Sunday, November 30, 2014

A caution and a warning...

I recently ran across a link to an article that was presented in The Guardian (a newspaper in London). The article was titled: Business and entrepreneurs seize opportunities in rise of veganism. This piece is essentially all about the growth of interest in various areas of business re the plant based foods notion.

I was made very uneasy by this because while this is a positive in one way, there is something that must be kept in mind. Business/capitalism has the very powerful ability to capture and transform all sorts of things...transforming them by subverting them from their original purpose and intent into vehicles to maximize profit. That's the core purpose of business/capitalism.

Mr. James LaVeck talks about something similar to this sort of thing in a series of videos (and an essay) that can be accessed here. While he's talking about similarities between the anti-slavery movement and veganism, he also spends some time talking about the hijacking and/or the co-opting of the vegan movement.

Any "ethical" movement that believes business (or capitalism) will assist it (except by accident) is in for a rude and sad-making awakening at some point. So keep your eyes open for the processes of subversion and redirecting of purpose.

One thing that rarely gets attention is that capitalism looks at everything through the prism of money/power. This means everything gets evaluated, ultimately, only in those terms. Capitalism has nothing to do with life or with ethics or justice or with the avoidance of exploitation (indeed, business/capitalism is all about exploitation) or much of anything that people genuinely value...yet...we often seem to be oblivious to this.

Veganism is all about avoiding the exploiting of others or harming of others. Business/capitalism is all about profit. They are not the same thing. While I'm not 100% sure of this, I'm pretty much convinced that a vegan world is going to require the end of the kind of thinking and behaving that drives the stuff we now call business/capitalism. A principle goal of "no exploitation or harm" must be the heart of a vegan world...not profit.


Christine said...

Excellent post, so good to hear someone speak out against capitalism which is the main causes of most of the world’s misery, including the suffering of nearly every species on earth. Sadly the capitalist system exploits everything and seems to have the knack of making people think that it is all for their benefit. For example a recent international supermarket has used food banks as a focus for publicity by encouraging customers to spend more helping to “stop people going hungry in their community" by buying and donating food. This store exploits its workers with low wages and zero hour contracts, which is one of the main reasons for the dramatic rise in people using food banks. Most exploitation is the result of people’s greed for more and more profit. Unless we rid ourselves of this system I can never see a vegan world or any kind of world as more and more our environment is destroyed in the cause of profit for the few at the expense of the many.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. As far as I can see, profit is just a word that means taking more out of something than you put into it...and I'm pretty sure that's a recipe for disaster. Obviously it has been so far. The reason "capitalism" has gotten as far as it has is that it always had somewhere new to to go exploit. Well, it's pretty much used up the planet and it's now really really hard to hide the glaring horror of this system.

I remember when the "greed is good" mantra started floating around...I thought it was bizarre then and still do.

Have Gone Vegan said...

Thanks for this post. I agree we have to be so careful when it comes to the marriage of capitalism and veganism. Look at all the small start-ups with vegan products who eventually get bought out by ginormous corporations. Do they get bought because of the ethics of their products? Absolutely not. Profitability is the only thing that matters to them.

No, I think we have to rethink where we're headed. Sure it's nice that vegan products of all kind are participating in the marketplace, but to pretend there's nothing wrong with capitalism in the first place when it's that system that has exploited all beings more than any other, is risky business.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. Risky indeed...time to go back to the drawing board.