By By Luis González Reyes
The problem arises when our activity does not close the cycles, as nature does, but linearizes them, so that, starting from oil, we end up with a pile of plastics in a landfill. But that's not all, capitalism is characterized by continuous growth, which is exponential over long periods, this means creating entropy (disorder) at full speed.
Living beings are states of matter with low entropy content, that is to say, highly ordered (be careful, not to be confused with uniform or not very diverse) created from high-entropy compounds and generating waste that is also disordered. The result is necessarily (according to the second principle of thermodynamics) a net growth of entropy, that is, of disorder. This problem has been solved by the planet evolving towards closed cycles thanks to the capture of solar energy, resulting in stable ecosystems with low entropy, the only thing compatible with life.
Human economic activity transforms natural resources with high entropy (disordered) into products with low entropy content, generating highly disordered waste and with a net entropy balance in which, necessarily, disorder is generated. The problem arises when our activity does not close the cycles, as nature does, but linearizes them, so that, starting from oil, we end up with a pile of plastics in a landfill. But that's not all, capitalism is characterized by continuous growth, which is exponential over long periods, this means creating entropy (disorder) at full speed.
The solution that neoliberalism gives us for this problem is an intensification of the processes of expansion of markets and economic globalization, where the economy will be able to grow faster and with greater stability (if it does not collapse). In other words, continue with linear cycles, by producing waste exponentially and, for the most part, not reusable; come on, more production of disorder incompatible with life. These processes are being promoted by international economic and financial institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization), big capital and territorial organizations such as the European Union (EU).
The consequences of globalization are a Periphery living in a nightmare with no end in sight, in which violent conflicts proliferate with horrifying degrees of atrocity; a continuous increase in inequalities in the Center, with growing pockets of precariousness, exclusion and violent outbreaks; the subjugation of women to patriarchal values; powerful and unstoppable migratory currents; the increasing loss of freedoms; … And, above all this panorama, looms the specter of the global ecological crisis that we are already experiencing. That is to say, an increasingly entropized world.
And, specifically, what does the EU have to do with environmental degradation?
Political decisions on trade and investment, energy and transport policies, agricultural and spatial planning models, impulses for liberalization and deregulation processes; In short, the economic and social policy of the EU has serious impacts on the environment both locally and globally. The EU is correct in its diagnoses on unsustainability, but continues with the same policies that have created the problem.
Transport and urban planning
An example of the unsustainability of EU policies is that of transport. The construction of the Union is designed to relocate production. This relocation is mainly internal, but notable efforts are also being made abroad, as evidenced by the strong push from the EU to open a new round of negotiations within the WTO, to create a Free Area. Trade in the Mediterranean, progress in the negotiations to create the Transatlantic Partnership with the US, or free trade agreements with Mercosur or Mexico. This is assuming that transport is currently growing above GDP within the Union (reaching the extreme case of transport by air, which is increasing 7.4% annually).
Thus, the EU is committed, under pressure from the ERT, to large transport, people and goods infrastructures (highways and motorways, high-speed trains, superports, airport expansion), but also large energy interconnection networks (gas pipelines, supranational high voltage lines…). Thus the total cost of transport represents more than 10% of the GDP of the EU. Currently the priority objective of the TENs (Trans Europe Networks, the network of communication networks that connect the EU) is to eliminate the existing "bottlenecks" in the Union (the Alps as it passes through Switzerland, the Pyrenees, etc.) and connect Eastern Europe for the next enlargement. All this betting on the road and the high-speed train, which is much more impressive than the conventional train. These large infrastructures, whose impulse was already reflected in the Maastricht Treaty, imply that 1,300 km2 will be buried under asphalt and concrete, urban dispersion will increase and the territory will be further divided, with the threat that this means for biodiversity.
