The problem with tackling problems associated with our declining environment and the burgeoning global population is that we can’t continue to enrich peoples’ lives in material ways through the conventional means while tackling these problems. While living standards across the developed world have continued to decline over the course of several decades of corporations waging wars on unions and countries importing millions of people with behaviors antithetical to Western society, these reductions aren’t in the right places. Americans continue to be forced to purchase cars and trucks in order to get to work, while the exorbitant prices on education, housing, and healthcare force many less fortunate but otherwise normal people into dangerous situations that can leave them impoverished for life or outright kill them. In this article, when we talk about socializing consumption, we aren’t talking about ways of moralizing the current Capitalistic reducing of our quality of life but instead, we’re looking at ways to minimize the environmental impact we have on the world, while ensuring all of our needs are met. When we look at past efforts to pursue environmentalism, it’s easy to see that the field is rife with corruption and levels of graft that dwarf the largest Ponzi schemes, due to the necessity of the government subsidizing these “Green” industries in order for these companies to continue to operate. What these environmentalist movements conveniently ignore is the unquestionable efficiency of building more nuclear power plants, as well as the fact that it will be trains, not coal-powered electric cars, that cheapens the environmental costs of transportation. Due to the nature of capitalism to try and extract as much profits as it can from short-term “solutions” to long-term problems, the “solutions” that environmentalist groups in capitalist countries push for are just politically convenient money-grabs that seek to do nothing more than just enrich their organizers. In this article, we’ll be talking about socializing consumption and using effective alternatives, designed by proletarians, rather than by PMCs and billionaires, to tackle problems that proletarians face.
The first problem to tackle is the issue of public transportation, as in America, automobile corporations have actively lobbied against the creation of more subways and railroads, forcing us to instead use cars to get around. While automobiles are fine, they’re also much higher in costs per capita and produce far more pollution per capita, while America’s dependence on them puts insurmountable obstacles in the way of people who lack these vehicles. Anyone reading this article, on this website, is already most likely well-versed in car vs. train facts but for the uninitiated, here’s the copy-and-pasted facts from the American Public Transportation Association’s website:
- Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns.
- Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates approximately 50,000 jobs.
- Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
- The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 93% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
- A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90% simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.
- 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.
- Of all riders, 71% are employed and 7% are students.
- More than two-thirds of riders walk to their stop or station.
- Home values were up to 24% higher near public transportation than in other areas. Hotels in cities with direct rail access to airports raise 11% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.
Taking the first and second bullet point into consideration, if we look at the automobile industry, which contributes 3% to the American economy, employs 4.1 million Americans, and resulted in 627 billion dollars between vehicle manufacturing and sales in 2020, comparing that with the statistics we have available on public transportation shows the advantages right away. If all 627 billion dollars involved in the production and sale of automobiles went towards public transportation, public transportation would have a return of 3.135 trillion dollars, public transportation would support and create 31,500,000 jobs, it would allow virtually every American to get to work without relying on other people, and we’d eliminate a huge portion of the carbon footprint on the consumer end. While this is not a policy that can be pursued and implemented overnight, eliminating cars and substituting them for public transportation would not cost us much at all when we look at the very high returns on investment, as well as the increases in safety and environmental impact. Pushing for policies like having rentable bikes located in neighborhoods and near public transportation stations would create a level of convenience and affordability that couldn’t be matched in our current car-dependent country. Hell, we could even have these contraptions below take people back and forth from public transportation stations, picking adults up in the same way that school buses have picked up schoolchildren:
