding capitalism that incorporate valuing relationships and ethical behavior as an aim of business, and I certainly wish them all success. Those are good things, just like your saving seeds is a good thing. But I think it exists in spite of capitalism, not because of it. Think of all the pre-capitalist societies where people have gardened and saved seeds.
Robert Ray
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Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
The mindset you describe I think is more consumerism than capatalism. What you have to change is not a capitalistic view but the view that most people have now in desire.
I read a book on craftsmanship many years ago from England and there was a story about a boat builder.
He built the finest boats in the village. An outsider came in and wanted to buy a boat he went to all the other boat builder and was given a price far higher than the best boat builders quote.
When he questioned the crafstman he became furious and his comment was more or less Damn it I only want what I want. If you want an expensive boat go buy one. If you want a good boat I'll build it.
That's where the trouble lies we only need what we need. Changing greed and desire to what is truly important and needed is what needs to be fixed.
Capatalism isn't broken the people are broken.
                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
Can we have a capitalism without consumerism? How do you think we should get there? Or do you mean, because "the people are broken," the system can never be fixed?

I hypothesize that it's not people who are broken, although many of us are permanently screwed up by this broken system (consumerism, if you will). I hypothesize that the system rewards the wrong things and punishes any effort to live differently, and that's what makes people act as if we're broken.
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
kerric your correct in that some abuse some part or fringes of a  capitalist society, but I do not care what society, or governmental system is,  there will be abuses, in it, if man is in charge there will be abuses in it,

you asked "why do you think you need profit to improve yourself?"

I want all to raises there hands who lives exclusive on there Permaculture? and do not deal in any monetary exchange? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

first of all profit of some type is built into a system if you can buy or get any thing out side of that system,   that is what trade is, whether it is barter or exchange or even unspoken pay it forward concept,


because with out some gain, you will not survive at least not for very long, it is the second law of thermodynamics,   

if the earth did not have the sun and the gain it gets from the sun it soon stops working it constantly is taking profit form the sun,
plants are continuously taking nutrients and water from the soil, they profit from the soil and nutrients,
You may build a system that replenishes the soils and the waters to some extent but it is taking from the air and the sky and ground and your labor, it  profits,  and if you want your garden you must expend labor to keep the system going the garden take you labor as profit, if it was left to it self, some of it may stay but much would fade away and other would take it over, the other would profit from the old garden,
why is it you can take a plot of ground and transform it into some thing that is much more than what it was , profit,  and you take from the garden and you profit from it, you eat, you may cloth your self, and you may house your self from the garden. you profit for the garden
as with out profit there would not be a garden,

I heard told by a fellow he said he had heard of a old farmer  tell the story
We planted 20 bushes of seed potatoes and they harvested 20 bushels of  potatoes,

Now this was there own fault they could have planted more potatoes,
what was wrong no profit, there was not surplus, extra, profit,

IF one does not profit you wither and die, it is that simple, Profit is nto a dirty word,  not to what excess one profits and how one achieves it could be a topic of discussion,

but again in the world you live in at times one prunes a plant, why so it can produce more, you take away some so the  rest of the plant can profit, from the excess.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
I'm saying there will always be trade and trade is capitalism.
I'm saying that there will always be bad people. There are good people too.
I'm saying greed exists, and I am guilty of it. I don't need to listen to music but I like it and  I have to work out a trade either through labor, dead presidents or goods to give me that pleasure.
I'm saying that I want to be a quality craftsman and be paid through trade for my equitable work.
I'm saying I want to some day be just like that English craftsman and say I only want what I want.
No matter what we end up with our footprints and actions now will forever affect our future.
Good men do good things. Good things help others. We should all do more good and that's the start.



I'm not ready for a halo yet but I like to think I have more check marks on the good side than on the debit side.
I'm really not a religious guy or a twelve step guy and don't think an apology for doing something bad gives one a pass. I think it's on your karmic personal permanent record at least it is always in the back of my mind for transgressions I have been party to or witness of.
It's much like being a law enforcement office or military person you become numb to terrible things because you have to you see it every day. You are forever affected. You don't have to become the evil (greedy consumerist) that you see
We see greed every day unfortunately it permeates our political arena now.
Changing everyones mindset is too big for me, or you, but I can show others and hope they show others.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3096
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
sure, there may be good people and bad people in any outfit, capitalist or otherwise.  maybe that's just a fact of life, but I don't believe it is.  I believe that the culture I was raised in is a capitalist culture and that it shaped me to think and behave in particular ways that are not conducive to healthy relationships with my neighbors, with the land, with other critters, with people on the other side of the world, with my own body and mind.

