written by Xuefeng on 8th August, 2016
Capitalism has achieved great progress for humanity. Transportation and communication are very convenient and produce is abundant in today’s society. The earth supports seven billion people, mainly as a result of capitalistic development. Without capitalism, today’s civilization could not exist.
Capitalists are the elite of society. They have generated much material wealth for people and resolved unemployment issues for a large number of people. Without capitalists, many more of us would be very poor and suffer underdeveloped and empty lives.
However, the development of capitalism has gradually revealed three major issues that it cannot overcome:
1. The unequal distribution of wealth
2. The over consumption of natural resources
3. The idealized human characteristics of selfishness and greed
As reported by CNS New Work on January 20th, 2015, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world possess 48% of the world’s wealth, the following 19% possess 46%, and the bottom 80% only possess 5.5%.
The unequal distribution of wealth will result in a series of social problems such as:
1. A desire to be wealthy quickly and its resulting illegal activities
2. Hostility against the wealthy
3. Production of counterfeit goods
4. Seizing of resources
5. Illicit drug production and trafficking
6. Jealousy and struggling
7. Stealing, cheating, blackmailing, exploiting, gambling, speculating, and corrupting because of feeling psychologically unbalanced
ALL THESE PROBLEMS CANNOT BE RESOLVED THROUGH CAPITALISTIC PRODUCTION RELATIONS.
The second issue caused by the development of capitalism is the unreasonable and huge consumption of natural resources. Professor Mohan Munasinghe, the Vice Chair of the U.N Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a board member of Green Cross International, said that by 2012, we had overdrawn 50% of the sustainable natural resources of the earth and he predicted that if we continue pursuing our current lifestyles, we would need those of two planets to meet the demand of the total population by 2030.
Not only is the excessive consumption of natural resources unable to support a sustainable future, but it will also lead to a series of natural disasters. The deterioration of the natural environment in recent years is very evident: global warming, drought and drying river beds, floods, hurricanes, thawing permafrost and the disappearing arctic ice cap as ancient glaciers melt and result in a rise of sea level, destruction of biodiversity,and polluted rivers, sea, and soil, to name just a few. Even more severe are the natural disasters which are aggravating, not by a small percentage, but rather at a geometric rate. Due to this climate change, it is possible that within the next fifteen years, many places on earth will become uninhabitable.The number of refugees caused by natural disasters could reach hundreds of millions which could lead to social upheavals, and if that happens, the United Nations and the existing governments will be impotent.
The nature and development of capitalism are based on selfishness and greed. The ultimate purpose of the efforts of almost everyone is to get more resources and wealth for themselves. In order to meet their growing and changing desires, people are working hard, day and night, in order to acquire more wealth and resources, which in turn, aggravates the selfish consciousness and actions. Excessive development and consumption driven by endless desires of human beings are the core drivers that lead to pollution, global warming, destruction of biodiversity, and other natural disasters. Stephen Hawking once predicted that selfishness will lead to the destruction of the human race within 200 years.
Except for the three big conditions of inequitable distribution of wealth, uncontrolled consumption of natural resources, and selfishness and greed, others such as financial turmoil, massive global military spending, fast population growth, huge numbers of civil servants in each country, and large amounts of waste, are problems that cannot be overcome within our current system; Stephen Hawking predicted that the end could come within two hundred years. It is becoming clear however, that if these issues are not resolved soon and if things continue to deteriorate, it could very likely happen within less than one hundred years.