As Yuval Noah Harari states, there is a crisis in our dominant religious faith; capitalism. Yuval says:
“the main message of capitalism, as a religion as opposed to an economic theory, is that growth is the supreme value of humankind.”
Capitalism is a sort of religion although we don’t see it as that and it competes with other religions. The central commandment of capitalism is that everything should be sacrificed at the altar of growth. Growth is everything because without growth you can’t make more money and the whole purpose of capitalism is to make more money. Capitalism insists that everybody grows together. Of course, it is highly unbalanced and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer but the mantra is that if the rich get richer the poor become better off as well.
The trouble with capitalism is that it means you have got to have more people, more workers and more businesses to make more money. This inevitably leads to much more human activity; it leads to more factories, more roads, more buildings, more pollution, more destruction of nature because economic growth is anti-nature. Economic growth is everything that nature isn’t.
Accordingly, economic growth threatens the planet and it is dawning on us that we don’t have much time to sort the problem out. Humankind is unable to step on the brake to stop economic growth in order to save the ecosystems.
People are discovering that capitalism has its failings and as mentioned one of them is the destruction of the planet and I believe that this has been a factor in the rise of extremists within the Islamic faith because they see an alternative which they believe is better than the failed capitalist religion.
So capitalism inevitably leads to more people and more business and as this destroys nature it inevitably destroys the animals that live within nature and the greatest of these problems is the destruction of the virgin forests. It doesn’t have to be virgin forest, it can be anywhere and any landscape but it is being eroded so the places where the wild cat species live is disappearing.
Capitalism doesn’t only have an indirect impact upon wild cat species, it has a direct impact as well through the destruction for example of the African elephant (100,000 gone in the past 3 years) for its ivory and farmers killing cheetahs in Botswana because they live on their farmland and attack livestock. The increased presence of China in Africa to exploit resources has resulted in more poaching.
The logic that capitalism is the biggest threat to the wild cat species is obvious. Capitalism also threatens the domestic cat because where there are more people there are more irresponsible people who are unable to provide precise and proper care to their domestic cats which inevitably leads to more abandonments, more kittens being born, more unloved cats and more cats in shelters which in turn leads to more cats being euthanized because they are unwanted.
Also where there is more human activity there are more hazards for cats such as more traffic and more toxic chemicals in household products and on lawns etc. There is a greater need to keep cats in which is against their best interests ultimately.
And as capitalism kills more native species the human likes to blame the cat more often for preying on these species such as birds. The human likes to pass the buck.
Capitalism is also present within the world of the purebred, pedigree cat in the form of the cat fancy and it is impossible to really support the breeding of cats and especially the extreme breeding of cats including the creation of new breeds when this business activity is set against the backdrop of too many unwanted domestic cats and millions of stray and feral cats who are homeless.
Bryan Appleyard writing in The Times says that human beings are the worst thing that ever happened to Australia. He says that our ancestors arrived in Australia about 45,000 years ago and on that continent there were giant marsupials. There were 31 stone kangaroos for example. Within a few thousand years, Australia’s giant marsupials were extinct at the hands of humans.
Today human activity in Australia continues to have a negative impact upon the continent’s native species yet the Australian authorities persist in blaming the feral cat despite the obvious fact that Australians themselves created the feral cat so they themselves are indirectly responsible for the predation of native species by this persecuted animal.
Capitalism works against nature and animals in anyway. Animals are to be exploited. Even the invention of dry cat food is a version of how capitalism is not in the best interests of the domestic cat. It was invented by big business for big business.
Note: Yuval Harari is the author of “A Brief History of Humankind published by Harvill Secker.