QUOTE (benny @ 29th Nov 2011, 08:54pm)
... On the other hand, the indefinite expansion of the consumer society - on which Capitalism depends for its survival - isn't a likely scenario either. Resources are finite, even if aspirations aren't. To bring everyone in the world up to the present living standards of Western society would require more in the way of raw materials and energy resources than we are capable of supplying at the present time. ...
I think you mention a very important point here, benny. One which could provide some alternatives, or at least ameliorate the current situation.
Considering the expansion of the consumer society, as you say, that cannot go in forever. I think we need to consider alternatives which could be better: take the huge computer games industry as an example, one of the current bedrocks of the consumer society. Most people I know express concerns about the amount of time children spend playing computer games, isolated and often immersed in a virtual world of violence and mayhem. These children miss opportunities for socialising which previous generations took for granted, missing chances to develop 'people' skills such negotiation, compromise and resilience, all of which which are essential to their future wellbeing.
So, instead of focusing all the attention on selling the latest computer games, educational and social marketing campaigns could promote the value and excitement of real play in restoring a better balance to children's lives. Then children can hone their social skills while also consuming less finite resources, and improving their health, both mental and physical.
It's just one example, but if similar steps were taken across many fronts, then I think we could see a chance for positive change without having to dismantle the whole capitalist system ... just make it work a bit better.
Just a wee thought on a wet and windy winter night!