capitalism rewards folks for doing nasty things to each other.  folks don't dump waste into a river because they really hate the folks and critters who depend on that river, they do it because it increases profits.  power plants don't belch pollution into the air because they really want to destroy those pesky forests with acid rain, they do it because it increases profits.  an entrepreneur running a small business doesn't cut wages because she dislikes her employees, she does it to stay afloat because the similar business in the next state was given tax breaks by the local government.  that government didn't give tax breaks because it doesn't think the folks a state over deserve to earn a living, it did it because jobs were disappearing from the local economy and that's the way things are done: compete or else.

from the beginning of my formal education I was taught to think a certain way about the world.  individualism was encouraged.  competition was encouraged.  educating myself in such a way as to take advantage of other people and profit from them was encouraged.  industrialism was glorified.  clever manipulations were glorified.  healthy relationships of any sort weren't explicitly discouraged, but they were implicitly discouraged because of the complete lack of consideration they were given.

that was just in school and doesn't even begin to deal with all the other influences surrounding me as my mind was formed.

maybe there are a few saints out there who can resist the programming that we're subjected to.  maybe you're two of them, Robert and Birdman.  in that case, you deserve recognition and I hope you get it.

but I want to live in a culture that encourages folks to be good to each other.  capitalism is not a neutral tool, the use of which is determined only by the inherent morality of the user.  I know you two are going to disagree with me on this, but capitalism does have an ideology built into it, and it isn't an ideology that cares for people or dirt or water or critters.  it is certainly possible for a capitalist to care for those things, but that capitalist would be bucking the system to do so.

Robert Ray wrote:
I'm saying there will always be trade and trade is capitalism.


trade is not capitalism.  if all you mean by capitalism is trade, then I don't have any problem with your capitalism.  but that's not what we're talking about.  capitalism involves private ownership of the means of production, using those means of production for profit in a market, paying wages for the labor of those who don't own the means of production, and encouraging economic growth.

capitalism led directly to industrialization not because it was a neutral tool and there were folks in charge who just happened to view every thing and every person in the world as a resource to be exploited and nothing else.  it led directly to industrialization because that was the logical expression of the ideology inherent in capitalism.

trade is just that, trade.  it can certainly be done in a context of mutual aid and support, or it can be done in a context of ruthless competition.  if you're just advocating healthy trade, I don't have any problem with that.  but don't conflate trade with capitalism because they are very different.



allow me to make a conjecture about you two, Robert Ray and Birdman, and feel free to correct me if you believe I'm wrong (and I probably am):

I think that at the heart of it, you two and Kerrick and I all really agree that the state of things that has come to be under a capitalist framework is nasty.  would you agree?

I'm not asking if you agree that capitalism is to blame, just that things are pretty nasty these days: we've all got toxic substances building up in us, there is less and less to go around for more and more people, wars are happening all over, et cetera ad nauseum.

Robert Ray and Birdman don't like it and tel and Kerrick don't like it.  we all want things to change.  the difference is that Robert Ray and Birdman, for whatever reason, have some loyalty to or attachment to or investment in the word "capitalism" and tel and Kerrick do not.  it seems to me that Robert Ray and Birdman are changing the definition of "capitalism" to something they can feel good about because they see how screwed up things are, but have some need to hang on to that word because to let it go would shiver the bedrock of our civilization.

what do you think?  it's just conjecture and offered with all respect to everyone involved.  I'll gladly dismiss it as nonsense if any of you tell me I completely missed the mark.

either way, even if I can't convince you two to ditch capitalism, I think if your version were dominant, we would be a lot better off.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Morality can not be attached to capitalism it is attached to the people.
To me morality is a measure of ones ethics.
Just like communism isn't evil it is how they enforce the concept.
One who operates on a capitalistic concept doesn't have to pollute the river.
Capitalism doesn't have to be industrialized.
Ideology? Oy! look at the number of churches that all worship apparently the same higher being and yet disagree on how it is done or what makes one pious. Ideology is determined by the actor in the system.
I don't own wild raspberries in my neighborhood yet by using my labor I acquire a bushel full and from my labor I want to trade for snootful of my neighbors raspberry wine. I have made a profitable equitable trade. He has acquired enough fruit to make 5 gallons and I have acquired a bottle of fine stomach warming vintage. A little dry but I like it that way.
Currently there are bad practitioners of capitalism I agree. But there are or is the ability to be a functioning and responsible use of the system.
Subtract all other emotions from the concept of capitalism and assume saints are participating in the system, I can assure you that sainthood is nothing I would ever qualify for. Fair trade, equitable compensation the ability to better ones position through work and labor and sharing of knowledge. Knowing that one can't have it all and are responsible for each other. No need to consider justice as a requisite for a community, because for this illustration we all act responsibly.
Now is my trading my vast knowledge of how to pick raspberries and making a trade for my labor and knowledge bad in any way? I have assessed a value to my labor and knowledge. One bottle of ruby red fall nectar aged to perfection. I'll gladly share with a friend. I don't need it all.
You mention "Culture" and there in lies the problem how to change the culture of greed. If greed and bad practitioners were removed from your idea of capitalism would you agree that capitalism is not in and of itself bad?  A way to share ones profit with others and allow them to do the same.
tel jetson
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  53
Robert Ray wrote:
You mention "Culture" and there in lies the problem how to change the culture of greed. If greed and bad practitioners were removed from your idea of capitalism would you agree that capitalism is not in and of itself bad?  A way to share ones profit with others and allow them to do the same.


