The title may sound like an oxymoron but after listening to a debate on Capitalism Vs Socialism recently on YouTube, this is the closet I got to an economic system that could work in the future without destroying the environment for future generations. Although based on my views people call me a Marxist or a Socialist, I never read any books or studied much about any of these things during the course of my education. People may think I am a socialist because I am all for equitable distribution of wealth so everyone on this planet including the numerous living things have a right to decent life. This is simple common sense that I have been awakened to in 2008. I have been a sucker to consumerism but things changed since.
Since Capitalism has definite merits in its column Crony Capitalism has lead to huge concentration of wealth in the top 1%. Although by far Capitalism has brought a lot of people out of poverty compared to other experiments, it has come at a cost. The profits rolling up to the top has externalized the numerous environmental services and degraded the very environment that provides such services. Democratic Socialism could have worked too, but experimentation with Socialism have failed and led to Authoritarian Communism in China and a failed Russian state. Without incentives, innovation could take a beating, but Crony Capitalism has given a free hand to those whose only goal is profiteering without paying heed to the damage they are causing to the environment.
So the governments should play the role of good governance and prevent a free run to the Crony Capitalists and bring in regulations so both development and profits have proper checks and balances. If a product cost 10 to produce and when sold for 20, the profit of 10 is pocketed by the enterprise. Intead if there is a cost of 5 for environmental services, then only 5 should be allowed as profit and the remaining 5 should go back to regenerating and replenishing the natural resources so the environmental services continue to provide such services for future generations.
Soil, Water and Air are the basic elements that need to be prevented from overuse and pollution. Limit fossil emissions, treat waste and avoid unnecessary chemicals in all processes of production and grow trees!!!
While afforestation is only part of the solution, what Juggi Vasudev is trying to do is - invoke consciousness in the policy makers to take stronger actions to protect the rivers and I am with him on this matter 100 percent.
Asking questions and probing for answers is a very constructive process in a healthy society, but creating controversies is the work of useless people.
So I would ask people that if you can't be part of the solution at least don't be a part of the problem. Thanks
My take on the above quote:
I wish for every individual to take global warming and climate change more seriously and take simple steps together to protect the environment we live in.
India will ratify its U.N. climate commitments on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2, 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a public gathering. The PM emphasized that he had chosen the date as Mahatma Gandhi's life was an example of minimum carbon footprint, a reference to the sustainable lifestyle advocated by the father of the nation.
These commitments are to cut the carbon emissions by 33-35 percent by the year 2030. For a country like India that is just beginning to make economic growth its mantra to deal with poverty it is a BIG ask to make good on these commitments. But it is not impossible. For thousands of years people of the sub-continent have lived in harmony with nature. Every festival and every celebration was to honor mother nature and it was not in their ethos to exploit mother nature. A hundred years ago when the world was going gaga over mass production systems, Mahatma Gandhi chose to live a very simple life. He knew then that the high energy industrial lifestyle was not sustainable. It is time we listen and follow the footsteps of the father of the nation.
Application of technology for the betterment of humans is not a bad thing by itself, but it should not come at a cost of destroying the very environment we live in. We need to apply technology in a judicious manner such that it can be in motion for eternity. We need to ask a simple question whether our technology or actions can be repeated for generations to come. If the answer is 'No' then we should refrain from such actions. If the answer is 'Yes' then it is most likely to sustain without destroying the system in which it exists or hitting the limits.
Some of the things highlighted to achieve these commitments are:
Now what do these mean for a common man? The answer lies in our time tested culture and ethos. Anywhere in the world the one thing everyone seeks is lasting happiness and for thousands of years our ancient masters have always been telling us that happiness is a state of our mind. It is the contentment within and not something that can be found in external objects. So, why not we live that in spirit. We should adopt a lifestyle that is need based and not greed based that which is caused in comparison with others. A phone is a communication device and it is a great invention. But making people believe in buying a new phone every so often is PURE EVIL. This is a fundamental fallacy of our current economic growth model. We need to find a way out of this insanity or it will destroy us. We need to create awareness in people and especially the younger generation to think differently.
