Businesses pandering to thoughtless consumerism in capitalist countries do indeed reproduce a lot of waste, putrefying the environment and frittering away natural resources. José Martí has a point. This does look like leprosy, at least a bit. Why buy goods just because they are new or in fashion, whereas the old are still perfectly useable?
Here, too, a reasonable balance, a third position, should be found between the two extremes of Cuban conservatism and exaggerated consumerism. The rich countries should use natural resources more economically, whereas the quality and durability of goods should be improved.
Sustainability demands we produce “more with less”, i.e. produce more goods while using up fewer resources, and at the same time recycle and reuse more. On the other hand, liberty demands people should be allowed more choice, more financial resources to spend wisely or foolishly and more private property.
A luxury problem
Solidarism , The Just Third Way, is very conscious of two facts:
1) To lift the masses of people around the world out of poverty a tremendous amount of new goods must be produced in record time, from food to clothing to building materials etc.
2) If this is done in the same wasteful and pollutive manner as is prevalent at present, we will all soon choke.
The luxury of solidarism is that it provides a solution to this twin problem. By restricting the extension of newly created money by way of loan exclusively to green companies at 0%-2% (just enough to cover the risk of default), the two birds of, a) accelerated economic growth and b) sustainability, can be killed with one stone. Money creation by potential banks to promote green growth produced by non-leprotic companies owned or largely owned by the workers is, the “stone of the wise”, so to speak.