Why capitalism can’t continue forever and why socialism will prevail

From Bolivian President Evo Morales’ recent speech to the United Nations (the text of which has never been seen in the mainstream media).

It is important that we learn lessons from some sectors, from some regions. Let me avail myself of this opportunity: I come from a culture based on peace, from a lifestyle based on equality, of living not only in solidarity with all people, but also living in harmony with Mother Earth. For the indigenous movement, land cannot be a commodity; it is a mother that gives us life, so how could we convert it into a commodity as the western model does?

This is a profound lesson which we must learn in order to resolve the problems of humanity that are being discussed here, climate change and pollution. Where does this pollution come from? It comes from, and is generated by, the unsustainable development of a system which destroys the planet: in other words, capitalism.

I want to use this opportunity to call on sectors, groups and nations to abandon luxury, to abandon over-consumption, to think not only about money but about life, to not only think about accumulating capital but to think in wider terms about humanity. Only then can we begin to solve the root causes of these problems facing humanity. “

Hat tip to our good comrade Ian Angus who runs the fantastic ecosocialist blog “Climate and Capitalism“. He published the full text of Morales’ speech.

~

See also:

All that glitters is not golden

An apology is owed…

Support for capitalist parties in Canada

Is socialism violent or is liberalism hypocritical?: Dispelling the myths of socialism – PART I

Is Capitalism Justified?: Dispelling the myths of socialism – PART II

22 Responses to “Why capitalism can’t continue forever and why socialism will prevail”


  1. 1 Dan 4 October, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    It’s a bit more substantial than what he said on Jon Stewart, but I’ll give Stewart credit for getting Morales as a guest at all.

  2. 2 Ian Angus 5 October, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the kind words, Paul. I very much enjoy your blog.

    I see by your profile that you attend Carleton U — which I also did, many years ago. I will be speaking on ecosocialism in Ottawa in November (date to be announced) — it would be great if you’re able to attend.

    Ian Angus
    http://climateandcapitalism.blogspot.com

  3. 3 paulitics 5 October, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Ian – sounds great. Let me know a date whenever one’s accounced and I’ll be there with bells on.

    (well, not actually, but you get the drift)

  4. 4 dirk 8 October, 2007 at 12:28 am

    I wouldn’t under estimate the tenacity of capitalism.
    And socialism is far from inevitable.
    Socialism definitely won’t be brought about by groups such as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada,yikes…In fact such sectarian groups do more harm than good.There grasp of Marxism and exactly what Marx really said is very selective ignoring what ever parts do not fit with their rather strange interpretation.
    Indeed the M-L’s are the antithesis of Marx’s idea of what a socialist political party/movement “should” look like never mind act.Much in the mold as SWP,Louis Proyect was once a member,he has written some very revealing article in regards to the divisive and sectarian nature of such groups.
    I noticed you link to M-L,you do know that they are more a cult than anything else?

  5. 5 paulitics 8 October, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Dirk – You raise some important points.

    It is worth pointing out that I also link to Louis Proyect as well, and that I listed him as one of my top five favourite blogs of all time here:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/blogs-to-expand-your-mind/

    As for your question, yes I am aware that the M-Lers do have a bit of a reputation for being somewhat cult-like. To tell you the truth, I’ve never been especially moved by any of their literature enough to actually get to know an M-Ler well enough to validate that reputation.

    It is, however, correct that I link to them. I do this because I am interested in bridging beyond the parochialities of sectarianism and thus I make a point of linking to all manner of ideologies form the blogging dippers website to the Communist Party of Canada website to the M-L Party of Canada website as well as to a host of other websites with differing leftist ideologies such as Noam Chomsky’s work (which, incidentally, is the closest to my personal ideology) and the Socialist Worker.

    Thus, despite the fact that I have little-to-no personal experience either positive or negative with the M-Lers, I believe that excluding them does more harm then good and that such a decision itself would be sectarian act.

    P.S., last time you commented on my blog you told me “Do your self a favor guy stay away .Read more Marx you will then understand why I say this.” And this time you commented here you wrote “you do know that they [M-Lers] are more a cult than anything else?”

    Dirk, I get the impression that you see me as somehow profoundly incompetent or ignorant of Marx. Every time you comment on my blog it’s to suggest that I’m hopelessly naive about some aspect of Marxism and I was just wondering what I’ve written or done to give you that impression?

