We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Culture of Profit

by Tomasz Konicz Saturday, Apr. 17, 2010 at 9:45 AM

The 2010 Worldwatch Report was compiled by 60 scholars. "To avoid collapse, nothing less is urged than a revolution of the dominant cultural model, the replacement of our consumer culture with a model of sustainable prosperity."


Capitalism is world destruction. The Worldwatch Institute report “On the State of the World 2010”

By Tomasz Konicz

[This article published in: Junge Welt, 4/1/2010 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.jungewelt.de/2010/04-01/007.php2print=1]

A vast amount of statistical material on environmental- and social questions is included in the report “On the 2010 State of the World” presented by the Worldwatch Institute (WWI) on March 18, 2010 in the German version. The non-governmental organization (NGO) with headquarters in Washington has published annual reports since 1985. The Green-friendly Heinrich Boll foundation and the NGO Germanwatch contributed to the German version. Titled “Living Simply – Sustainable as a New Lifestyle,” the study focuses on the ecological consequences of the capitalist consumer model.

Today’s consumption level leads to a “collapse” of civilization. That is the basic thesis undergirded with a large number of case studies and concrete examples. Superfluous consumption gets out of control above all in the first world. This is manifest in a rapid exhaustion of natural resources and an increasing consumption of energy – the most important factor for greenhouse gases. Thus the world comes to the brink of a resource- and climate crisis. “Consumption is climate killer No.1,” the study says.

A European on average consumes daily 43 kilos of metals, fossil fuels, minerals and wood. An average American consumes 88 kilos. According to the study’s rough estimate, “1.3 earths” would be needed to maintain the current consumption level. Consequently the global consumption of resources is not sustainable but too high to be maintained in the long term.

Altogether around 60 billion tons of raw materials will be extracted worldwide in 2010. From the resources of the earth, 1.2 billion cell phones, 297 million computers, 85 million refrigerators and 68 million vehicles were manufactured in 2008. In the decade between 1996 and 2006, global consumption rose 28 percent according to the study. Since 1960, it has tripled – taking into account population growth.

The study names “western industrial nations” as driving forces of this development. Only 1.4 billion people could be supplied if everyone had the consumption level of Americans. Today there are 6.8 billion people with a rising trend. The richest 500 million, seven percent of the world population, generate half of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Eric Assadovrian, one of the WWI directors, summarized the glaring global injustice when the report was presented in Berlin: “Two German sheepdogs consume more resources than a person in Bangladesh.”

While the empirical material compiled by 60 scholars is valuable, the practical conclusions drawn by the report are humble. “To avoid the collapse,” according to Assadourian, “nothing less is urged than a revolution of the dominant cultural model, the replacement of our `consumer culture’ with a model of sustainable prosperity. In introducing the report, Ralf Fucks from the Boll foundation said: “Enlightened citizens are vital after the incapacity of the governments to agree on a global answer to climate change.”

Whoever consistently fades out the basic rules of capitalist production can only arrive at absurd conclusions, probably because he regards them as “decreed by nature.” Our “consumer culture” is only the manifestation of the accumulation of capital that now constitutes capitalism. Economic activity in our society is focused on realizing profit. This added value can only be gained on the market by selling goods. For its maximization, a whole advertising industry develops quasi naturally. Profit maximization is central, not satisfaction of needs. Therefore hunger and misery grow along with consumption. Owners of German sheepdogs constitute a lucrative market and resources are expended for its satisfaction. People in Bangladesh do not constitute a market.

A criticism of the cultural superstructure of our society that fades out the capitalist relations of production is idle. The authors of the report imply this when they note that the “consumer model” is firmly anchored in the daily routine so that “a sense for sustainability” can only be established with difficulty. In truth, the crisis-laden process of capital accumulation drives the waste of natural resources decried in the Worldwatch report as a kind of world destruction machine in the most efficient way. Added value can ultimately only be generated by goods production. The capitalist invests his money as capital in raw materials, energy, machinery and labor power to manufacture new goods sold to realize added value. The enlarged capital is invested in still more energy, raw materials etc. to manufacture even more goods. This boundless process presupposes permanent growth. No one invests money to receive back less or the same amount of money. Therefore the expenditures – raw materials and energy – must be permanently increased. Thus the process of capital accumulation stands in the way of a “sustainable economy,” not the “consumer culture.”

When Assadourian urges “nothing less than a revolution of the dominant cultural model,” he pleads implicitly for overcoming capitalist relations of production and building a society beyond capital accumulation that gives rise to this “dominant cultural model.” It is really time to raise this discussion from the (idealistic) head to the (materialist) foot.









Report this post as:

© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy