Exclusive Content: The illogical logic of a linear and infinite world

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The Fordist model predominance may not be the best path for the future of humankind.

By Reinaldo Canto


I don’t mean to be polemic, nor to burn in the hellfire which lies in the depths of eternity, but before inarguable facts I am forced to make a categorical statement which may sound absurd to many:

- The world is round or at least very close to that!

Of course this might sound too obvious to some since the Cartesian finding has been proven for a long time and we have satellites which can deny any other theories and interpretations regarding The Earth’s circumference.

Therefore, why should I be writing these shocking lines which invite nothing but admonishment and criticism? Just to restate the obvious?

Simple enough: if it were all that obvious, how could we explain that Fordist logic, a long production line from raw-material extraction, its processing into products, to its consumption and then a simple and unrealistic disposal, may have worked as though we lived in an infinite and eternal straight line?

That was how the first navigators thought: that as they sailed and faced unknown seas, they would have a flat and continuous world ahead. They feared finding monsters and dragons lurking beyond bottomless precipices.Navigating was always among men’s greatest adventures. But then our first astronomers and scientists came around and dared, through observation and precise calculations, to use solid arguments to prove that we inhabit a beautiful, finite and fragile round planet, indeed!

So, if we have this shape and rely on limited resources from our small sphere, why are we depleting all we have each time faster and more frantically?

Why do we use essential materials to human survival to produce superfluous products at an ever-faster rate and then with the same celerity discard them as useless?

It is impossible to imagine such dynamics lasting much longer. Our limitations are there for those who want to see.

In a recent article I mentioned a report from O Estado do Mundo (from Portuguese, The State of the World) published last year which stated that 50% more natural resources are extracted today than 30 years ago. Around 60 billion tons of resources are ripped off the planet each year.

When some, even before these blatant truisms, still have the guts to say they are necessary actions in order to achieve economic growth, we can propose the following question:

- What “growth” are we referring to after all?

Is it the kind of growth Professor Ladislaw Dowbor, from PUC Sao Paolo frequently refers to? According to him, our growth is based on the cancerous cells logic, namely, growing just because.

New technologies have been responsible for extraordinary changes, deserving of many famous fictionists’ dreams, but in almost all of them, the production model is the same from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Factories evolved in sophistication and speed, but the Fordist logic has always been there, from the Ford T in the 20’s to latest generation tablets and ipods.

The one thing which is crystal clear in this stupid and illogical dynamics is the need for stopping for a few moments and thinking about producing for the sake of producing, growing for the sake of growing, buying for the sake of buying, and so forth.

Perhaps we need a few more philosophical questionings, the kind that brings back the simples questions posed in ancient Greece about the reasons of our own existence. Why are we here? To consume irresponsibly all the best we have on Planet Earth? That will unlikely be the best answer.

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