If we don’t get rid of it, capitalism is going to destroy society. It’s a system geared around delivering ever-increasing profits to big business, and enriching the sociopathic corporate elite that runs the economy. To do that, it needs constant economic growth. To fuel that growth, it needs fossil fuels and never-ending consumerism – and in one mad, 150-year binge after 200,000 years of relative human sobriety, it’s brought the ecosystem that supports us to the brink of catastrophic breakdown.
But we’re not doing anything about it. That’s despite melting icecaps, acidifying oceans, soaring temperatures, the loss of half the planet’s wildlife in the past forty years, and the loss of a third of its farmable land in the last thirty. Continue reading
This month: we wrote something outlining what for the moment we’re calling Modern Socialism, an attempt at a non-dogmatic, ecologically-sound twenty-first century redefinition of radical Left politics. It’s really what this blog was started for, and it only took us four years to finally get round to it. And that’s about it, because we spent most of February helping someone recover from major heart surgery, so here’s a list of fairly recent posts for you to peruse instead.
Fantasy fascism: how to enjoy action films, despite the politics
Podemos and pragmatic radicalism
Bemolutionary Mix-Tape 2014
Doing It For The Kids: The environment, the future, and whether they have one
The NHS in ‘The Apprentice’ society
That said, given that it’s been such a glorious month for British democracy, we still found the time for an extra-specially long Bem Bulletin to celebrate.
Music: Jimmy Witherspoon & Robben Ford; Paco de Lucia (on the first anniversary of his death) with John McLaughlin
In this month’s Bem Bulletin:
- Tax Avoidance for Everyone
- Peter Oborne and the Corporate Media
- Cash for Access
- Taking Liberties
- I Married ISIS
Chinese workers making iPhones – in 2010, 14 committed suicide, having worked in conditions that investigating Chinese academics likened to those in labour camps. In 2013, journalists found iPhones being made by employees working 12-hour shifts standing up, given just a single 30-minute break
It bends in your pocket, takes chunks out of your hair and, on the side, is a neat emblem for a lot that’s wrong with our economic system, and our way of life – it’s the iPhone.
Last month, American tech giant Apple released the iPhone 6, the latest device in its flabbergastingly successful line of smartphones. In cities around the world, gadget devotees queued outside Apple stores for days in advance, hoping to be among the first to bag themselves one of the £539 handsets. Media outlets reported a lucrative trade developing in prime spots near the front, with one eager beaver in New York selling his place in the line for £1,500. At Apple’s flagship shop in Regent Street, London, tents began to appear with about a week to go until launch day. In a Parisian shopping centre, customers fought over one of the few remaining units in stock and had to be restrained by police.
In healthy societies, these people would probably be sectioned. As it stands, they’re just particularly extreme examples of the consumer mania that grips whole populations and, as such, are just treated like kooky oddballs good for a chuckle on the six o’clock news. Continue reading
The City of London
A shameless, propagandising character assassination on everyone’s favourite wrenchingly unjust set of socioeconomic arrangements.
There’s nothing remotely original left to say about capitalism – or, for that matter, the ecological catastrophe it’s causing in its current neoliberal, hyper-consumerist form.
Our whole way of life, in the Westernised world at least, is geared around constantly increasing the production and consumption of goods and services that we don’t need. Prevailing economic logic holds that to be ‘healthy’, an economy has to grow about 3% each year. That can’t be achieved by just satisfying real human needs – so instead, society has to create new, artificial needs. Continue reading