…among other things.
Pascual Serrano points out some recent absurdities of the modern capitalistic world.
Pascual Serrano – Pascual Serrano/Rebelión
Often, observing certain curiosities of an economic system can be more eloquent and edifying than listening to the ideological principals that inspire it. I’d like to discuss a few of them now. In our market system, there are two topics with a palliative social function that are exploited more than any other: the environment and solidarity with the disadvantaged. Perhaps the following anecdotes can help us understand the hypocrisy in these topics.
On the past March 10th, the writer Felix de Azúa told El País that he’d read in the daily Tribune de Geneve that during the next four years, Geneva is going to import 300,000 tons of trash from Italy. The reason being that Genevans’ level of awareness about recycling has left three huge incinerators without work. The incinerators operation was begun by a public company in 2001 and have an incinerating capacity of close to 350,000 tons annually. The threat that one of them might close would leave 50 operators without work, for which the solution is to import Italian trash, from the region of Campania, specifically. So trash will be transported across the entire Italian peninsula. Thanks to the ecological consciousness of the Swiss, between 40 and 90 thousand tons of fresh trash per year will travel, first by train from the toe of Italy’s boot to the Swiss border and from there in trucks to Geneva. He also discovered that this is nothing new; for years German trash has been imported for the same reason. So already in the name of environmental protection we have trains and trucks transporting tons of trash over more than a thousand kilometers.
And we continue with the following anecdote from the capitalist model. On March 14th, practically all the media was abuzz with the police forfeiture in Algeciras (Spain) of more than 230,000 articles of counterfeit clothing, with a market price of 200 million euros. By virtue of the struggle against “unfair competition and consumer protection,” all this clothing will be destroyed in what is supposed to be a campaign against counterfeiting and piracy. While charitable NGOs wander the rich countries appealing for solidarity and collecting used clothing for the world’s poor, the police burn the new stuff.
A little further back in time, at the end of the past year, we find another example of energy waste within the policy discussions about the fight against global warming. It has to do with an ice sculpture exhibition that opened in Madrid on November 23 and lasted until January 7. It consisted of a 3,000 square meter tent that had to be kept at 8 degrees below zero (celsius) with blocks of ice as large as 2,000 kilos. 250 tons of ice had to be brought from Belgium in 12 refrigerated trailers. Furthermore, “for several days, enormous water cannons made up to 25,000 kilos of snow so that artists could sculpt their works” which then became water on January 7.
In conclusion, we live in a world that ships trash a thousand kilometers so that it can be burned, and ice another 1500 kilometers so that it can melt, and burn clothing.