I mean to say that the mechanism of capitalism encourages greed and even requires greed to function.  operating in a capitalist framework, greed pays.  I think that if a particular behavior is rewarded, it will proliferate.  as things stand, greed is rewarded, therefore it proliferates.  that is a direct result of capitalism and to me, that means capitalism comes with it's own morality.

but apart from any of our opinions about greed and morality or lack of morality in capitalism, it requires growth, and growth simply can not continue infinitely if resources are finite.

if greed were removed, why do we need capitalism anymore?  everybody gets what they need.  nobody takes more than they contribute, because that would be a manifestation of greed.

your example of picking raspberries in exchange for some raspberry wine is most certainly not capitalism.  if you don't privately own the means of production (the capital), in this case the raspberries and the land they grow on, and offer the product for sale, your trade doesn't qualify as capitalist.  it's a beautiful example and the sort of thing I'm very much in favor of, but it isn't capitalist and doesn't require capitalism to function.
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
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there are multiple things that come on the discussion, and multiple reasons why some thing occurs and happens,

Capitalism  is a process that is effected my many factors,
Socialism  is a process that  is affected by many factors,
a kingdom is a process, and can be affected by many factors,
tribal and clan living is a process and can be affected by many factors,
and I am sure I left out some  I guess I could add Permaculture as well, as much of it is philosophy of living with others as any of the other systems are,

there are many things that enter into how one lives and interacts with each other,

I do not nessarly think any of the above process are evil or good in them selves, but people has manipulated the systems to make some form of all of them good and some form of them bad, 

but what happened is People get in the way of the process, and it gets changed from it ideal, and things thing happen that some times do not even reflect what it started out as, 

I can almost guarantee you 100 percent that if you and bunch of your friends moved to an island some where void of out side influences and you set up the perfect system, what ever that system is, in 50 years it would have morphed, in to some thing that was not intended,

yes consumerism dropping off the gold standard, cheap credit, and many many other things have attacked the system of capitalism, including the mass populations of people, and probably the most important one of all is self,  and I think we are all come in to this world and if any thing it needs to be taught to not be selfish,

(we start out and get hungry and cry to get attention, we find out that if I make noise when I hurt and huger I get feed and attention to my need, later we need to be taught to share our toys, some learn and some do not,  and then there are the things that are important to us our families and what we have done, we are shellfish again, one I want my family feed and clothed and Keep warm in the winter, so they do not die,  and many times greed (greed extreme selfishness) kicks in and i need a big house because my name is Joe, or Pete, I deserve it,  well that same thing happens in all systems,  not saying it may not be easer to do in the capitalistic system, over other systems

I would rather be in a system that gives me chance to live my dreams than one that does not. (even if my dreams are selfish) like food water and warm clothes in the winter, and housing that I like,  and I think the system of capitalism helps me to do that,  (I do not have government or system of  assigns housing or a quota system form the government to produce xx amount, or taxes that are over 50%,  and what is mine is mine, for some reason I like that on the personal level,

WE do not live in a perfect WORLD!,  For some reason I do not think the Good ol USA and the economic system it has used, has treated us that bad as of yet.  yes I think it is going down hill. and I think it could be better, but  tell me of a truly better place that is on the earth.  (I am not moving to Antarctica}
Robert Ray
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I will concede that there is greed in the current system. But greed is definitely not required for it to function. That's why some businesses fail no one wants their product they either adapt or fail.
I attach a value to my labor of picking of the raspberries on unowned land. Had the raspberries been on my land I would have asked for a bit more wine since I had to invest in their development, not greed just more effort on my part. Our wine trade though could go on forever and neither one of us hurt or upset with the transaction.
Growth requires fertilizer and water and the end produce is profit. Just like any plant if there is no room to spread out it's potential for growth is inhibited. Unfortunately I think that we will see some effects from uninhibited growth before too long
And you are right there is a finite amount of land and resources available. But capatalism isn't the reason for current woes greed is.
tel jetson
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  53
Birdman wrote:
For some reason I do not think the Good ol USA and the economic system it has used, has treated us that bad as of yet.