The Single European Sky project for 2004 is nothing more than a harmonization of the regulations on air transport that allows optimizing its use and continuing to allow its constant increase. In addition, it is suggested that "the construction of new airport infrastructures cannot be avoided". Regarding the issue of reducing air and noise pollution caused by air traffic, it is stated that the EU's room for maneuver is limited, as the priority objective is to increase the competitiveness of European companies vis-à-vis the American. The same logic applies to the issue of the tax exemption for kerosene, which is not subject to any tax.
All this produces an increase in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere with the consequent effects on climate change. This highly unsustainable transport model also implies the disarticulation of the territory, since they are conceived to favor the communication of people and goods only between the great poles of economic activity, which is what capital is interested in. Entire areas of the EU are thus abandoned to their fate, which are isolated from a supposed well-being and where, as a witness of other times, only abandoned train stations remain.
The current model pushes the population towards highly urbanized spaces (the EU is the most urbanized region on the globe), making them grow even more and increasing their impact on the natural environment. Cities are great devourers of resources and generators of waste.
In addition, another important consequence of the current transport model is the accident rate, which means that deaths in traffic accidents are the third cause of death among the total population, and the first in people under 20 years of age.
The main problem the Union is currently running into is that it is reaching a point where transport is reaching saturation. Thus, the EU proposes a lower increase in road transport (the one with "fewer" possibilities of increase) than initially expected, it is intended to be "only" 38% (compared to the planned 50%) for goods and 24 % (compared to 43%) for travelers for 2010. The railroad is beginning to be considered, not as an alternative to road transport, but as a way to continue the pace of increased mobility. But, to undertake this impulse to the railroad, a neoliberal model is being proposed once again that passes through the fragmentation and privatization of state companies (it seems that no learning has been derived from the British model). In addition, it will only be conceived for the transport of goods and people over long distances and with highly impactful high-speed lines (they consume almost the same amount as an airplane and have a significant impact on the territory).
Regarding climate change, while the EU reiterates its commitment to meet the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol, at the same time, the European Environment Agency recognizes that the EU will not be able to meet these commitments (already greatly reduced at the Hague summits , Bonn and Marraquesh), since emissions are expected to increase by 6% between 1990 and 2010, instead of cutting the committed 8%. All this thanks to the increase in energy consumption and motorized transport. But in the Spanish State we have the worst, having already increased greenhouse gas emissions by around 30% between 1990 and 1999, compared to the 15% "allowed" by the EU until 2010.
To public opinion, the EU has emerged as the world leader in the fight against climate change. But analyzing the facts more closely it is observed that this is rather the result of other people's omissions than of their own merits. If the position of the EU is analyzed from the point of view of what is necessary, the image of a leader against climate change disappears. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, made up of scientists appointed by governments) pointed out the advisability of limiting global greenhouse gas emissions by 2005 by 20% compared to 1990 values. Towards the middle of the 21st century the emission reduction should be of the order of 50%. If the criterion is accepted that per capita emissions should tend to equalize between the different countries and, taking into account that what was emitted by the EU was well above world average values, it seemed reasonable to expect reductions in 2005 of more than the aforementioned 20%. None of that happened. Before the Kyoto summit, the EU offered to cut its emissions by 15% by 2010. Furthermore, the Union did not make a unilateral commitment to meet its targets. On the contrary, it took advantage of the closure of the US and Japan to, in the signing of the Kyoto protocol, cut their emission cuts to 8%. Also, for the sake of the agreement, it compromised with an increasingly lax interpretation of "flexibility mechanisms" (emissions trading, sinks accounting, clean development mechanisms ...). With regard to post-Kyoto commitments, the EU is once again aiming for moderate objectives, decaffeinated even more the agreement (the reduction of greenhouse gases remains around 1.8% between 1990 and 2010).
Regarding the EU's energy policy, "security of supply" has been one of the priority issues for years. On the other hand, economic development is considered inextricably linked to energy consumption, which is growing within the EU. Consequently, the availability of energy at a low price becomes essential, an objective to be achieved by promoting the competitiveness of the energy sector. Both issues, security of supply and competitiveness, are the pillars of the EU's energy policy. It should not be forgotten that the EU is the second largest consumer of energy in the world and one of the main drivers of low energy prices, an essential requirement for the economy to continue growing. To keep these prices low, one of the measures is the commitment to the creation of a single energy market (as we have recently seen at the Barcelona summit), which seeks to increase competition to lower prices.
