Economics is simply the use and management of time and energy. That is all humans actually "have". Whether a label of capitalism or communism or any other ism is attached to use of time and energy or not.
What is capitalism's answer to constant economic growth hitting the
limit of the planet's finite resources?
There is no central capitalism committee.
There are different answers for different individuals and institutions.
Some exploit resources until there are none remaining. Whether capitalism or communism is the system used to exploit resource until there are no more is irrelevant.
Before proceeding it is important to note the fact that humans have in fact impacted fish, wildlife and water resources due to their activities.
Unsustainability is not a mythology.
Natural resources do decline based on human activities and can be depleted to the point of no return without human recognition of those facts and the altering of human behaviour and conduct as relates to their usage of the natural resource.
Depletion of natural resources is not exclusive to capitalist systems.
Under a communist system
Restoring life to the Aral Sea's dead zone Source: BBC
The Aral Sea started to shrink in the 1960s when the Soviets diverted
water from the two main rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea to feed
vast new cotton fields.
As cotton production boomed, the Kremlin refused to acknowledge the
problem. Locals had to put labelled sticks in the ground to prove the
shoreline was disappearing.
As the volume of water decreased, the concentration of salt increased,
poisoning everything in the sea.
"Fish stocks went down and in the end all we caught were dead fish.
Now young people have to leave for other countries in search of jobs".
The Aral Sea has shrunk to 10% of its former size - an area of water
as big as Ireland has been lost. But it's not just a way of life that
has been affected.
Under a capitalist system
Chinook Salmon Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency
Chinook salmon populations are down 60% since the Pacific Salmon
Commission began tracking salmon data in 1984.
First foods ceremonies are one way Coast Salish communities celebrate
respect for the earth. In spring, families celebrate the first Chinook
salmon caught with First Salmon ceremonies called Thehitem ("looking
after the fish.") At the end of the ceremonies the bones of the salmon
are returned to the river with a prayer giving thanks to the Creator,
Chíchelh Siyá:m, and the salmon people. This is to show that the
salmon were well-treated and welcome the following year.
Salmon are an iconic species of the Salish Sea. They play a critical
role in supporting and maintaining ecological health, and in the
social fabric of First Nations and tribal culture.
Strong commercial and recreational salmon fisheries also make salmon
an important economic engine for the region.
Chinook (Onchorhychus tshawytscha) are the largest salmon, and are
commonly known as "Kings" or "Tyee" (which means "chief" in Chinook
Just over 485,000 Chinook salmon were reported to be in the Salish Sea
in 2010 (source: Pacific Salmon Commission - see chart below). This is
a 60% reduction in Chinook abundance since the Commission began
tracking salmon data in 1984.
However, there's been a 29% reduction in the number of harvested
salmon and a 30% increase in the number of spawning salmon since 1999
when Puget Sound Chinook were listed as a threatened species under the
U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Why is it important?
Salmon provide food for a variety of wildlife, from bald eagles to
killer whales to grizzly bears. Because salmon die after spawning,
their carcasses also provide abundant food and nutrients to plants and
animals, including tiny aquatic insects and other invertebrates that
in turn provide food for other animals.
During their life cycle, salmon transfer energy and nutrients between
the Pacific Ocean and freshwater and land habitats. Since Chinook are
the largest salmonid, they contribute the largest amount of biomass
(organic matter) per fish to the ecosystem. In fact, in areas that
have experienced dramatic declines in salmon, there is a measurable
deficit of nutrients to help support the ecosystem.
Why is it happening?
The steep decline in Chinook salmon is associated with three main
- Habitat change.
- Harvest rates.
- Hatchery influence.
Five things you can do to help
- Keep streams shaded. Trees and native vegetation along shorelines keep the water cool for fish and help stabilize the banks from
erosion. Help protect these types of areas in your community and watch
for stream restoration projects and opportunities.
- Keep litter and trash out of streams. Trash can pile up on logs, sticks and other debris and block water flow. Summer is the best time
for in-stream cleanup to reduce impacts to key salmon life-cycle
stages which typically occur in spring and fall.
- Help protect natural shorelines, wetlands and floodplains in your community. These habitats are extremely valuable to both salmon and
- Look for sustainably-harvested salmon at your local supermarket or favorite restaurant.
- Get to know your local watershed group and volunteer to get involved.
Additional factors increasingly recognized as contributing to
declining salmon populations include climate change, ocean conditions,
and marine mammal interactions.
Some alter their approach to generating profit based on a wide range of reasons.
Individually, once aware of unsustainable trends, the person can alter their own behaviour to as not to be a contributing factor to unsustainable practices.
Conversely, if an individually has reached the conclusion that there is no such thing as unsustainable trends, they can, too, invest in scarcity, or the current or projected trends for profit.
Would be cautious in attributing unsustainable practices solely to capitalism. China is not, generally, considered a capitalist nation. However, the Chinese people and the Chinese Government are not fools.
China is a major purchaser of U.S. debt instruments. China is involved in major construction projects in Africa and Asia. Neither of those facts are particularly motivated by capitalism alone, the motivations are strategic as well. If profit can be made within the scope of long-term strategic goals and activities, China and the Chinese people will not forgo said profit.
So, I am wondering if how capitalism can deal with this? What if we
reach the limits of the environment and economic growth is no longer
"Who ordered chicken? Chicken is what poor people eat"
The above is an actual quote by a primary guest on a luxury yacht when the chef served them and their guests chicken for a scheduled meal.
This lead to this user fact checking that statement.
