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 Useless defenders of capitalism in OZschwitz debate

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PostSubject: Useless defenders of capitalism in OZschwitz debate   Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:00 am

SYDNEY does not believe capitalism is the only system that can save the planet. Or it did not before last night's IQ2 debate, organised by the St James Ethics Centre.

Before the debate - which featured the Herald's economics editor, Ross Gittins; former lord mayor, Lucy Turnbull; and the essayist Kate Jennings - 41 per cent of the sold-out audience at the City Recital Hall disagreed with the motion, ''Only capitalism can save the planet''. Just over 30 per cent were for it and 28 per cent were undecided.

Afterwards, 47.5 per cent agreed with the motion and 43.2 were against. A little over 11 per cent remained undecided.

The debate boiled down to an argument about the malleability of capitalism: that, as the affirmative team argued, it was the only system malleable enough to adapt to the complexities of saving the planet; or that it was too malleable, as the negative team argued, and as such shortsighted.

''Capitalism is infamous for making messes,'' Ms Jennings said for the negative team. ''And governments, more often than not, rather than lead, run alongside trying to clean up. Big shovel. Elephant.''

Speaking for the affirmative in the Herald-sponsored debate, Gittins acknowledged growth under capitalism in the past 200 years had strained the planet to perilous levels. But he said the only effective means of dealing with this strain was to find ways to put prices on environmental resources.

''The planet is in danger,'' he said. ''And making the appropriate modifications to the market system offers the best chance we have of saving it.''

The other economist in the debate, Steve Keen, argued that might have been true but it was left too late. He said capitalism did not respond to ''wrong way'' signs on the expressway, and instead wove through traffic until it hit something. ''Unfortunately, my feeling is not even capitalism can save the planet.''

But the businessman Geoffrey Cousins - looking at China and Liberia - said only capitalism would allow a conversation about the planet's health.

Ms Turnbull said there was no credible alternative.

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PostSubject: Re: Useless defenders of capitalism in OZschwitz debate   Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:25 pm

I think the initial folly is assuming the planet needs saving.

Yes, I recognize this thread is ancient.
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