This is going to have as a probable consequence an increase in consumption, and an increased tendency for production to lower its costs, that is, it is carried out with less environmental criteria, among other things. There will also be other environmental impacts, for example, single markets for electricity and gas will mean the construction of new distribution networks. High voltage power lines and gas pipelines impose a limitation on the use of the territory, be it for the cultivation of land, rural tourism, urban construction, etc. In addition, they also have an impact on the natural environment, since they are not it is going to interrupt their path because they pass through a protected area or cause the death of endangered species. At this point we must remember the controversial issue of the health effects of power lines. It should also be noted that the extension of the gas pipeline network inevitably implies an increase in methane leakage into the atmosphere, and methane is a greenhouse effect agent twenty times more powerful than CO2.
A precondition for the establishment of the large energy market is the liberalization or withdrawal of state intervention in favor of the entry into play of more economic agents. This, in reality, is about the privatization of energy systems in each country, which will mean that energy supply is no longer considered a public service.
In addition, the commitment to fossil fuels (especially oil and natural gas) continues, leaving renewable energies in a residual place (the poor objective of the EU, which we will see if it is fulfilled, is to reach 12% of energy renewable for 2010). But, in addition, the commitment to renewable energies does not depart from the capitalist logic and, for example, large wind farms are built instead of decentralizing production with small community mills. On this it is important to take into account data such as that the former director general of the Directorate General for the Environment, James Currie, has left to work for BP, and that the new general director, Catherine Day, has worked for years in the Directorate General of Industry. To conclude, the commitment to coal is not completely abandoned, although the EU's own reports recognize its strong contribution to climate change, acid rain or the emission of heavy metals such as mercury. Not surprisingly, along with hydropower, coal is the only source of energy that the EU countries have (except the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, which have oil and gas). And that's not to mention the new pressures coming from within the Commission (with Loyola de Palacio at the helm) in favor of nuclear energy, which now turns out to be superecological in favor of not emitting greenhouse gases.
The EU has been unable even to impose timid eco-taxes on energy products. The Commission has already presented two proposals, in 1992 and 1997, both of which have been put on hold to date due to lack of agreement between the member states. The projects that have been discussed in the EU are not satisfactory, but it is regrettable that the European energy system is not even gently reformed.
Food and biotechnology
Pollution of soils. Water contamination. Biodiversity loss. Biopiracy. Loss of the peoples of their right to food sovereignty. Crazy cows. Chickens with dioxins. Unpopulated fields. Disappearance of the figure of the peasant. Large agro-chemical-pharmaceutical multinationals controlling the agricultural production chain from the first to the last link. This is today the panorama of the global agri-food system and the policy developed by the EU has particularly helped to create it.
EU policy advocates "effective cooperation with other countries and international organizations," among which the WTO, the IMF or the World Bank stand out. But leaving the regulation of food in the hands of these institutions until now has had the serious consequences that we indicated above.
The agricultural policy is carried out according to the large multinationals and against the rural population. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the instrument used for this purpose. The CAP favors concentration and large intensive farms; It is committed to a model that abuses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, implies an unsustainable expense of water resources (in the south), great consumption of plastic (in greenhouses and in packaging) or intensive housing. And since what matters is the market, European agricultural production is dedicated to trade and export, in such a way that the energy expenditure of the current agricultural model (from production to transport) represents another important component of greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse.
In this commitment to productivity, the subsidy policy is overturned on large landowners and in certain regions, forgetting about the rest of the areas. In this way, 80% of agricultural production is carried out on 20% of the lands. For the rest of the regions the EU only reserves emigration, or perhaps flood them with a swamp. These areas, which do not receive any type of protection, are many times the ones with the highest ecological value and in which the decrease in agricultural activity implies a strong deterioration of the landscape.