It turns out that 52 billion chickens are slaughtered for food each year Every year, around 52 billion chickens are slaughtered globally for meat a figure that will double if consumption in India and China catches up with the west.In 2016, worldwide, chicken production topped 66 billion birds. Humans are slaughtering, processing, and consuming about 2,100 chickens per second
We’re producing a lot of chicken meat: about 110 million tonnes per
year. And we’re producing more and more. In 1966, global production
was 10 million tonnes. In just twelve years, by 1978, we’d managed to
double production. Fourteen years after that, 1992, we managed to
double it again, to 40 million tonnes. We doubled it again to 80
million tonnes by 2008. And we’re on track for another doubling—a
projected 160 million tonnes per year before 2040. By mid-century,
production should exceed 200 million tonnes — 20 times the levels in
The U.N. has urged people to transition to a meat and dairy-free diet, given the projected requirement to feed 9 billion people in 2050, see 2050: A third more mouths to feed.
UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet
Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and
19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which
has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on
Last year the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said that food production would have to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed
the world’s surging population. The panel says that efficiency gains
in agriculture will be overwhelmed by the expected population growth.
The poultry industry is incredibly efficient, able to produce a "50-day chicken", with efficiency expected to increase World poultry production expected to more than double by 2050
Wilkinson said that Cobb has projected that by 2050 a 2 kilogram (4.4
pound) broiler would be marketed at 19 days post-hatch with a feed
conversion ratio below 1.0. In 2050, a laying hen may produce 550 eggs
by 100 weeks of age and have a feed conversion ration approaching 1.0.
The poultry industry has doubled production every 12 years since the 1970's. The poultry industry projects that poultry production will double again by 2050, which is a key year for for a vast range of economic and social forecasts.
Flocking to digital: The future of poultry technology
It is estimated that the world poultry production will increase 120 percent from 2010 to 2050
However, even given the efficiency of the poultry industry, there are still concerns that economic growth relevant to poultry production is unsustainable. The reasons cited are the several, including the necessity to produce grain to feed 50-day chickens, fresh water and land.
Global poultry production: current state and future outlook and challenges
However, poultry represent a threat to human health, especially as a
vector of infectious diseases and because of its role in antimicrobial
resistance. Furthermore, poultry has a significant impact on the
environment and is a large consumer of natural resources. While the
sector is usually seen as efficient in converting natural resources
into edible products, it uses large amounts of land, water and
nutrients for the production of feed materials and contributes to
climate change, mainly through feed production, and air and water
The growth of the poultry industry could also be viewed as a prudent investment in a growth industry
Have not yet been able to determine if only "Chicken is what poor people eat" to the exclusion of non-"poor" people (There Are 36 Million Millionaires in the World and They Own Nearly Half the Planet's Wealth) where non-"poor" would be tentatively defined as total wealth of at least $1 million U.S. dollars. We can clearly define who the "poor" are
Global Wealth Report 2017 Source: Credit Suisse Research Institute
In general terms, throughout the twelve months to mid-2017, we observed a significant increase in wealth across the globe, driven not
only by equity markets, but also by significant increasess in
financial wealth. In total, golabl wealth has grown by USD 16.7
trillion to USD 280 trillion, which corresponds to a rise of 6.4%. We
further saw an increase of 2.3 million US-dollar-millionaires, almost
half of whom reside in the United States.
The global wealth pyramid
The large base of low wealth holders supports higher tiers occupied by progressively fewer adults. We estimate that 3.5 billion
individuals – 70% of all adults in the world – have wealth below USD
10,000 in 2017. A further 1.1 billion adults (21% of the global total)
fall in the USD 10,000–100,000 range. While average wealth is modest
in the base and middle tiers of the pyramid, the total wealth of these
segments amounts to USD 40 trillion, underlining the economic
importance of this often overlooked group. The base of the pyramid The
layers of the wealth pyramid are quite distinctive. The base tier has
the most even distribution across regions and countries (Figure 2),
but also the widest spread of personal circumstances. In developed
Figure 3 Number of dollar millionaires (% of world total) by country,
2017 Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks,
Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2017 Figure 2 Regional membership
of global wealth strata Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and
Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2017
countries, about 30% of adults fall within this category, and for the
majority of these individuals, membership is either transient – due to
business losses or unemployment, for example – or a lifecycle phase
associated with youth or old age. In contrast, more than 90% of the
adult population in India and Africa falls within this range. In some
low-income countries in Africa, the percentage of the population in
this wealth group is close to 100%. For many residents of low-income
countries, life membership of the base tier is the norm rather than
Though there is a report that millionaires prefer Ford vehicles, though not whether rich people do not eat chicken
The data is available. In 2019 an individual cannot blame either capitalism or communism nor any other ism for their decisions. Natural resources will last until they are gone. Simple choices, such as actually looking into your food chain, that is the food that you actually consume, is what you can do. If you find that you are contributing to the depletion of natural resources where individuals or institutions have publicly advised the entire world that such practices are unsustainable, it is your responsibility to change your own behaviour to decrease your own impact on decline and depletion of natural resources.
Conversely, if an individual reaches the conclusion that natural resources are infinite, or that they simply do not care about or doubt reports stating certain human behaviour and activities are "unsustainable", they can invest in industries where growth is projected, ignoring reports which state that the industry practices are unsustainable. Scarcity generally increases the value of a commodity or product. There is profit to be made, right now, be damned with "unsustainability".
Humans possess free will. Humans are responsible for their own actions, not systems; especially where humans are aware of, or should be aware of the impact of their activities.
Whether the individual decides to pursue profit or is concerned about the sustainability of profit making, or both, is an individual choice.