“If we want to save our planet earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system”


So says Bolivian President Evo Morales. He was speaking at a UN forum on the global impact of climate change on indigenous peoples. Mr Morales said that capitalism should be scrapped if the planet is to be saved from the effects of climate change.

Bolivia’s left-wing president said unbridled industrial development was responsible for the pillaging of natural resources. But, he said, “some South American presidents who were talking about biofuels but did not understand what they were talking about”.

This is a clear reference to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who says his country has enough land to grow food crops as well as plants to produce biofuels. On Monday, Brazil announced a major joint venture in Ghana to grow sugar cane for bio-ethanol.

“In Ghana we are developing a project that will result in growing 27,000 hectares (of sugar cane) for the production of 150 million litres of ethanol per year that are destined for the Swedish market,” said President Lula, who was in Accra for the occasion.

Peru’s President Garcia said the demand for biofuels was putting world food production under threat. Just over 40% of Peruvians – some 12 million people – live below the poverty line and have been hit hard by the soaring cost of basic foodstuffs.

The global prices of wheat, rice and maize have nearly doubled in the past year, while milk and meat have more than doubled in price in some countries. Food riots earlier this month in Haiti, which is highly reliant on imports of food and fuel, led to the deaths of at least six people, including a UN peacekeeper.

There has also been unrest in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.

This entry was posted in Africa, Biofuels, Brazil, Business, Climate change, Economics, Energy, Food & Agriculture, Politics, Poverty, UN and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to “If we want to save our planet earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system”

  1. mar says:

    I lived in Brazil, long ago, when Lula was the true left-wing candidate, and the one who appeared would never ever win… I respect him in many ways… but I haven’t kept track of politics in Brazil for a long time. I’d like to know: why is he saying this? why does he want to promote biofuels?

    I think if the production of biofuels is causing a food crisis worldwide, then it’s fundamentally morally wrong. Hunger comes first.

  2. Pete Smith says:

    I was going to say that there’s a simple solution, but I won’t. It’s a simple concept, but implementing it will be virtually impossible.
    It’s all energy; food, the fuel for your car, the electricity to run your fridge or TV, the gas to heat your home. Give everyone a capped energy ration, to cover a healthy diet, reasonable transport costs, keeping warm in winter. If you want to eat more, use the car less and walk more. Turn up the hi-fi, turn down the thermostat. Be really frugal, sell some of your ration.
    Food or fuel becomes a consumer decision, rather than one made by the producers.

  3. matt says:

    It’s a good question mar. We supposedly have a Labour government in power here in the UK, but you wouldn’t know it. It puts big business before everything else. It’s so far up it’s own asre it hurts.

    Maybe Lula is driven by a desire to create more wealth for Brazil so as to pull more people out of poverty. Maybe he truely believes Brazil has enough land for both food and biofuel crops, particularly if he thinks chopping down forests is acceptable. I’d say he’s probably misguided in his judgements.

    Pete, I believe the idea of the PCA (Personal Carbon Allowance) scheme fits your idea fairly well, at least in theory. I wonder where they’ve got to on that.

  4. Pete Smith says:

    The PCA doesn’t extend to food consumption as far as I know. I like the idea of rationing very much. It’s amazing how having to make a real choice can concentrate the mind.

  5. the Grit says:

    Hi mar,

    My guess on the Brazil situation is that, since biofuels, ethanol mostly, are in great demand now due to Government interference in oil production, and Brazil has an advantage in their production, due to climate and large amounts of available land from rain forest clearing, they see an advantage and are attempting to capitalize on it. Someone, after all, has to make a profit on our stupidity.

    Hi Pete & matt,

    Wouldn’t it be much simpler, and fairer, to put a cap on reproduction? Really, if everyone goes back to a absolute basic existence, conserving as much as possible while still preserving life, the continued rise in population will quickly bring us right back to where we are as far as lack of energy and food resources are concerned. So, instead of saying that I should cut back on my consumption because someone in India has 10 kids to my one and can’t support them, it would seem much more productive to change the social systems that tell people to breed as fast as possible, rather than mess with the economic systems that we have spent centuries perfecting. I would also point out that, there is nothing to stop you from living like a monk if you so desire. I’m also happy to point out that, the Second Amendment, ultimately, keeps people like you from running my life. I’d also venture a guess that all the breeders in India and China and all the other overpopulated countries have similar feelings. In parting I ask, does the term “Ivory Tower” have any meaning to you?

    the Grit

  6. Pete Smith says:

    As I understand it the Second Amendment is all to do with the right to own and carry firearms, within the context of an obligation to make oneself available to join the militia for national security. Quite what it has to do with what we’re talking about defeats me. However, common sense says that the more people there are, the fewer freedoms you can expect to be allowed.
    As far as population goes, there are too many Americans, Brits, Indians, Chinese, you name ’em. It’s not reduce consumption or reduce population, it’s both.
    Hope this helps 🙂

  7. matt says:

    Yes you’re right Pete about PCA not including food. That would be difficult I imagine.

  8. earthpal says:

    Well Morales does have a point. I know communism is a dirty word these days but if the world was one big commune in the truest sense of the word, I doubt we’d see such massive and unbalanced consumption. Of course it would never work. Humans can’t live with each other without feeling the need to overpower.

    Of course there is a definite link between capitalism and climate change. The climate change deniers are usually the heads of huge corporations and the greed and overconsumption that comes with capitalism is what thwarts any lasting action against climate change.

    Anyway, no doubt there’ll be those who say that Morales real agenda is to end the capitalist system.

  9. matt says:

    Interestingly Cuba is moving slowly towards capitalist treats, giving their people the right this week to own mobiles, DVD players, ownership of more farming land …..