    In case it isn’t clear from some of what I’ve previously written on this blog, I’ve read quite a lot of Marx (including many of his lesser-quoted works) and I consider my knowledge of his work to be at least sufficient to not have my competence questioned. For a sample of my non-academic writings on Marx, I can direct you to the following:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/the-marx-english-dictionary-page/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/great-quotes-marx/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/what-do-politics-and-monkey-shit-fights-have-in-common/#comment-6067
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/what-do-politics-and-monkey-shit-fights-have-in-common/#comment-6198
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/is-capitalism-justified/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/07/to-those-who-say-socialism-doesnt-work/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/i-fought-hitler-and-all-i-got-was-eternal-damnation/#comment-6577
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/i-fought-hitler-and-all-i-got-was-eternal-damnation/#comment-6667
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/27/is-socialism-violent-or-is-liberalism-hypocritical/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/the-wars-we-fight-but-do-not-name/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/09/19/update-in-university-of-florida-tasing-scandal-the-cop-smiled-pic/#comment-8766
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/the-ndp-are-cowards-what-should-true-progressives-do/#comment-7923
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/proof-that-organized-religion-stops-critical-thinking/
    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/proof-that-organized-religion-stops-critical-thinking/#comment-2381

    That said, unlike some people, I am not so bold as to assume that I have the only valid interpretation of Marx’s writings. Thus, if there are other Canadians who have at least taken an interest in Marx’s work and have read it and want to discuss it, I’m more than willing to link to them on my sidebar even if I don’t agree with 100% of what they write.

  6. 6 dirk 8 October, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I don’t consider you incompetent,far from it.I am just not that arrogant.In fact I am always encouraged seeing young people such as yourself engaging and getting off their butts.And I applaud you for wanting to move past sectarianism,just don’t expect the same from the ML’s they are a text book case of sectarianism,& vanguard bullshit.My opinion.
    As for my comments,I will admit perhaps I might come of a bit “arrogant” but that is not my intention.
    But if you post something that I agree with,and you have more times than not,I nod and move on I usually do not comment.
    I just can not help but be cynical when it comes to M-L and CPC(post 1940’s),SWP etc etc.There are the sectarians,they are everything ‘Marxism” does not stand for.Perhaps in my own mind I am hoping you will take my “warnings” into consideration and not waste your time with the type of politics practiced by the M-L’s.And a link does imply a certain affinity.Perhaps I am reading your motivation wrong,but thats what linking implies to me.
    That said,when I read left blogs,I do pay attention to links,because this often does give one and idea of the possible flavor of that particular blog.
    Not true in all circumstance for sure,but in enough,that seeing certain links does raise a red flag,in my mind at least.
    Also certain phrase that point to socialism as somehow inevitable always catch my attention.This is a huge fallacy and has led to,too many “Marxists” spouting theories of statism,or a stagiest view of history. And a certain arrogance,that I find particularly irksome,does seem to arise from seeing something, as inevitable.Such views lead to “Marxists” underestimating the role of people,which leads to ideas of vanguards(ML’s),professional “revolutionaries”,you know where I am going.All of which have had negative impacts on the works of Marx.

    In Solidarity Dirk

  7. 7 paulitics 9 October, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Dirk, just a few things.

    You seem to hold Louis Proyect in the same high regard that I do, especially insofar as his anti-sectarianism is concerned.

    I certainly have no disagreement with you on that front as I’m on record as praising Proyect on several occasions.

    However, that said, I think you misconstrue what placing a link on a sidebar means. You yourself wrote that “a link does imply a certain affinity.”

    I think this is correct to some extent, but we must be careful not to overstate the issue since you yourself link to the Trotskyist Socialist Caucus of the NDP on your blog — an ideology which Proyect himself considers to be too sectarian.

    Just to further drive home this point, look at the divergent groups/people I link to on my blog.

    Climate and Capitalism – Eco-socialist (with heavy Marxist influence)
    If there is hope… – International Socialists/Marx-influenced Democratic Socialist
    Lenin’s Tomb – Gramscian/neo-Marxist/’Chomskian libertarian socialist’
    Louis Proyect – former Trotskyist, Trotsky-influenced anti-’trotskyist’
    Sisyphus – Anti-Marxist, Euston Manifestoite
    Uncorrected Proofs – social democrat/NDP
    Red Jenny – feminist socialist
    Noam Chomsky – Anarcho-syndicalist / libertarian communist
    Communist Party of Canada – statist / Soviet-influenced / Marxist-leninism
    International Socialist Review Online – democratic-socialist/social democrat/non-revolutionary socialist
    Marxist Internet Archive – various
    Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada – statist / Maoist / Marxist
    Marxmail.org – classical marxism and neo-marxism
    Media Matters – capitalist / left-liberal

    It would be unintelligible psychologically or philosophically for me to hold all of these competing ideologies simultaneously in my head. So I don’t know how ANYBODY can think that I’m a leftist sectarianist when I link to a more diverse group of sites that most Marxists I know.

    As for the final issue of the inevitability of the rise of socialism, on that front, I do plead guilty to a slight predisposition for flare. For the record, I do believe that it is inevitable that capitalism will fail — either resulting in socialism or the environmental destruction of the planet — however I am in agreement with you that socialism is not technically ‘inevitable’ in the proper usage of the term. As with most titles, the title of this post was designed as a catch to grab interest and encourage one to read the full post — even though it may have been slightly disingenuous on my behalf.