The only environmental novelty that the current CAP reform introduces is the proposal for the not too distant future of two parallel tracks that coexist in agricultural production: the traditional intensive one from which the vast majority of citizens will feed, and the ecological one and quality for a small elite.
There is also the issue of genetically modified organisms, on which there is a moratorium on making more plantations in the EU (which does not mean that those that already existed have been eliminated). This is not preventing their commercialization, including those with antibiotic resistance genes. But if there are doubts about the environmental and sanitary repercussions of "transgenics" to make a moratorium, why are they still being grown and sold? In addition, the large agribusiness firms are pressing hard for the lifting of said moratorium, pressures to which, once again, the European Commission is being permeable.
Finally, the European Patent Directive allows, through legal tricks, to patent genes, cell lines, animals and plants. Donor consent is not required and the country of origin of the biological material should not be listed. All this favors the theft by multinationals of genetic biodiversity and the ancient knowledge associated with it by the cultures that use it. Furthermore, Community legislation prevents the saving of seeds of patented varieties for successive harvests.
Biodiversity and natural resources
The European Commission itself recognizes that "the loss of biodiversity in Europe has accelerated dramatically in recent decades". However, it does not point out the great responsibility that EU sectoral policies have had in accelerating the process of species extinction, in reducing genetic diversity and in altering natural habitats. Because the economic growth that the states, the EU and international organizations promote is based on the unsustainable exploitation of limited natural resources, with the loss of biodiversity an inevitable consequence.
But against this background the efforts made are ridiculous. To begin with, there is no single quantifiable goal or specific timeframe to meet the EU's biodiversity conservation objectives. The efforts made in recent years to achieve the implementation of the Natura 2000 Network in the Union are not even succeeding, as evidenced by the five years of accumulated delay in the designation of Places of Community Interest (SCIs). Or, what is much more serious, the destruction of many of these places in the time that elapses between their election and their effective protection, mainly due to changes in land use linked to the construction of infrastructures (roads, trains high speed or reservoirs) and to farms.
Waste and public health
The production of waste in the EU continues to increase year after year, despite the incorporation into community regulations since 1991 of the principle of prevention in its generation. The uncontrolled increase in urban, industrial and construction waste is joined by electrical and electronic equipment, whose community regulation leaves much to be desired or does not exist. The Commission still does not define fiscal economic policies that promote the reduction of the amount and toxicity of the waste that is generated, limiting itself to regulating landfill systems and setting minimum recycling targets, which gives money. Pressure from business groups continues to undermine policies to reduce disposable packaging, the use of hazardous substances in industry, as well as the recovery and composting of all organic waste streams. Thus, reuse, and let alone reduction, nothing at all.
Total absurdity is reached when the EU documents affirm that a "dematerialization of the economy" is possible. What will this dematerialization consist of when the consumption of very material products and the production of waste, also very material, do not stop growing?
Despite the fact that European legislation on many aspects of public health protection related to waste has not stopped growing, the risks posed by them either. Thus we live surrounded by a polluted atmosphere, in direct contact with dangerous chemicals, with mountains of garbage that do not stop
A final example of European unsustainability is the National Hydrological Plan (PHN), perfectly framed in the capitalist logic of the EU. The PHN is based on a large transfer of the Ebro, 120 new reservoirs and irreparable damage to 47 Areas of Special Protection of Birds and 82 Places of Community Interest of the Natura 2000 Network. But, above all, it will mean the creation of new and unsustainable irrigation on the Mediterranean coast and a greater explosion of tourism (more urbanization, more roads, more waste, more golf courses, ...).
On the other hand, the Union Water Framework Directive is drawn up taking into account the problems that the water environment has in northern and central Europe, such as pollution. However, it does not take into account only the problems of the south, such as the scarcity of the resource in the channels and the overexploitation of the aquifers.