  10. the Grit says:

    Hi Pete,

    Actually, the original reason for the inclusion of the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution was to preserve the right of the people to change the Government regardless of the desires of said politicians. In addition to this, it also recognizes the right of the individual to provide protection to him/her self when the Government fails to do so. To put this in perspective, you have to keep in mind that our founders had just won a long and bloody war with the strongest power in the world at the time and, for decades after that, it was the legal custom, and not at all unusual, for men to fight duels to the death over matters of honor. While I know this was sexist, we, and most other cultures in the world, had yet to achieve enough progressive awareness to grant women the right to shoot/hack/stab each other in the name of honor.

    As to what it has to do with the topic at hand, that, as best I can remember what I was thinking when I first commented, would be to point out that, at least in the US, rationing on any long term scale isn’t going to be viable. While most of our population doesn’t know it, we’re only three or four poor decisions by the Government away from armed rebellion. It’s an even less known fact that said rebellion would succeed. To understand this you have to understand the delicate, at the moment, balance of power we have between the liberal masses in our large urban areas and the smaller number of productive people who live in the rest of the country. In addition, one has to understand that, regardless of all the false press, we are NOT a democracy! We are a republic, and the idea of a hand full of States taking control of the others on the basis of their ability to breed faster is not going to fly without violence. Considering that our overpopulated States can’t feed themselves, any conflict along these lines will be short lived.

    It’s also interesting to note that, without the moderating liberal influence of the urban masses, the Government most likely to form after our next revolution could well be something out of your worst nightmare. Consider, if you would, that the US has a very large and battle hardened Army, in which most of the soldiers are from the less populated States. In addition, we have a very large arsenal of nuclear weapons, and a large variety of means to deliver them. On top of that, we are in the process of implementing a missile defense system, which will protect our homeland against assault from anyone except Russia. On that note, if you don’t think that we could make a deal with Russia to divide up the world, then you should consider drinking more.

    All of which means, something. It could be good, or bad, but something is going to happen soon, one way or the other. As an American, allow me to apologize in advance for what ever we do. Of course, I must point out, that if the rest of the world wasn’t so weak, we wouldn’t be discussing this.

    Hi earthpal,

    Then how do you explain the fact that the worst polluter at the moment is Communist China? For that matter, you might want to take a look at the pollution legacy left by the USSR.

    the Grit

  11. earthpal says:

    Hi Grit.

    China isn’t communist! China abuses the true meaning of communism. China has only recently topped the States as the biggest polluter and it’s funny how this is in conjunction with its growing, ahem, capitalist economy. China may be communist by name but it’s economy is very materialistic and profit-driven.

    China is a capitalist dictatorship of the worst kind. It puts profit before people and is ruled by the wealthy and at the same time, it silences its people and violates their human rights.

  12. matt says:

    Blimey Grit, you have some pretty interesting hypotheses there.

    The larger states may have a sizable liberal voting populous but your government is evil personified and would crush any sign of rebellion. Having said that, they never saw that bomber coming who blew up those government offices (forget which city) so who knows.

    China is now the almighty anyhow so it’s kind of irrelevant what happens to the US these days. Sorry!

  13. suvidha kapoor says:

    hi people
    I only want to say, we all are blaming someone, we are not doing much about it, I will not rely on government for it because they are not the only one doing all this to the environment “nature”. we all are, if you recycle and use ur cars and being environment friendly, that’s very good, but tell ur friends, family, anyone you know, make as many as people aware as possible, tell them its so easy to do because you do it. they will think ‘oh’ if its that easy i will do it, some people say to me oh i can’t be bothered! so I try to explain that if you pay some attention, you can make a difference. if we all put our hands together we can do this, if 10 people out of 100 start doing this, we have won, people will see the difference in their lives and in the environment, i am not saying its going to happen in 1 day or month or a year but it will happen.

  14. Sonia Keyah says:

    “China is a capitalist dictatorship of the worst kind. It puts profit before people and is ruled by the wealthy and at the same time, it silences its people and violates their human rights.”

    yeah, so much more brutal than when Mao ran the place and murdered 50 million citizens in the name of the people.

  15. earthpal says:

    Who said it was more brutal?

    Yes Mao was ruthless but that’s of little comfort to those whose human rights are being violated right now in post-Mao China.

  16. matt says:

    I think we’re all agreed that China’s Communist Party doesn’t particularly have the welfare of it’s own citizens as a high priority. More, it is concerned with its own.

    But this often turns out to be the case in so-called democracies as well. Democratic systems are just a little more subtle in their methods. The unemployment benefit for example was only invented to stop the poor & dispossessed marching on rich neighbourhoods.

  17. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    At least in the US, your explanation of unemployment benefits isn’t correct. Rich neighborhoods are adequately protected by the police, which explains why all our riots since the early 1960s have resulted in the rioters burning their own homes in protest. Unemployment benefits are used as one of several legal ways for our liberals to buy votes with tax dollars. Liberals, I would point out, who use their political positions to make themselves rich, so they can live in the protected upper class neighborhoods.

    You can see a related example of this with our President Elect. While he talks a good game about the virtues of our public education system, and resists any attempts to divert funding from it to allow poor people to attend private schools, once he takes office his children will attend one of the most elite and expensive private schools in the country.

    It’s good to be the King.

    the Grit

  18. matt says:

    Is that the only mud you can sling Grit? Poor showing, especially from you.

    Your mate Bush has made so many mistakes that the Democrats will be in power for two terms; Halliburton & Cheney.

    Ya just have to get used to it, even make peace with it. Better for your health after all.

  19. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    It’s not mud slinging if it’s true. Bush will go down in history as one of our greatest Presidents. The Democrats will screw things up so bad over the next 4 years that they’ll have to change their party name to win an election, assuming we get to keep having elections. Just look at our current economic troubles if you want a preview of things to come.

    the Grit

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