Is capitalism or only consumerism the problem ?

Tonight I went to a lecture of feminist contemporary poetry which was the last event of Ecosistem – festival of performative arts.

There were some poets who were condemning capitalism in their poems. I have always found this ironic as they are dressed well and accessorissed, wear make up, have their hair and nails done and so on. Basically their look like the embodiment of capitalism, if not consumerism, unless they were actually wearing all their jewelry at once and that’s all they owned. Still too much for someone declaring themselves against capitalism.

Then I realized that their issue is with consumerism, particularly of food. More than consumerism of food, it’s the overproduction that’s the problem. That is an issue of capitalism. Producing in masses is cheaper that producing only the necessary as it becomes necessary.

The clothing industry is worst, but the poets do not mention it because then they cannot be fashionable to be consistant, and that is not good. I found out from a talk after the reading that some fashion brands like Burberry burn the left over clothes because if they would give them away, then people wouldn’t buy them anymore, they would just wait for next season when the clothes will be removed from sale. Other brands throw them away, but they are ripped so they can no longer be worn.

That is a problem of capitalism. The need for more and more profit. Economic growth or profit growth means more than last year. There is no need for profits or economy to grow each year. It may not even mean something terrible if it goes down one year. Profit still means you gain more then you spent, it doesn’t have to be more than last year.

Economic growth is based on consumption, and we need to consume less. That is the only way to really reduce pollution. Recycling is not helping, not really. Solar panels cannot replace fossil fuels because they would take too much space to produce enough and they can only be placed in certain parts of the world to be effective. They also have a limited life span, and are made of lead which is very harmful to the environment. However, it can be recycled infinitely, like aluminum. The recycling process is polluting, but less then mining. Unfortunately, most things, plastic in particular, cannot be recycled infinitely. It also ends up in the ocean in the end. Apparently there is an island of plastic in the Pacific.

If capitalism says each year economic growth should be over 0.1% from last year, same with profit, that means we need to consume more from one year to the next. Nothing can grow forever, that is stupid.

Economic degrowth is good. Consuming less will lead to that, but things will be better on the long run. The problem is that no business owner, male or female or other, will agree to gain less for a while and stagnate or decrease their fortunes.

Realizing that nothing can grow forever means capitalism will fail. It is probably failing as we speak.

My problem is that there is no balanced, critically considered and inclusive perspective to replace it. I was about to say the education would be a solution, but educate on what?

Could it be that if we just consume less (much less), then businesses will have to rethink their strategies and their view on profit?

What can I consume less:

  • Food – intermitent fasting 16:8
  • Clothes – no more buying socks compulsively, only buy what I need to wear and from local producers
  • Beer 😅
  • Elecrticity ?
  • Water – I do love to watch the water flowing when I shower though 😅
  • Books – except that contemporary poetry does not come in ebooks 😅
  • Plushies – I stopped my monkey collection since 2019
  • Supplies – only buy what I need when I need and make sure it is exactly what I need 😅
  • Gadgets – only replace something when it’s broken – fun fact: everything is made to break at some point. They can be build to last a lifetime, but what will that business do next, right? 🤦🏼‍♀️
  • Car fuel – I do use the bike almost as much as before having a car, I am taking the train/ plane for my next two trips even though last year I went by car

Whatever change comes, it will come from the middle class, not from politicians, nor from the upper (too comfy) or lower class (too busy surviving).


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