Logic of Nature vs. Logic of Capital

(The youthful rambling below is an attempt to clear my mind, and to put a stick in the ground to record my current thinking and life aspiration. It will change, as it should.)

Billions of years of evolution have created enough biological complexity to bring about the homo sapiens. Millions of years of evolution of the homo sapiens led to the rise of complex human societies. Thousands of years of development have generated the material and social condition for the birth of modern capitalism. Hundreds of years of competition among social systems and ideologies have declared capitalism the winner of this round of “natural selection.”

As capitalist systems rapidly reproduce, adapt and spread across the world, the Logic of Capital has become the most dominant force shaping the modern world, both materially and culturally.

Which presents a serious paradox. The Logic of Capital is both Darwinian and anti-Nature. It is Darwinian because it follows the evolutionary principles, like the survival of the fittest, variation and adaptation, and the rapid reproduction and expansion of the winning models. It is anti-Nature because the winners of "capitalist natural selection" are usually the most destructive to the ecosystem. The accumulation of Capital depends to a great extent on the exploitation and devaluation of Nature; Nature has no intrinsic value in a capitalist system. Call it the "Unnatural Selection."

So, Nature has given birth to a monster child “Capital” that is devouring the mother, on a world-historic scale, at a breathtaking speed. Mankind seems to face a choice between ecological or economic destruction.

I think the Logic of Nature and the Logic of Capital are the most important set of relation of our time. I call them “Logic” because Nature and Capital each follows a very distinct, consistent, and often mysterious set of principles. These two sets of Logic reinforce and contradict each other. I believe that if we have a grasp of these two fundamental forces, we could start to understand and untangle the web of challenges we face as a species. I find Darwin and Marx most illuminating in explaining these two sets of Logic.

The overarching theme for the next 20 years of my work is to “create harmony between Nature and Capital.” The first phase would be to work within the capitalist system, finding or creating sweet-spots of Nature-Capital-symbiosis. Such work would mitigate the destructive impact of Capital on Nature, but would not solve the other “externalities” of Capital, like imperial expansion, the need for perpetual growth, or the biased distribution of wealth. So, the second phase of my work would move beyond the capitalist framework, and challenge the assumptions.

The ultimate goal is peace for all sentient beings, for there is no distinction between your peace and mine. 


cathy singer said...

I like what you wrote - and agree with you. Does this mean that Hampshire's Entrepreneur Program will have a focus or commitment on protecting nature/the environment as it teaches and encourages enterprising businesses??

Anonymous said...

In order to have peace and harmony between human beings and nature we need to have a deeper understanding of human nature and purpose of life.
Logic and capital are good tools in humanity's hands, but they by themselves do not guide humanity to change direction in its downward spiral.