I'm going to go out on a limb here and surmise that you aren't an American Indian, or a salmon, or a mother who's breast milk poisoned her child with PCBs, or been redlined when you applied for a mortgage, or been beaten up because of who you find attractive, or found yourself the target of excessive police attention because you don't have a safe place to stay indoors, or been raped because you're perceived as an object of gratification, or... shall I go on?

just because it has treated you relatively well doesn't mean it has treated anybody else well.  go ahead and say those things are not a result of capitalism, but I'm going to judge it by the fruit it sets.
Robert Ray
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I am going out on the same limb after removing my initial response with respect to Paul with a lot of back strokes.
Many of the same things you point out could be said of religion.
I have seen first hand what happens in time of famine and people who have been killed at the hands of others. I have been under fire and it is something that I do not want to reflect on often. My own personal history and demons not yours or anyone else's. My wife and daughter do not wake me in close proximity.
My ethnicity does not inhibit a fair trade.
My wife years prior to our meeting found herself homeless and from her stories it was a degrading and frightening experience painful to me because it effected her.
Every time I have returned to the US the air tasted sweet and I was fortunate to be alive.
There are much worse places to be than here I assure you.
The past becomes a repetitive story of being wronged a historical event that can not be changed. But it can also be a bench mark of something good that has happened.
I get up every day and want to see good things happen and institute change to something better. If more people don't take that approach or something akin to it we are truly lost.
The bitter fruit you are tasting is an acorn with a few rinses it will become a sweet kernel that will sustain you.
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
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tel wrote:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and surmise that you aren't an American Indian, or a salmon, or a mother who's breast milk poisoned her child with PCBs, or been redlined when you applied for a mortgage, or been beaten up because of who you find attractive, or found yourself the target of excessive police attention because you don't have a safe place to stay indoors, or been raped because you're perceived as an object of gratification, or... shall I go on?

just because it has treated you relatively well doesn't mean it has treated anybody else well.  go ahead and say those things are not a result of capitalism, but I'm going to judge it by the fruit it sets.

tell me of a place where these or similar type of things have not happened, (regardless of the system)

like I asked where is it better where is there more opportunity,?
Where is there utopia on this earth? 
I have not heard of one as of yet, but people from out side of this country are flocking to get in. and are leaving there home countries, 
Why? it is better here. there are freedoms and opportunities here that do not exist in any other part of the world, I am guessing not ever thing thing that goes on in the USA must be wrong,
Is it perfect, NO, can it be improved YES,
tel jetson
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I don't want this to get lost: all of us in this discussion see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.

the United States and Western capitalism certainly don't share a monopoly on nastiness.  I'll judge any outfit that leads to similar problems just as harshly.

religion: only a small handful of proselytizing religions have inspired violence, warfare, destruction of culture, general nastiness.  most inspire only respect for people and places.  I think there's a good chance that the nastiness is inherent in those religions that inspired it, even if not all of the practitioners fall prey to it.

I think we're straying from the core of the discussion a little bit, but let me say this in regard to folks immigrating to the US: I believe the reasons the US is a more attractive place to live have a lot to do with how its actions have made other places in the world much less attractive.  the freedoms, however hollow they are, come at a price.  that price is paid, as is frequently mentioned, with the bodies of young soldiers.  more frequently it is paid for by citizens of countries impacted negatively in myriad ways by the actions of the US government and military and corporations.  those folks share none of the rewards unless they are able to make it to the US, which they are generally not able to do.

what I'm trying to say is that the unpleasantness of many other places and the pleasantness of the United States are both results of the same actions, and those actions took place in a capitalist framework.  the unpleasantness there is a direct consequence of the pleasantness here.  and personally, I'm not finding it so pleasant here.

Birdman wrote:
tell me of a place where these or similar type of things have not happened, (regardless of the system)


I believe those places are becoming increasingly difficult to find because capitalism has been so successfully imposed almost everywhere in the world.  examples still exist today, and there were more in the recent past that we can still learn a lot from.  a few have been mentioned previously in this thread, but a little digging will certainly uncover more if you're legitimately curious.


this back-and-forth has stayed pretty civil, folks, but it doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere.
                          


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tel
I am feel for you if you have been violated and tread up on,  by the cruelnesses of others,  (That I am truly sorry for, it should not happen to any one), and been handed the short straw in life.

But it appears that you hold the economic system called capitalism as the root of all the wrongs of the world, and any thing that has happened to you or your family personally.
If your so set on your belief that it what is wrong with everything and everyone.
then is nothing I can say.  That will change your thinking or understanding of what I see.

I do hope you fine your Utopia,



 

tel jetson
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Robert Ray wrote:
The bitter fruit you are tasting is an acorn with a few rinses it will become a sweet kernel that will sustain you.


forgot to mention in that last post that I like your acorn bit, Robert.  I don't buy the metaphor, but I like your style.

now, maybe I can take this in a little bit different direction.  I'm constitutionally distrustful of large things.  in this context, federal governments.  it's not the typical right-wing libertarian distrust, I just think that the larger something like that gets, the less responsive it is to the actual needs of people and the more damage it can do.  it's about concentration of resources.  a small town isn't going to build a nuclear weapon because it doesn't have the resources to do so, but a federal government does and will.

with that in mind, I think the biggest problem I have with capitalism is that it operates in conjunction with governments that are too big.  the United States and the European Union are both way to big.  individual states and European countries are still to big.  even a big city is too big.

if capitalism was practiced by a group of folks on the scale of a small city, say a few thousand people, it might not be so bad.  there wouldn't be any room for large corporations or huge expenditures on life-destroying machinery.  the consequences of each action and transaction would be more likely to be visible to the community.  I still think it would encourage unhealthy relationships and attitudes, but if folks decided to operate that way it would be alright.

that would leave room for the small city down the road to choose libertarian communism as their chosen mode of operation.  the folks up the way might decide some sort of feudalism would best serve the needs of their community.  the large town across the valley invents something else entirely.  all these cities and towns and communities interact with each other, but they've all chosen slightly or radically different ways of operating.  if there's no overarching authority telling everybody they've got to operate on a capitalist model, I think things would work out a lot better.

in a large city, breaking things up into neighborhoods could achieve the same goals.  neighborhoods would obviously consult each other concerning things like where to build a bridge, but resources would largely stay put and not be combined to enable huge projects.

seems like a radical idea right now, but we've been there before.  an overnight change to something like this might happen in the case of catastrophe, which doesn't strike me as terribly unlikely these days.  it could also happen gradually, the way it changed gradually in the other direction to where we are now.

what do you think?
Robert Ray
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Now I can get on board with making government smaller and more responsive.
tel jetson
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  53
Birdman wrote:
tel
I am feel for you if you have been violated and tread up on,  by the cruelnesses of others,  (That I am truly sorry for, it should not happen to any one), and been handed the short straw in life.

But it appears that you hold the economic system called capitalism as the root of all the wrongs of the world, and any thing that has happened to you or your family personally.
If your so set on your belief that it what is wrong with everything and everyone.
then is nothing I can say.  That will change your thinking or understanding of what I see.

I do hope you fine your Utopia,


thanks, Birdman.  I'm actually quite the privileged brat.  or at least, I was.  these days, I'm just a poor farmer.  I have been very fortunate to have largely avoided most of the nastiness I have witnessed being experienced by others, but I've witnessed it just the same.

I like to consider myself to be very open-minded, so don't give up trying to convince me.  but do try to be open to what I have to say as well.  also keep in mind that capitalism is the status quo, and it really doesn't take an open mind to accept the status quo.

Robert Ray wrote:
Now I can get on board with making government smaller and more responsive.


I had an inkling that might be the case.
Robert Ray
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I will after ruminating on the topic  say that the current US situation is melding the two together. With the recent Supreme Court ruling on political finance and Corporations ability to make contributions with little or no checks There is a problem.
I will not concede that capitalism in its purest form is evil though. If government was left out of the equation capitalism is an effective model that rewards work and knowledge.
  I'm sure you have seen workers who don't pull their weight in some circumstance and don't deserve the compensation that a harder worker does. If you have a plant that does not produce you replace it or encourage it to produce. The same could be said of an employee. Compensation should be measured.
A firearm or rock sitting on a table poses no danger. It is how the firearm or rock is used that changes it's purpose. The same could be said of capitalism. I'm not so in love with capitalism as I am with the idea of free trade and equitable trade. I also think that those that work hard should be able to be rewarded for their hard work. 
Who will help me plant the wheat? Soon becomes you have wheat and I want my share even though I did nothing to help.
I believe in land ownership, but with that I believe there is a responsibility to protect the land and those around your land.
I also believe that there needs to be a system to help those less fortunate. Age, health unemployment are bumps that occur. Some form of sharing by all needs to be incorporated in a healthy community for those in crisis and infirmity.
tel jetson
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now we're going in circles.

let's return to the basic question we're dealing with in this thread: are capitalism and permaculture compatible?  to rephrase slightly: can capitalism be permanent?

Robert Ray wrote:
If government was left out of the equation capitalism is an effective model that rewards work and knowledge.


I'm curious what leads you to that conclusion and it's probably obvious that I disagree.  but that doesn't matter just now, because whether or not work and knowledge are effectively rewarded really doesn't have any bearing on the question at hand.  if the whole thing is headed for the brink, it really doesn't matter how smoothly it runs or how fair it feels.

capitalism requires profit, profit requires exponential growth, exponential growth can not continue indefinitely.

Robert Ray wrote:
I'm sure you have seen workers who don't pull their weight in some circumstance and don't deserve the compensation that a harder worker does. If you have a plant that does not produce you replace it or encourage it to produce. The same could be said of an employee. Compensation should be measured.

...I also think that those that work hard should be able to be rewarded for their hard work


personally, I don't see any need for anyone to be an employee.  as far as I can tell, employment is a necessarily coercive arrangement that I think we would all be better off without.  but again, that isn't really a pertinent point.  you want to be fairly compensated according to how hard you work, but what good is fair compensation if the land that supports you is degraded in the process of compensating you?

