For me I am concerned about every action and its consequence on the environment and society. However, it cannot be black or white. Political philosophy is very convoluted in terms of our interaction with our precious planet and the people that inhabit it, but it is important to examine the arguments.
“Food might be in your belly, but there’s more to living than just filling it… Where’s the love of your brother? – Bob Marley
There is a strong dichotomy between the philosophies of ecology and liberalism. The perspective that an individual takes in ecology is that they are not really an individual but a piece in this system called the universe. Ecology is logistically very different from liberalism in this sense of consciousness. Rather in liberalism the individual sees themselves at the top of priorities. That means that in a liberalist sense, the relationship between the individual and their surrounding is a bunch of compromises. This deep distinction between the two philosophies is separated by the fact that that an ecologist is not measuring every moment as a loss or gain, but rather that the system moves forward properly. In a liberalist they are measuring that every necessity and demand needs to be met. Capitalism takes components of liberalism and adds incentive for the individual. In capitalism the individual is rewarded through some form of material or monetary gain. In the following paper the structure of liberalism and capitalism will be critiqued by ecology to examine the differences between the philosophies. The understanding of this topic is to better analyze the opposing sides views and how they relate to our current state of the world.
There is no doubt that humans have altered the planet more than any other species. The demands of 7 billion people have propelled humankind to reach to all corners of the worlds with numerous innovations to be able to sustain life. The consequence is that as we progressed into a world that is more concerned with filling bellies and wants then preserving and conserving for our planet. Ecologist ethically and intellectually can articulate the need for humans to work in coordination of the planet instead of against it. Ecologist sees humans as embedded in nature and that everything is connected and related. Newton’s law can be used to describe the interrelation as seen by ecology as it states that every action has its own reaction. Newton’s law strengthens ecology’s point; since there is a relationship among all things then everything has a value. Whatever action is delivered; the effects will resonate through the cables of relationship. Changes will occur and some that cannot be consciously noticed but will still occur.
Liberalist also can use Newton’s law, because it is what allows the calculated behavior of a capitalist. The difference in utility of the law is that knowing that effects will occur makes a liberalist feel vulnerable. The liberalist wants to be in control as an individual. They want to preserve the individual and rise in personal interest. This need to serve the individual emulates itself as disconnect from the world. Human instead believes that their knowledge allows for the right to dictate their needs over the world. Everything around a liberalist has a price and when there is an opportunity, the liberalist exhibits capitalistic nature and exploits any chance. This means that there are going to be winners and losers. Losing in life can mean suffering, but that is the price you pay if you do not put the effort needed to keep winning in capitalism. Competition is putting two entities head to head so that fate will decided what is stronger and better. The nature of competition is exploitive; it finds the weakness and weakens it more until there is no fight like a preying animal. Ironically it seems as though liberalism and capitalism is competing with the world, trying to exploit it for every resource the planet has before it runs out. The fact is that in this era, competition is high because we have calculated what resources are left on this earth. Which drive competition even more and make capitalism pervasive as the only means of survival. No community can function without a sense of capitalism because of scarcity and demand of the earth’s resources and the interaction that it triggered. Maritime technology triggered globalization on this capitalistic nature.
In ecology every action has to be made with a consciousness of the full picture. The liberalist on the other hand is looking only through their eyes for their best interest; their gain, whether justified or not because of necessity means that it is a lost for other. In the morning when a liberalist wakes up in their bed, in their home, on their private property, they are concerned with what is theirs. Private property gives and individual party foundation because it meets concerns that one has. Private party can be utilized as living space and its utility can also be equity. The use of private party can leverage an individual in capitalism. The freedom to be able to obtain private property, multiple private properties, and a business with the private property, protects the individual and gives them power. Liberalism is a response to regimes that did not give individuals the right to protect one self and provide for their needs. Population of communities grew because of knowledge and innovation. Humankind’s ability to adapt to its environment allowed for growth and distribution of population. The demands of nature propelled humankind to find solutions to the unpredictability’s of life on this planet. Innocently we perceive death as an undesirable phenomenon that chases us into survival mode. We rather find ways to adjust to every new member of our species because that is our obligation through love. From this emotion we have manifested a world as far from nature as one could of fathomed. We cannot accept when natural disasters occur because we have become so disconnected with the system. We created an economy that exploits the world and uses monetization to make these transactions. We have put value on the materials we have taken from the soil. Liberalism has made the relationship with nature complex. We view the world as a commodity and set out to claim as much as possible for personal gain.
The love that a human feels can be a bit ambiguous. A word like love is very abstract. There is love for family, friends, significant others, and other people. This love is a definition written by the struggle for survival. The love experienced is complimentary with dependency of others. For survival one must depend on the generosity of another human being. This love has a potential to expand into a form of love known commonly as agape. Ecology in essence is a form of appreciation and acceptance of functioning in the system, the universe. The individual is without judgment because of trust and empathy for humankind and the world. The ecologist is not driven by acquiring private property or materials from earth because they see a negative beneficial cost in exploiting the world of its resources. Ecology is very egalitarian, so the interaction with humankind and earth would be equally distributing land and resources to each individual but only enough to survive comfortably. This would lesson the stress on the earth.
The capitalistic nature of a liberal economy is exploitive and can be used in damaging ways further than hurting just the environment. Governments and companies strive to monopolize public necessities like water, sewage, and food, because people have no choice but to submit to the system. These big players that are taking advantage of their competition abuse capitalism because of greed. An ecologist cannot exist with greed because it contradicts their principles.
Environmentalism is fundamentally built on the distance between humankind and nature. The priority of environment in a capitalistic system is to be a product. The relationship is not based on reciprocity because the earth cannot argue how bad things really suck. So capitalism allows other voices to be heard that are in the interest of building profit. If ecology could be fully introduced into society the changes in capitalism would have to be drastic to the infrastructure of the economy. Consumption and accumulation would philosophically have to be different. Without the free market and competition, essential pieces of capitalism potentially innovation will take a different direction. Instead of feeding the desires of the consumers, innovation will be more concerned with preserving the environment. The ecologist dream would be for a utopian society where we all hold hands, including paws, branches, vines, and tails and sing Kumbayah. It is too painful for a capitalist to exploit those he loves, but greed or necessity could make one do it. The only changes in society that potentially could occur would be drastic responses to the environment. Yet, even that is not enough. Animals have gone extinct due to demands by the economy. Animals are used for their value as food or as a material, their habitats are destroyed for human development and necessity, or because they were a threat. Those habitats are land and water, which the capitalism has converted into money with no consideration on the last effects.
Ecology critiques liberalism and capitalism harshly. The nature of the philosophies is polar opposites because of the fundamental role that each positions humans in relation to the planet. Survival is a harsh reality to humankind and ecology and liberalism are two responses out of many that we have chosen.