It's worth quoting Engels at some length as he goes into detail about the problem.
But it has already been stated here, correctly, that the big issue is that capitalism needs to grow in order to sustain itself. More than this, there is every incentive for a capitalist to cut corners to maximize immediate profit instead of looking ahead to what will create maximum benefit for everyone in the long term.
This is inescapable and, as most people acknowledge, is now to a point where it is causing active harm to us.
Most solutions offered are to put enough incentives into the system to force capitalists not to think like capitalists.
This hasn't really worked very well, and why should it?
There are also various utopian models that occasionally come up, the most prominent of which being Ecotopia
, which every few years
is dug up and declared
But socialism, real Marxist worldwide socialism, is the only system proposed that could end it. Despite the environmental catastrophes of the Soviet Union and China, an actual (international) socialism would be able to limit a lot of the problems a lot better. If nothing else, it at least acknowledges the issue.
Engels wrote:Classical political economy, the social science of the bourgeoisie, in the main examines only social effects of human actions in the fields of production and exchange that are actually intended. This fully corresponds to the social organisation of which it is the theoretical expression. As individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results must first be taken into account. As long as the individual manufacturer or merchant sells a manufactured or purchased commodity with the usual coveted profit, he is satisfied and does not concern himself with what afterwards becomes of the commodity and its purchasers. The same thing applies to the natural effects of the same actions. What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees – what cared they that the heavy tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock! In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate, the most tangible result; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be quite different, are mostly quite the opposite in character; that the harmony of supply and demand is transformed into the very reverse opposite, as shown by the course of each ten years’ industrial cycle – even Germany has had a little preliminary experience of it in the “crash”; that private ownership based on one’s own labour must of necessity develop into the expropriation of the workers, while all wealth becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of non-workers
Alis Volat Propriis; Tiocfaidh ár lá; Proletarier Aller Länder, Vereinigt Euch!