If the case for improving and expanding upon public transportation isn’t cut and clear by this point for you, that’s fine; an anonymous author on a small blog has just given up on you, however. Moving on to things like housing, where rich neoliberals really seem intent on making us live in depersonalized pods with different people inside hostel-like conditions, DMSG rejects that wholeheartedly. As we’ve said in other articles before, our idea on housing revolves around creating neighborhoods in which workers from the same companies and industries live side by side with each other in communities, adding a level of accountability with your neighbors, as well as giving you more things to relate on with your neighbors. Janet from the Homeowners Association is much less likely to give people unnecessary grief when the entire neighborhood knows her boss, while you’re less likely to yell at and harass your husband or wife when he or she hangs out with your boss’s husband or wife, and so on. The idea behind these communities is that, when people are held accountable for their actions in the community, peoples’ behavior becomes automatically more regulated as a result. When it comes to the question of physical housing, we’d advocate for more communal housing, in the sense that small-scale apartment blocks for single people and townhouses for established families would become the norm, allowing for communities to more easily share utilities and conserve on expenses, while allowing people with children to live in larger spaces. In addition to that, just as we advocate for factory kitchens in the workplace, DMSG also advocates for communal kitchens, in which volunteers and stay-at-home mothers can earn part-time incomes by cooking food for the entire community to enjoy. As an organization where 60% of our membership live in rural areas, it is worth noting that for more rural people, living situations would primarily depend on their field of work, so as to enable farmers and other natural resource extractors to make ends meet in areas where income is more dependent on what you’re entitled to land-wise. In these cases, the idea behind housing would be based on both utility, cost-conservation, convenience, and sociability. While this is entirely conjecture, I do believe that if we were to start creating these kinds of communities, we’d start seeing people become much happier, much more incentivized to reproduce, more trusting of and relatable to other people, and more responsible in their social interactions with everyone. As proletarian socialists, our goal is to make a better society for us, and we believe tackling the issue of socialized housing is of huge importance in doing this, in ways like this:
When it comes to things like food production, both the creepy neoliberal and antiquated conservative approaches are dead-wrong. We obviously aren’t going to advocate the utility of eating the bugs here, due to their disturbing appearance and the frighteningly high chance of getting parasites from them, and we aren’t going to advocate the wholesale slaughter of intelligent but domesticated animals like pigs and cows either, due to the ethical implications and the frighteningly high amount of emissions involved in traditional meat production. What DMSG advocates is the use of hydroponic farming, as well as the development and expansion of the lab-grown meats industry, in order to produce foods in safe and controlled zero-emission environments that don’t pose any affordability or ethical problems to people. This isn’t taking into account the fact that we wouldn’t need to inject hormones into lab-grown meat and could control the inputs and outputs via genetic modification, allowing us to control for taste, nutritional density, pollutants, and other factors in ways that we never could ethically do with conventional livestock. When we look at the amount of feed that traditional livestock and even bugs require, before comparing that to the amount of nutrient pastes that lab-grown meats require, there’s an order of magnitude difference due to the differing requirements that comes with the trophic levels seen in the picture below:
The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to food production, there’s a great number of ways in which we can do things more efficiently and that’s the operative word in this article: efficiently. The entire point of this century may be for human society to become more efficient in resource and energy use, as the populations balloon in West-subsidized mudhut countries and the environment begins to change as our production of pollutants only ramps up and accumulates over time. The adaption to a world in which we have to cut costs in order to save the planet, and ourselves, may be harsh for the more stubborn to adapt to but as long as we make things more efficient and equitable in a proletarian sense, where Western workers aren’t shouldering the weight of the rest of the negligent world, only good things can come from moving in this direction. For countries that refuse to implement these policies or simply can’t afford to, they should face international embargoes that put restrictions on their economies and force them back into lower consumption patterns until the material and technological conditions improve to the point that the planet can afford those expenses. In this article, you’ve probably found that the proletarian solutions to these problems are neither costly nor dehumanizing, can be done by almost every country in the world feasibly, and really alienate only the car nerds (apologies, to our member Farmhander) and the strange “trad” terminally online men who have a weird fixation on “traditional” steak (notice how the tradtards never mention venison, fish, or anything else you can hunt for). Industrialization and increasing living standards shouldn’t be seen as a right to be enjoyed by all but as a privilege awarded to those able and willing to work with the rest of the global community to keep the planet going. As an American brought up on conservative and libertarian values, it is interesting to advocate for the very things that I despised in the past, but it is essential if we want to keep our society and climate intact. As collectivists, at the end of the day, we prioritize the health of the society and the planet over an individual’s preferences any day of the week.