Do I have solutions for all the problems? Probably not all, but I have some things in motion at the farm. I would be happy to share with interested folks during a visit to the farm.
Is it possible to get a good yield without using chemical fertilizers? Will a shift to organic farming affect our food security? Can we manage insect pests without using chemical pesticides? Will organic cultivation still be profitable for farmers?
These are some of the burning questions I have been trying to answer for a few years now. I can answer some of these questions based on my own experience @GreenAcres but I am still trying to answer all of these questions with a working model. If anyone is interested they are more than welcome to come visit my farm and we can work together to find all the answers.
In the mean time, I have heard a lot about Enabavi and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) and the good work they have been doing. Though I have not visited Enabavi personally, I met people who have visited the village. I will visit the village some time to learn from them. For now I am attaching an article published in the Hindu which talks about the same questions.
Food MythBusters -- Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?
Isn't it ironic that we human beings take food growers for granted knowing very well that the most essential thing for our very own survival is food? Can you imagine a situation where all the food growers have gone on strike and refuse to till the soil to produce food? Scary thought, isn't it? We can't eat our cars, buildings or our money. Can we?
The Governments have sponsored Green Revolutions to achieve food security, which they achieved and in the process a few big corporations have gotten even bigger. But very little is done for the well being of the farmers or to increase their income. With rapid urbanization and rural migration the poor farmer is neglected and left to his/her fate. While it is the farmer who has to deal with all the uncertainties of nature it is the city dweller, whose life is secured. When city dwellers have no issues spending on manufactured goods that are priced high with huge markups making the manufacturers rich, why can't the same thing be applied to farm produce and help the farmer?
We need to do much more to fix our agrarian crisis. It is clear that farmers are caught in a double bind. On the one hand, costs of all inputs, particularly labour and water, are increasing and on the other hand, there are controls on food prices. Our food pricing policy is built on the premise that we are a poor country, so consumers must be protected. But this means farmers—who are also consumers of food—are not paid remunerative prices for their product. And all the big talk about deregulation and ease of doing business never makes it to their fields. They are restrained in where they can sell; prices are artificially “fixed”; and when shortages grow, government rushes to buy from heavily subsidized global farms. This cannot go on.
While it is understood that the inefficiencies in the supply chain and middlemen, who don't add any value, are cutting into the income of the farmers, it is still necessary to price the food appropriately so farmers have better income and a decent living. This issue needs to be addressed immediately and effectively to help a farmer sustain on his/her land and if this means allowing FDI in retail then I am all for it.
Also people need to realize the illusory nature of money. In all the thousands of pages that have been written about the finance industry in the years, little space has been devoted to one fundamental question, ‘Why is the industry so profitable?’ Or perhaps, the relevant question is, ‘Why does it appear so profitable?’
The common sense that suggests that the activity of exchanging bits of paper cannot make profits for everyone may be a clue that much of this profit is illusory: much of the finance sector growth represents not the creation of wealth but the sector’s appropriation of wealth created elsewhere in the economy, mostly for the benefit of some of the people working in the financial sector.
Bottom line people should be willing to pay more for healthy food produced by the toil of farmers.
I am not sure how the government and the bureaucrats function in this great country. Do they even think of the pros and cons of their actions and the decisions they take before they make them into laws? Programs such as Free Power for farmers or the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) have caused more grief to the farmers than good. These popular programs are going to be a big drain on the tax payers’ money and I am not even sure if it is taking the country in the right direction to prosperity. This is not even like the Robin Hood style of robbing the rich to pay for the poor. It is robbing the working middle class to pay for the lazy people.
One may ask how anything free can be bad. Anything given free is probably not very useful to the giver and most likely not very useful to the receiver either. Otherwise wouldn't you think it may have ended up on eBay? The free power supply is so random and so erratic that it is almost impossible to predict when this 7 hours of free power is supplied and in how many installments. I am an IT professional turned farmer now, and I have to face the music. The free power supply is not very useful if it is not provided when it is really needed. It is difficult these days to engage farm workers, and when you do, you have no power supply. Without power there is no water and without water it is difficult to do paddy transplantation or for that matter any farm activity.
Adding to these power woes, the cost of employing farm workers has gone up significantly since the implementation of NREGS. I am not saying that the farm workers should not be paid well. The problem is that the NREGS program is making people lazy. The projects taken up under this program are not goal oriented and the quantity or quality of work is not even measureable. Now, why would someone work hard in the fields when the government is providing guaranteed income without much hard work? How could a nation develop if its elected government is making the countrymen lazy?
Tilling the soil and producing food is hard work. I know it, because I am doing it. I think farmers like teachers, are the least paid in this country, and hence they are fewer and fewer people opting for these professions. In my opinion, farming and teaching are two noble professions that are not taken very seriously. Without farmers we will not have the food to eat and without teachers we probably would still be living in the jungles.
These popular schemes originally designed to abate farmer suicides are probably going to make the farm produce cost dearly to the consumers or cause more farmer suicides because of the increased cost of production and the debt (death) trap the farmers are getting into. I wish it to be the former so there is equitable distribution of the wealth. Why should a software engineer working in an air-conditioned office acquire more wealth than a farmer sweating in the sun? The day when farming becomes a viable profession and when a farmer is looked up with equal importance to that of a white collared professional, the migration of people from rural areas to cities will automatically stop. Both rural and urban areas can peacefully co-exist with mutual respect.
So for the people in power and for the people who are making these decisions, I want the schemes designed to truly help the farmers have a better life and better income. The schemes should provide incentives for the hard working and not the hardly working people.
After months of feeling depressed with the way things are around me, the reckless attitude of people, the growing number of cars, the traffic snarls, the polluted air, the stinking water bodies, the summer heat waves and in general the changing environment that had almost made me averse to new gadgets, I feel I have found some light at the end of the tunnel while searching for answers. Some awakening has happened within me in the last few days during my trip to Srisailam. I have become aware of the fact that not everything is lost. Nature has bestowed on us all the wonderful resources and it is up to us on how best we utilize them, so they last forever.
I feel there is nothing wrong in developing new technologies and gadgets, in the name of economic growth and human welfare, as long as we do so responsibly and give nature its due respect. Everything that is mined from earth's underground should be used judiciously, and after its use, it should either be repurposed or recycled. We all know that resources such as water, air, soil, metals and minerals, though abundant, are still finite in quantity and cannot sustain our present ways and the “Use and Throw” paradigm of the 20th century modern human society. We need to understand that all the natural wealth provided to us is not disposable and we don’t own them. We only have usufruct rights to the planet – to enjoy them while we live on this planet and leave it unaltered and without damaging it.
With better healthcare and better life expectancy the world population is ever increasing. With the increasing demand for energy we should look to the skies to harvest the "almost" unlimited solar energy instead of using up all the non-renewable fossil fuels. One might argue that even fossil fuels are renewable. That argument may very well become true if nature were to have its way, meaning, we humans could all perish at once and turn into fossil fuel, in a million years, to the then surviving life form. I am not sure if that would be humans though. Spilling the guts of our planet is not going to do us any good. It would turn our planet into a humongous garbage bin like the one shown in the movie WALL-E.
Here's a very simple concept. When you have a duck that lays golden eggs, would you nurture it well so you get a golden egg every day, or would you, submitting to greed, kill the duck and end up with your last egg? The answer is obviously nurture. Right?
So then let us nurture the nature so we have this wonderful planet forever. One of the natural solar harvesting process known to us is photosynthesis, so we ought to plant and grow as many trees as possible, while we continue to do research to find a technology that harvests this “almost” unlimited solar energy in an equally efficient and economic way. We all have the responsibility, as the generation that has caused the current problems, to find the solutions and leave the planet in a livable condition for the generations to come. So let’s all collaborate and make a collective effort to find the next major human invention or discovery. A tree like thing that we can manufacture in our factories that which harvests the solar energy.
Ideas, anyone??? How about we use social networking website like Facebook as an enabling technology for this purpose?
While we search for ideas and solutions we should follow the ancient saying which means "You protect the trees and the trees will protect you"
Nature loving environment enthusiast.
-- Venky Talla