Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Profit Motive Is Crippling Humanity

Listen to a reading of this article:

 

The US military has seven branches of service:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • Coast Guard
  • Space Force
  • Mainstream Media

It’s hard to grasp just how badly humanity is handicapping itself by excluding all solutions that can’t generate a profit. There’s a whole vast spectrum of potential solutions to the troubles we face as a species, and we’re limiting ourselves to a very small, very shitty fraction of it. By limiting solutions to ones that are profitable, we’re omitting any which involve using less, consuming less, leaving resources in the ground, and leaving nature the fuck alone. We’re also shrinking the incentive to cure problems rather than offer expensive, ongoing treatments.

Or even a project as fundamental to our survival as getting all the pollution out of our oceans. The profit motive offers no solution because there’s no way to make a surplus of money from doing so, and in fact it would be very costly. So the pollution stays in our seas, year after year. People have come up with plenty of solutions for removing pollution from the sea, but they never get rolled out at the necessary scale because there’s no way to make it profitable. And people would come up with far more solutions if they knew those solutions could be implemented.

How many times have you had an awesome idea and gotten all excited about it, only to do the math and figure out that it’s unfeasible because wouldn’t be profitable? This is a very common experience, and it’s happening to ideas for potential solutions to our problems every day.

The profit motive system assumes the ecocidal premise of infinite growth on a finite world. Without that, the entire system collapses. So there are no solutions which involve not growing, manufacturing less, consuming less, not artificially driving up demand with advertising etc.

It’s hard to appreciate the significance of this artificial limitation when you’re inside it and lived your whole life under its rules. It’s like if we were only allowed to make things out of wood; if our whole civilization banned the entire spectrum of non-woodcraft innovation. Sure such a civilization would get very good at making wooden things, and would probably have some woodcrafting innovations that our civilization doesn’t have. But it would also be greatly developmentally stunted. That’s how badly we’re limiting ourselves with the profit motive model.

A lot of the “Great Reset” environmental chatter comes from the capitalist class flailing around trying to reconcile impossible contradictions baked into capitalism like the premise of infinite growth on a finite world and the fact that there’s no way for saving the environment to be profitable. So they’re planning all these new models which won’t do anything to save the environment, but will yield massive profits.

Anyone accusing you of “repeating Russian talking points” is just saying you criticize the foreign policy of the US and its allies. That is always what they truly mean by that once you really drill down on what they’re saying and why they are saying it. The argument is that because Russia criticizes the foreign policy of the US-centralized empire, you never should. Which is self-evidently extremely moronic.

It’s literally impossible to be an aggressive critic of US foreign policy with a sizeable audience and not be accused of repeating Russian taking points. Literally every single high-profile person who does so gets accused of Kremlin loyalty, without a single, solitary exception.

Those who tell you to “move to Russia” when you criticize the foreign policy of the western empire are the same people pushing for internet censorship and the silencing of unauthorised media and demanding retractions from any western outlet that forgets to parrot the official line.

“Move to Russia!” No, you move to Russia. You’re the one trying to suppress dissent and criticism of the powerful. I’m the one who is living by western values as they were sold to me and demanding normal scrutiny of the most powerful empire of all time. You don’t belong here.

Hello we’re the westerners, we’re awesome because we live in free democracies with a free press where everyone is equal. Also, let’s spend weeks crying over a dead monarch at the urging of the news media because her blood makes her better than normal people.

One of the many consequences of learning about how fucked things are is a growing frustration over wanting things to change while they only get worse. In my experience, which you may of course take or leave, the answer to this dilemma is contained in the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” A more secular version might read, “Make peace with what you can’t change in this moment, bravely make whatever changes can be made in this moment in your surroundings and in yourself, and learn to distinguish between the two.”

You’re only one human in a chaotic, confusing cacophony of eight billion, and there’s very little you can do to single-handedly effect the massive changes our species needs no matter how clever you are. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can do little things to help make this planet a slightly gentler place every day, you can work to spread awareness of what’s true, and you can contribute in your own small way to the expansion of human consciousness (both in yourself and in the world).

Act to whatever reasonable extent you can act, then let go and relax into this beautiful existence. Make peace with what you cannot change in this moment, make what small changes you can, and learn to tell the two apart. The more you learn about our current plight the more necessary it becomes to learn how to do this.

___________________

Thanks for reading Caitlin’s Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Feature image via Pixabay

Leave a Reply