David Simon, creator of The Wire and other stuff, gave a speech last month at the Sydney, Australia, Festival of Dangerous Ideas. In it, he attacks the actions of American capitalists.
The problem with income inequality in this country isn't capitalism - Simon says he's all for it - but how much rich Americans are such dickholes about acquiring ludicrous amounts of wealth. That dickishness is causing the nation to rot at its core.
"A horror show," Simon calls it. "The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It's a juvenile notion and it's still being argued in my country passionately and we're going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I'm astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?"
This point is one that I literally lose sleep over, as I ponder the futures of my kids and grandkids. The free market, left alone, will basically practice unfettered extraction philosophy until whatever resource is consumed. Then--given the previous rabbit-in-the-hat miracles of technology--the successor extraction candidate will be consumed, because so far there's always been a technological fix. And so on.
Except that the planet has pretty much reached its carrying capacity, and man-made climate change is teetering on the edge of irreversibility. While the capitalists wring their hands about how we can't afford to fix it, our lifeboat is coming ever closer to quietly slipping beneath the waves.
To make you feel even better, from a quick post over at Rising Hegemon:
"The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998." Those are the words of World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Michel Jarraud at the presentation of their latest report.
The WMO report says that, looking at the data from January to September, 2013 will be the seventh warmest year in recorded climate history.
But fortunately we've got just the people you want to handle this kind of problem.
Over 56 percent — 131 members — of the current Republican caucus in the House of Representatives deny the basic tenets of climate science. 65 percent (30 members) of the Senate Republican caucus also deny climate change. What this means is that they have made public statements indicating that they question or reject that climate change is real, is happening, and is caused by human consumption of fossil fuels.