Sunday, August 3, 2008

On the Ideology of Waste

An insightful passage from French journalist Hervé Kempf's eco-socialist book Comment les riches détruisent la planète (How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet):
But we cannot understand the concomitance of the ecological and social crises if we do not analyze how they are two facets of the same disaster. The latter is a result of a system directed by a dominant class which todays has no other recourse than greed, no other ideal than conservatism, no other dream than technology.

This predatory oligarchy is the principal agent of the global crisis.

Directly through the decisions it takes. It seeks to maintain the established order, prioritizes the goal of material growth, the only way according to it to make the subordinate classes accept the injustice of its positions. Hence, material growth increases environmental degradation.

The oligarchy also exercises a powerful indirect influence by virtue of the cultural attraction its mode of consumption exercises on the whole of society, and particularly on the middle classes. In the most wealthy countries as in emerging countries, a large part of consumption responds to a desire for ostentation and distinction. People aspire to elevate themselves in the social ladder, which occurs through an imitation of the consumption of the upper class. The latter therefore diffuse in all of society its ideology of waste.

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