I was listening to a science program the other day on the radio. The host was talking about the five year anniversary of Fukushima, and how, in the last five years, almost nothing has been done regarding the cleanup. For example, the managers of the disaster site have yet to successfully survey the melted cores with robot submarines in order to determine the cooling needs of the site. A second step in a clean-up might be the installation of a closed loop of water for cooling the piles. That hasn’t been done. Some radioactive water has been put in pools, but much radioactive water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean. Surf’s up, dude!
This story represents a colossal failure of our winner-take-all capitalist system. There’s no economic incentive to clean up the mess in Japan. TEPCO is too big to fail. Ultimately, TEPCO internalizes its profits and externalizes its liabilities. The people of Japan (and others in the world) are the ones paying the price for the disaster. Socialism for the super-rich and corporations, rugged-individualism for Joe-regular-guy.
Another, not quite as colossal failure of capitalism: methane was leaking like mad out of the underground storage facilities at Porter Ranch in Southern California. The gas company responsible for the storage facility could have pumped the gas significantly more quickly out of the leaky site … and to gas-powered electricity power plants … by selling the gas at a reduced price. But, instead, the gas company chose to sell the gas at the “going rate”, thus increasing the number of weeks/months the gas was leaking.
These are matters of life and death for people and the environment we all share. And the two major parties are both capitalist parties. I heard someone on the radio hypothesize that, as a president, Bernie Sanders would not destroy capitalism, but rather save it from itself. The commentator went on to compare Bernie Sander as president … with Franklin Roosevelt.
Now that ‘socialism’ is not such a bad word in the U.S. let me say that there are certain things which should not be controlled by capitalists enterprises, the above two references being two of them. Unfortunately, that is what’s happening, incrementally, to our global economy, to the point that the sovereignty of nations is being overridden by trade deals, which are supported by Democrats and Republicans.
I’ll take Bernie over the others, any day, keeping in mind that he said ‘we’ are the revolution.