  8. 8 Peter 3 January, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Hi Paul, I just ‘stumbled’ across your blog and I am a bit puzzled. Aren’t you confusing capitalism with corporatism ? And who is to decide what is ‘luxury’ and ‘over-consumption’? Surely a single in a Hummer is much more ecofriendly than a whole family of meateaters in a Toyota Hybrid? Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

  9. 9 Peter 3 January, 2008 at 7:43 am

    That is a single vegetarian (which I am not) off course ! :-)

  10. 10 paulitics 3 January, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Peter – corporatism means something completely different from capitalism.

    Capitalism is a style of social organization wherein the the means of production are privately owned by one class of non-labouring individuals while another class of labourers can only generate what they need to survive by selling their labour power.

    Corporatism on the other hand is a mode of captialism popularized in Italy during the 1920s, 30s and 40s under Mussolini.

    While there clearly are differences between the two and while the North American economy does have ample corporatist structures within it, I do not believe I was confusing the two.

    Even if the North American economy were purely capitalist and free of any corporatist structures, everything Morales said in the body of the post above would nevertheless remain true (in fact, it would be even more true).

  11. 11 Peter 3 January, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    You really think so ? I always thought corporatism meant corrupt politicians and their corporate friends use the government’s monopoly on force to create protected markets.

    Under corporatism, with rules and regulations, duties and taxes, outside competition is blocked as much as possible, as we can see in North Am, the EU as well as in many developing nations with corrupt rulers. Thus corporatism prevents free trade and free exchange of labour, and it enhances exploitation of workers.

    Capitalism on the other hand thrives on the free market. In a free market with totally free competition, workers can never be exploited by definition because if you don’t like your current job you simply leave for a competitor offering better conditions. That is why I think you got corporatism and capitalism mixed-up.

    How about my second question ? What do you think would be a good system to determine what is ‘luxury’ and ‘over-consumption’ and what not ?

  12. 12 paulitics 8 January, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Peter,

    If you want to define corporatism as synonymous with capitalistic cronyism, I’m certainly in no position of authority to tell you that you can or can’t do so. I was just relaying what the standard definition of corporatism was based on its use by proponents (namely Mussolini who popularized the term).

    Likewise, if you want to define capitalism as thriving on the ‘free market’, again I’m in no position to tell you that that’s incorrect or not. What I can say is that the nations generally considered to be the modern heights of capitalism such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada and so forth, do not by their own admissions practice (or even seriously advocate, for that matter) ‘free market capitalism’.

    As for your final question, I’m sorry, I don’t believe I fully understand what you are getting at. By definition all economic systems are designed to ration the fruits of society and the earth, albeit using radically divergent systems and modes of production. Some do it more equally than others (i.e. socialism). Some do it without particular concern for the devastating phenomenon of over-consumption (i.e. capitalism). But all attempt it one way or another.

    If I understand your question correctly, I believe the best system for humanity is one wherein the democratic franchise has been expanded beyond the political sphere where it has currently remains confined, and thus the goal is to have a democratic economic system alongside a democratic political system. Some previously have called such a system ‘Marxism’, others have called it ‘anarcho-syndicalism’ or ‘libertarian communism’. Whatever you chose to call it, that would be my preferred system.

  13. 13 Peter 9 January, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for your elaborate comment, Paul ! You’re absolutely right many socalled capitalist nations do not practice free market capitalism. My impression is they practice corporatism as there is no free competition. That is why many people (including Marx!) think they have experienced negative side effects from capitalism whereas they actually only experienced the adverse effect from a system where politics plays the key role.

    I am convinced not all politicians are corrupt and many have the best intentions. But, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is why I’m a bit puzzled that your favourite option would entail a democratic political system. Many people who favour democracy consider it the lesser evil and the best option we have. However, I really don’t see why we should stick with a system that is fundamentally wrong.

    Let me explain a bit why I think democracy is wrong. Imagine Canada is a democracy where 100 people travel in a bus, 51 of them would like to go to Montreal, 49 would prefer Vancouver. In a democracy the bus travels to Montreal.

    Those 49 people, who would rather be in Vancouver as they have no business to be in Montreal, now have to pay for a ticket they don’t want and they are forced to indirectly subsidise the ticket of the 51 other people. It does not come as a surprise that those 51 lucky folks do not want a different system ! Their goals are achieved with less expense than would be the case if they had to pay for their desires by themselves.

    But that does not make the system less immoral. Extortion and theft are always immoral. In a democracy those 49 people can prevent their extortion by lobbying. If 2 percent switches from Montreal to Vancouver the bus goes to Vancouver. To the detriment of the folks who would really like to go to Montreal, of course. That is why the main political activity in a democracy is lobbying, instead of doing what needs to be done.