The European Strategy for Sustainable Development (EEDS)
When limitless economic growth has been questioned, has been ideologically incapacitated and has been stripped of all credibility, other arguments must be sought. Thus, what politicians, companies and organizations intend when using the concept of sustainable development is to take consumerist values, submit them to ecological language, translate them into politically correct jargon and convert them to the capitalist creed. Social reality has imposed new values that capital refuses to accept as valid, but is forced to defend by social pressure. Some governments, administrations and companies have not only domesticated the concept of sustainable development to the point of diluting it, but have gone further by perverting its value, stating that now the environment is the engine of the capitalist machinery. Thus, the large polluting transnationals, the complicit administrations and the governments that defend neoliberal dogma, have become the new champions of green ideas. Awarded the logo of sustainable development ensures today, the conquest of new and succulent markets.
But capitalism is incompatible with sustainable development, because its internal logic is continuous growth in extension (territorially) and in intensity (more and more facets of life) in order to accumulate capital and because it is based on the fact that "damages collateral ", the so-called environmental and social externalities, are paid by others.
The EU established its EEDS at the Gothenburg Summit in June 2001 and reflects the philosophy, objectives and approaches of the Sixth Community Environment Program for the period 2001-2010. This is the EU's contribution to the Rio + 10 Earth Summit, which will take place in September 2002 in Johannesburg. The European Strategy identifies four priority action areas defined by: climate change; threats to public health from mad cows, dioxin-laden chickens, and the build-up of chemicals in the environment; the loss of biodiversity and the overexploitation of natural resources; and the great environmental impact of transportation.
The EU affirms that sustainable development must be complemented by the political commitment established at the Lisbon European Council whose strategic objective was: "to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion "(…)" It is thus recognized that, in the long term, economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection must go hand in hand "(…)" To achieve sustainable development in practice it is necessary that economic growth supports social progress and respects the environment, that social policy sustains economic results and that environmental policy be profitable. " The proposal makes an apology for the opportunities offered by sustainable development, ensuring that a rigorous environmental policy does not have to put a brake on economic growth and even going so far as to affirm that sustainable development policies could increase economic growth by accelerating the pace of innovation. . The document does not give up its commitment to continuous growth, and makes economic growth an indispensable condition for respecting the environment, since it affirms that both social policy and environmental policy must be at the service of economic growth and profitability. In case it was not clear, in case of conflict, environmental criteria are relegated after economic ones, as reflected in the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Free market environmentalism, adopted by the EU, is based on the assignment of property rights to natural resources, including patents on biological resources, up to the privatization of common goods and the transfer of environmental management to organisms. private. There is talk of natural capital and natural resources and the conservation of the environment become forms of investment. Ecological taxes and fees come into play here, where only those who have enough money can pay to continue polluting. Also, how to value monetarily the environmental impact of a high-speed train? How much would future generations be willing to pay for an undisturbed climate? How much should someone who contracts cancer due to radioactivity or electromagnetic emissions be paid? ?
The EU is betting on technology with blind faith. Technology can make processes more efficient, but the immoderate increase in consumption renders these technical advances ineffective. More is produced and consumed, and sometimes it is also deliberately produced worse because shortening the life of goods increases their demand. The EEDS says: "Our long-term prosperity is crucially dependent on advances in knowledge and technological progress. Without these investments, adaptation to sustainable development will have to be achieved rather through changes in our consumption patterns." We are forced to choose between technology or less consumption as if they were two opposing things. And the EU opts for technology. According to the EU, technological innovation will allow us to continue consuming at a rate equal to or greater than the current one.
The EU alludes to the precautionary principle, but it is obviated for nuclear energy, transgenic foods, many chemical additives, emissions from antennas or electricity transmission networks, etc.