Robert Ray wrote:A firearm or rock sitting on a table poses no danger. It is how the firearm or rock is used that changes it's purpose.


firearms are designed expressly to kill.  falling back on the neutrality of technology is an old trick and not a particularly compelling one and I'm not going to fall for it.  it helps weapons engineers sleep at night, but that's about all it's good for.

if capitalism requires the suspension of physical laws to operate indefinitely, then it is, by definition, unsustainable, impermanent, and not ultimately compatible with permaculture.  that's not a value judgment on capitalism, that's just an evaluation of the facts.  if you don't think it needs to be able to operate indefinitely, then its unsustainability won't bother you.  but it doesn't matter who's operating it or what their intentions are: it can't last.

Robert Ray wrote:
I also believe that there needs to be a system to help those less fortunate. Age, health unemployment are bumps that occur. Some form of sharing by all needs to be incorporated in a healthy community for those in crisis and infirmity.


that sort of thing happened by default prior to the spread of capitalism.  nobody had to impose it on anybody, nobody had to collect taxes.  folks looked out for each other because that instinct hadn't been trained out of them yet by being told from birth that competition is the thing.  that profit is the thing.  that if you don't have much, it's almost certainly because you haven't worked hard enough.

but let's bring it back to our question again.  with the growth necessary to capitalist economies, the number of your unfortunates also grows.  structural unemployment guarantees that as long as capitalist employment is how we operate, there will be ever more people unemployed.  ever more resources will be required to support the unemployed, older folks who are no longer productive by capitalist standards, and the growing numbers of infirm.

looking after them may alleviate our consciences, but it does nothing to postpone the reckoning we're going to have with physics.
                          


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If capitalism is such a evil system, 

What is your idea of Utopia?
and who controls it?
Robert Ray
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Well if we consider my trade for wine, my labor, something I assess value to, and my basket of raspberries as payment for a bottle of cheer and my vintner and his acquisition of berries to make more wine I see that as simple capitalist transaction that could go on indefinitely.
I believe I said land ownership had responsibilities and that it included protecting the land and the land of those around it. I am attempting to be a good steward of my property.
  I envision a permaculture/capitalist meld where trade is conducted, land is protected, land becomes more productive, and people are taken care of.
If we are including "The Brink" it is something entirely extemporaneous to the initial question.
Barring all else, if today my town turned into a permaculture haven,  labor, craftwork, knowledge, and even my snootful of wine would have some ephemeral price tag placed on it because there are more than just one or two involved.
I could be comfortable doing most things myself, even prefer it most of the time. But it is certainly nice to have just that little bit of help it is only fair that I compensate my helper.
I don't see how you leap to more uneployment because of capatalism, if every one is working let's say on their own permaculture plot in my melded community.
If I want to only eat potatoes than that is all I will plant. I want more so I have to plant onions too. Celery sure makes an excellent addition to potatoe soup a little more labor to aquire my gluttonous profit.

Here is a capitalist story: Small town near  Seattle big shot comes to town and wants a room.
Only one hotel in town. Goes to the hotel and asks to see the rooms propietor says, Gotta leave 100.00 dollar deposit. No problem.
As the bigshot looks over the rooms the proprietor takes the 100.00 dollars next door and pays the butcher.
Butcher runs over to the doctor pays the bill for delivering his wife's baby,
Doctor runs over to the dentist pays his bill.
Dentist runs over to the local painted lady pays his bill.
Madame Louise runs over to the hotel and pays her bill.
Big shot comes back to the propietor and says the rooms aren't adequate and picks up his deposit.
Everyone is paid no exponential growth.

You brought  up ethnicity inyour earlier post and there are definitely different attitudes as far as caring for elderly family members in other parts of the world. I hope that once people become more permanent minded that we in the US do it differently/better than they do now. Most of those cultures are currently working in a capitalist structure. My conscience is clear

You indicated that you are a farmer do you encourage your crops to produce better? To what end?

Yes a firearm is intended to kill, responsibly it feeds many people who harvest game. Your take on their use as something evil is curious to me and telling.


Robert Ray
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I guess I've said all I have to say. I believe capitalism and permaculture can exist in perfect harmony. Thanks for the dialogue. If you're ever in my neck of the woods the beer is always cold.
tel jetson
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Robert Ray wrote:
I guess I've said all I have to say.


I think I need to be done as well, so I'll leave you the last word.

Robert Ray wrote:
If you're ever in my neck of the woods, the beer is always cold.


likewise, though it may be cider instead of beer.
Daniel Zimmermann


Joined: Jan 04, 2010
Posts: 120
Location: Sacramento
the freedom capitalism offers seems pretty hollow to me.  it's basically the freedom to choose what to buy.  if you're one of the privileged few, you may also have the option of some version of "opting out".


