The abyss beckons if man continues to plunder the planet in the pursuit of profit. Who says this, Forbes does, and with good reason.
Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.
- Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years (see Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School).
- Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia (see the 2010 assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN).
- Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20% (see U.S. Census).
- The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 (see United Nations’ projections)
Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.
Public corporations are responding to consumer demand and pressure from Wall Street. Professors Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg published Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations last fall, arguing that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world’s resources in ever more creative ways.
“Our book shows how large corporations are able to continue engaging in increasingly environmentally exploitative behaviour by obscuring the link between endless economic growth and worsening environmental destruction,” they wrote.
But pushback is starting to happen not only in the corporate sector but also in the political and public as seen by the "wonderful" presidential campaign of 2016 whereby disgust with the status quo is shaking up the powers at be in ways not even imagined just 6 months ago thought the actions of Trump and Sanders. As for yours truly, it's gratifying Forbes is beginning to see the light. With luck, so will enough others to demand and effect real change before it's too late.