The EEDS, to try to get the population to participate in the objective of sustainable development, believes it is necessary to "promote a sense of individual and collective responsibility, which will encourage behavior change." In this way, they try to divert the real responsibilities on who and why the environmental problems have been created and advocate that the solutions lie in the individual decision-making and in the good intentions of the people (which is a process that must also occur) . It should not be forgotten that multinationals are responsible for most environmental disasters: Union Carbide (Bhopal), Exxon (Alaska spill), Boliden (Doñana), Hoffman-Roche (Seveso), Bayer (Rhin); as well as one of the main responsible for our unbridled consumption model. The only thing that transnationals have "committed" to is self-regulation and voluntary codes of conduct (the fox taking care of the henhouse), and there is a tendency to decrease environmental legislation. These processes, far from being effective for environmental protection, are allowing a nice facelift for companies. Un buen exponente de esto serían las petroleras Shell y BP (que ya no es British Petroleum, sino Beyond Petroleum, ¡lo que hay que oír!).
Además, la sostenibilidad es incompatible con las guerras, la resolución violenta de los conflictos y la escalada militar en la que está inmersa la UE. La guerra tiene "efectos colaterales" sobre las personas y el medio ambiente totalmente intolerables. El uso de uranio empobrecido (o no tan empobrecido), las bombas de fragmentación, las minas antipersona son un atentado contra los pueblos y el medio ambiente. La militarización de la sociedad y la producción en masa de armamento de la UE (es el segundo fabricante mundial), están bastante lejos de acercarse a la sostenibilidad.
Además, la EEDS y el Sexto programa comunitario de medio ambiente 2001-2010 no marcan objetivos claros ni plazos para su consecución. Lo cual demuestra bien a las claras que no existe voluntad política para llevarlos a cabo.
Por último, en todo el proceso de elaboración de la EEDS, la UE ha demostrado su falta de sensibilidad hacia la ciudadanía, no habilitando cauces adecuados para su participación y no respetando el Convenio de Aarhus.
De este modo, la Estrategia de la UE, que se sirve de la retórica ecologista, supone únicamente un lavado de imagen, ya que no existe ninguna voluntad real de mantener una relación armónica con el medio. No es factible un desarrollo sostenible cuando se ha creado un Mercado Único, en el cual se ahonda con la entrada en circulación del euro, basado en un consumo y una producción alejados cientos de kilómetros, ya que se incrementan aún más los impactos del transporte y el gasto energético. El desarrollo sostenible es impensable cuando las multinacionales europeas (Repsol-YPF o Endesa, por poner dos ejemplos cercanos) se dedican a esquilmar el medio allende los mares. Tampoco es posible cuando la creación de una isla de riqueza para [email protected], trae como consecuencia un aumento de las desigualdades y, como última expresión de éstas, la guerra. O cuándo la lógica de funcionamiento del sistema económico de la UE, el capitalismo, necesita un crecimiento y una acumulación constantes, que suponen un agotamiento de los recursos y una generación de residuos exponenciales. En definitiva, cuando se sustituyen los ciclos cerrados naturales por ciclos lineales generadores de entropía.
La Presidencia española de la UE, el Consejo europeo de Barcelona y la EEDS
Pero, a pesar de todos los problemas ambientales y de la creciente sensibilidad social por los mismos, entre las prioridades de la Presidencia española de la UE de este semestre ni siquiera figura la de impulsar políticas encaminadas a la puesta en práctica de la EEDS. Según se había acordado en la presidencia belga, el Consejo de Barcelona tendría entre sus prioridades fundamentales el impulsar la puesta en funcionamiento de la EEDS. Sin embargo, las prioridades de dicho Consejo fueron un impulso al Proceso de Lisboa materializado en la creación de un espacio europeo de transportes y comunicaciones, un mercado único y liberalizado de la energía, un mercado único financiero, el "pleno empleo" y la reforma de la educación. Si la EEDS es ya de por si insuficiente para alcanzar la sostenibilidad, el hecho de relegar su puesta en marcha a un tema secundario va a suponer que se sigan agravando los problemas ambientales a los que dice querer hacer frente.