Then the people on this board are privileged?  Because Permaculture is definitely not part of the current order of things.


Previously known as "Antibubba".
                          


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
Not to restart a discussion I think most people feel done with, but this article seems very relevant to me: What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know About Capitalism.

Excerpt:
It is our contention that most of the critical environmental problems we have are either caused, or made much worse, by the workings of our economic system. Even such issues as population growth and technology are best viewed in terms of their relation to the socioeconomic organization of society. Environmental problems are not a result of human ignorance or innate greed. They do not arise because managers of individual large corporations or developers are morally deficient. Instead, we must look to the fundamental workings of the economic (and political/social) system for explanations. It is precisely the fact that ecological destruction is built into the inner nature and logic of our present system of production that makes it so difficult to solve.
Robert Ray
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Capitalism doesn't have to be large.
Local currency is a form of localized capitalism.
Not everyone is in love with the current over production, ecological abuses that some people employ. The actions of corporations and managers that are morally deficient or ignorant is precisely why the current system is broken.
It is apparent to me at least that there are people who want to see change by the visits Paul gets to this website.

If there is food people live longer, if there is food couples have more children, if there is food people have time to play, if there is food there is the ability for arts to flourish and scientists to ponder.  Are people who want to permaculture the earth and make it more productive actually going to accelerate it's demise?


Responsible actions are not evil, an equitable trade is not evil,  permaculture is not evil.
If you take capitalism to its fundamental level it is not bad. It is all the irresponsible actions that some use that are fundamentally wrong to a permaculture mindset. You can  not ignore that some are fair and just, both trade wise and action wise. You have to make fair and just the norm.

People have ramped up production in some cases irresponsibly and just as they have ramped it up they can change how it's done or back it down. Some current methods of production are definitely bad. Address the production methods and you are on the way to a solution.
The permaculture idea in my view is currently a bottom up change to something that hopefully will be embraced by larger and larger production systems and by doing that will change much of what it seems is attributed to being the root of economic woes and the current pervasive social climate.
Once one blames it all on money I think that the bigger vision of irresponsible production is being ignored by those that make that claim. Sure production is determined by the producers capital but the same could be said of a permacuturist who spends his capital more wisely.
                          


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Yeah, the definition of capitalism I learned at school wasn't the same as yours. If only all arguments were as easy to settle—I don't have a quarrel with what you call the fundamentals of capitalism. What I understand capitalism to mean is a system of a few people making profit at the expense of many under a system of perpetual economic growth. Perpetual economic growth can only be maintained by the things that I think we both agree are bad—for instance, making the environment and poor people eat some of the costs of doing business so the owners can get out more than they put in. So either capitalism doesn't require perpetual economic growth, or what you mean by capitalism isn't the whole definition of capitalism, or (most likely) we're using different valid definitions, which results in looking like we disagree with each other when really we don't.

I think where we're more likely to come into conflict because of our different definitions is not on what we both agree is okay—the fundamentals of capitalism, as you call them, a basic simple pre-capitalist economy as I understand it—but maybe that when someone says something is good for capitalism or against capitalism you and I will be likely to have different reactions based on our understanding of capitalism. If someone proposed that the $700T bailout to the banking industry should be given to poor people instead, most people who think capitalism is a good thing would object, saying that's bad for capitalism. I would support such a move because I think many things (but not all things) that are bad for capitalism may actually be good for people and/or the environment.
Robert Ray
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I don't think that the government handing out 700t to the bankers would fall under my definition of capitalism. Protectionism,  socialism maybe but definitely not capitalism.  Government in my view should not be making profit. Government money is the peoples money, though government needs a reserve to pay for infrastructure and citizen approved social programs.
I think that that money given to the people would have trickled to the banks as people spent it and would have done far more good and penalized those that acted irresponsibly in the financial markets and banking/loan industries.
  The garden illustration mimics the dictionaries definition of capatilism.  Personal ownership, control of production, control of distribution, for profit (harvest).
When we look at what I understand permaculture to be: intelligent production methods, local distribution, increased harvest (profit). I see the the same map. Both are motivated by profit.
Permaculture in its definition does not imply who has ownership of property and once you carry it over to regulating ownership it becomes broader than its initial tenet. Regardless of who owns the property I think that responsible stewardship is a moral obligation in both of the models.
Once you add the social element (people- free thinkers) and they make choices that's were the problems arise. Once you attach outside actions to capitalism you aren't just talking about the garden on your property your talking about the outside influences on your garden.
If we look at garden labor as an input to achieve profit/harvest:  Labor is  compensated by the profit of a  warm apple picked off the tree or a carrot that tastes of the earth and as sweet as candy. If I don't garden/work I don't eat as well as if I garden/work hard.
Pony up, give me  the dictionary definition that you are using for capitalism. If we are talking social responsibility and personal responsibility I think that we agree more than we disagree. Social and personal choices are not credits and debits in an economic model but could definitely influence one.
                          