    All this really doesn’t make any sense ! Why don’t we take TWO buses ? Than each group can simple go wherever they want to and pay exactly whatever their desires cost. And if more destinations are required than we simply take more buses. Small buses that are cheaper to run than the single big one. Finally, we will end up by each individual taking his or her own car to go wherever one likes without bothering other people. That final stage will result a truly free society where the government is no longer an instrument for lobbying groups, as it is in any democracy we know today.

  14. 14 Peter 9 January, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    My question about Morales’ remarks on ‘luxury’ and ‘over-consumption’ refers to the fact one needs a system to determine what is ‘luxury’ and ‘over-consumption’. It may seem that people have a natural feel for these things, but as I pointed out in post 9 each individual makes his or her own choices that may differ considerably in outer appearance but that have the same result when looking at the ecological footprint (i.e. no children, no meat and a big car vs many children, meat and a fuel-efficient car).

    A socialist plan economy where everyone is ‘equalized’ in outer appearences does not do this justice. Also, at what level should a socialist society ‘equalize’ everyone ? To the level of the people who live on a dollar a day, to the level of western middle class, or to the level of the richest people on earth ? Remember that several centuries ago the richest people on earth did not have a living standard that reached the level of that of an average middle class family today.

    In the end it does not make sense that other people should decide how you live. You have your own responsibility towards other people, but you are the only one who can really decide how to live your life.

    This notion was put down a long time ago by political scientist Paul Emile de Puydt (1810-1888). He advocated a system of total political freedom where people could join the services of socialist, capitalist, fascist, liberal, democratic, republican, monarchist or whatever type of government one desired, or no gornment at all if one like anarchism or libertarianism, without having to move to another country. As he puts it: “No need to give up either national traditions or family ties, no need to learn to think in a new language, no need at all to cross rivers or seas, carrying the bones of one’s ancestors”.

    ===

    “Each generation is like a new tenant who, before moving in, changes things around, cleans up the facade, and adds or pulls down an annex, according to his own needs. From time to time some generation more vigorous or short-sighted than its predecessors, pulls down the whole building, sleeping-out in the open until it is rebuilt.

    When, after a thousand privations and with enormous efforts, they have managed to rebuild it to a new plan, they are crestfallen to find it is not much more comfortable than the old one. It is true that those who drew up the plans are set up in good apartments, well situated, warm in winter and cool in summer; but the others, who had no choice, are relegated to the garrets, the basements or the lofts.

    So there are always enough dissenters and trouble makers, of whom some miss the old building, whilst some of the more enterprising already dream of another demolition. For the few who are satisfied there is an innumerable mass of objectors. We must remember however that a few are satisfied. The new edifice is indeed not faultless, but it has some advantages; why pull it down tomorrow, later, indeed ever, as long as it shelters enough tenants to keep it going?

    I myself detest the wreckers as much as the tyrants. If you feel your apartment is inadequate or too small or unhealthy, then change it – that is all I ask. Choose another place, move out quietly; but for heaven’s sake don’t blow up the whole house as you go. What you found unsuitable might delight your neighbour.

    My panacea, if you will allow this term, is simply free competition in the business of government. Everyone has the right to look after his own welfare as he sees it and to obtain security under his own conditions. On the other hand, this means progress through contest between governments forced to compete for followers.

    True worldwide liberty is that which is not forced upon anyone, being to each just what he wants of it; it neither suppresses nor deceives, and is always subject to a right of appeal. To bring about such a liberty, there would be no need to give up either national traditions or family ties, no need to learn to think in a new language, no need at all to cross rivers or seas, carrying the bones of one’s ancestors.

    It is simply a matter of declaration before one’s local political commission, for one to move from republic to monarchy, from representative government to autocracy, from oligarchy to democracy, or even to Mr. Proudhon’s anarchy – without so much as removing one’s dressing gown or slippers.”

    See: http://www.panarchy.org

  15. 15 Peter 9 January, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Sorry about the grammar, “put down” is “put forward”, of course, and “or no gornment at all if one like …” means “or no government at all if one liked …”.

    Consider also the increased level of ‘luxury’ one could have without any greater burden on the ecosystem, if there were less people on earth. Should a socialist society actively persue birth control, sterilization, etc or even euthenasia to increase the living standard of those who remain ? Seems rather horrific to me, to be honest.

    Why can’t we rely on the natural boundaries mankind encounters when expanding its activities ?

    In fact, any free family planning works this way. People usually consider having a child if their income allows it. Having a child when you cannot afford one would be very irresponsible as its chances of survival or making way in society would be very slim.

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  1. 1 Canada should implement many of the reforms just approved by Venezuelans « Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations Trackback on 3 December, 2007 at 2:08 am

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