Lo que sí queda claro que se va a impulsar desde la Presidencia española son el crecimiento económico, que se pretende venga unido a la entrada en circulación física del euro, así como la profundización de los procesos liberalizadores y de desregulación ya iniciados en la Cumbre de Lisboa. Es decir, que lo que se va a impulsar es el crecimiento económico puro y duro, dejando las medidas ambientales como algo meramente cosmético. Las políticas neoliberales que se propone impulsar la Presidencia española son las responsables de la emisión creciente de gases de efecto invernadero causantes del cambio climático, del crecimiento exponencial de los residuos, del consumo insostenible de los recursos o de la construcción de infraestructuras enormemente impactantes. Todo ello va unido a la apuesta firme por la ampliación de la UE. Esto va a suponer la creación de un mercado aun más grande que va a llevar consigo, entre otras muchas cosas, un aumento del transporte de mercancías con todos los problemas ambientales que ello supone.
En Barcelona se ha hablado de la creación de un espacio europeo de transportes, es decir, la construcción de más autopistas y autovías, el fomento del transporte por avión con la creación de un Cielo Único Europeo y el de los impactantes trenes de alta velocidad. El impulso al ferrocarril convencional va de la mano de los procesos de saturación de tráfico por carretera comentados anteriormente. ¿Se parece en algo esto a la sostenibilidad?
También se ha impulsado el mercado único de la energía, lo que implicará la construcción de más infraestructuras y, especialmente, el espaldarazo definitivo a las políticas de "aumento de oferta" (es decir incrementar la oferta energética fomentando el aumento del consumo) frente a las de "reducción de la demanda" (que serían las que se acercarían hacia la sostenibilidad).
El impulso a la creación de un mercado financiero único reforzará, aun más, al capital especulativo. Éste es en la actualidad 30 mayor que el capital productivo y es responsable de muchas de las recientes crisis económicas como la indonesa, la rusa o la brasileña. Contra lo que a primera vista pueda parecer, el capital especulativo tiene enormes repercusiones a escala ambiental y social, no en vano las crisis que causa llegan a ser tan materiales que producen el desmantelamiento del tejido productivo (especialmente la producción a pequeña escala local mucho más integrada con el medio) o el incremento de la presión para que los países de la Periferia exploten al máximo sus recursos naturales para obtener divisas. Además, el capital financiero es uno de los principales impulsores de la globalización neoliberal en el planeta, y el que sostiene que un pequeño porcentaje de la población mantenga unas altísimas e insostenibles cotas de consumo, con todas las consecuencias que se han ido señalado anteriormente.
Brevísimos apuntes sobre la sostenibilidad
La sostenibilidad es únicamente factible en un modelo local o regional. Para alcanzar la sostenibilidad, los intercambios comerciales deberían ser lo más cercanos posibles. Serían necesarias economías que satisficieran equitativamente las necesidades humanas sin extraer recursos o desperdiciar desechos que excedan la capacidad de regeneración del medio ambiente, para que las generaciones futuras puedan disfrutar de ellas en la misma medida que las actuales, y para que exista equidad entre las generaciones presentes. También serían necesarias instituciones humanas que garantizasen el crecimiento social, intelectual y espiritual. El consumo actual de los recursos naturales excede ya los límites sostenibles y la tarea principal de la economía debe ser establecer un flujo sostenible de esos recursos y redistribuir el flujo de la riqueza ya existente. Es preciso reformar el sistema de producción, minimizar la dependencia de la extracción de más recursos, o sea, reducir, como primera medida, antes de maximizar la reutilización y el reciclaje. Y, por supuesto, es preciso eliminar las formas no esenciales de consumo avanzando hacia modelos de vida basados en la austeridad. Hay que cuestionar la necesidad social de un producto o servicio antes de generarlo. Y es necesario insistir en la distribución de la riqueza y los recursos, la distribución del tiempo de ocio y de trabajo.
En definitiva de lo que estoy hablando es de terminar con el sistema capitalista y sustituirlo por otro que tenga como cimientos la solidaridad, la libertad, la igualdad y la relación armónica con el medio; mediante ciclos de producción cerrados.
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