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Location: Colorado
May be I am wrong, but about the only other from of economic system out there is what I would define as socialism/communism/ fascism.  (Slightly different faces of much the same system),   
so·cial·ism 
–noun
1.a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism

com·mu·nism  1.a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

fas·cism   a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.


but that is what comes to mind when I think of some thing other that Capitalism,

yes there are dictatorships and kingdoms, but for some reason I am reasonably sure you do not think in those terms,  and if any for the most part I think they would some what fit in to (normally) a form of fascism. (normally governmental owned or regulated industry),


and some how the  past examples of the areas that have practiced these forms of government have been less than appealing to a free society, and the rich get richer and the poor really do get poorer, there are few examples of a middle class, 

and I don't recall of many examples of great environmentalism strides that took place, in most of the societies that have practiced this kind of government,

I do not remember any great examples of the poor becoming unpoor, or even a middle class as we have the opportunity of in America,

I do not remember seeing farmers of the USSR, looking well dressed or living in much more than extreme poverty, or remember the people of Cambodia enjoying the freedom or prosperity of Communism rule under Pal Pot, 
(I know it was all Capitalisms , and a republic type government, faults),  It had nothing to do with their Benevolent leader and his Idea of Utopia,

Posted by: Kerrick
Birdman, why do you think you need profit to improve yourself? Do you think before the cash economy was developed, no one ever improved themselves? How do you think we developed agriculture and language then?

why do you think you need profit to improve yourself?

First I aspire to more than a peasants life that is controlled by some one other than my self, I may be living a peasants life now but it is by my choice and my decisions, not some one else's, for the most part, (as our government grows there are more and more controls and restrictions being placed on the individual),
  Do you think before the cash economy was developed, no one ever improved themselves?

yes people improved them selfs, by the same methods they do to day, they normally acquired more, they had the roof that did not leak or the floor that was stone instead of dirt,  people who improved them selfs did so by developing or doing something that they produced more,
How do you think we developed agriculture and language then?

and by doing more, they instead of hunter gathers, they developed agriculture, by planting berries in a good location, instead of wandering for miles and miles to hunt for them, or domesticating animals for ease of hunting them,  and language was developed at birth, by interaction just as it is to day, (if you have a set of twins many times they will develop there own twin language that only they understand),

people have improved them selfs by having there work benefit them selfs, and if they work harder the excess beyond the survival is the profit and benefits come from that, many times making the survival easier,  and less work,
if there is a  way of survival that is easy and given to a person,  some will not work, as there needs are met, if one never gets past survival regardless of how hard one works, most will reduce there work to the minimum it takes for survival, as more is not benefiting them,

If one has never lived under another system or seen other systems up close it is difficult to see the blessing of the system in the US, and much of the Western world,   
IN our system if some one wants to live in a commune or collective group it is fine, but when some one forces one to live in that group,  that is a different matter,
I do not care what type of system one looks into there is the greed the poverty, the wast, the lacks and the overabundance, the pollution and the evils that are in man,   but one thing we have is the opportunity,  what other society can you chose to go into agriculture, or manufacturings or service sector,   yes there are faults with the capitalist system, but there are faults IMO there are a lot more faults with most other systems,

as I see it there is no Utopia, in general, you may be able to build your own utopia  or a form of it, if you have the choice and freedom to own land, to make decisions for you and your family,  to choose what you do with your life,
(or what most will call there Dream),
that is what is called the great American Dream,   much of the world does not have that opportunity, but if you can not choose or own land and benefit from your labors you will not have much  of a utopia
and how you achieve that dream may be by Permaculture and its "religion" that accompanies it in it deep form,
or it may be by something else,
I would not visit this forum if I did not believe in improving agriculture, and the ways it is done,  I see a lot of the faults of commercial agriculture,  but I also know even when Ag was small and very labor intensive, there were many faults with things then as well,
I can not really worry about what the walstreet is doing, as I have Little if any control over it, I need to worry about my few acers and managing them, and hopefully improving them, paying my debts off, and hopefully passing on my land to my family in better shape than I received it, and in the process living off it process,

a few seem to think if you could do away with capitalism that all the worlds ills would be solved, will they would not, war would still exist, poverty would still exist, injustice would still be done, and people would starve and others would hurt and kill because some one thought the wrong thing or was the wrong color or back ground,
the wrongs are not the wrongs of a system but because of the depravity of Man him self, man may exploit the systems he lives in or under to extend his depravity, but that is all it is, if a person has no concern for the environment he lives in, he will not care for it regardless of what type of system he is under, socialistic or capitalistic or dictator system, he will not have regard for it,  and if one has regard for it, then he will care for it under what ever the system is,
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1327
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
My sentiments exactly,
Improve what I have and have control over. In my case hope and for those that pray, that others follow suit.
 
 
subject: Permaculture and capitalism
 
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