With information from SolidarityEconomy.net
As many of you are aware by now, a massive tsunami measuring about 10 meters (or 33 feet) have hit the island nation of Japan causing wide spread devastation. The death tolls have yet to be completed and are expected to be horrible. But in the midst of this disaster, the profit-driven system capitalism has compounded the situation and made it worse.
Now an 8.8-magnitude earthquake has hit the nation as well.
Like in Thailand, as now, a major cause of death was not just the tsunami. The other major player was the buildings themselves that took lives. Almost all buildings lacked emergency access to rooftops. Greedy real estate developers build homes on drained lagoons and riverbeds, or on loose landfill. The new Sendai Airport was surrounded by water on all sides paralysed.
The disaster made light of major weaknesses in the Japanese critical power infrastructure. Huge flames coming from ruptured gas tanks in Ichihara sent orange fireballs into the sky precautions had been properly carried out.
There is absolutely no doubt that this lack of preparedness was caused by cost/benefit calculations. The profit motive is singularly the greatest suppressor of safety precautions and disaster preparedness. One would think that such infrastructure built in a prone area would be designed for it. I don’t think its even necessary to mention the stupidity of placing a nuclear plant in an earthquake prone area.
An answer to this unmitigated foolishness lies in the social organization of Cuba. In 2005, a category 5 hurricane hit the island with few deaths. There were few deaths because Cuba was prepared for hurricanes. Cuba gave great importance to safety measures and preparedness. Something capitalism simply is not capable of doing.
The government in Japan is attempting to cover up a major threat to the people of not only Japan, but North America and the Pacific. The government has enacted the Article 15 Emergency Law, which silences all media from reporting on events. This is being used to cover up a nuclear threat.
Tepco’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is in an emergency situation as Japan’s Industrial Nuclear Safety Agency has announced that radioactive isotopes cesium and iodine were detected by a monitoring station. Its very likely that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction has started. Overheated uranium rods have made it through and have started nuclear fission.
This has serious implications not only for the people of Japan, but the people of north America. The Pacific jet-stream blows directly towards the US and could begin carrying nuclear airborne particles. This would mean radioactive material would be spreading across the country from California to Wisconsin.
El Nino Variable could cause the particles to move northward into Western Canada and increase the number of American states affected.
The creation of and spreading of the disaster is the direct result of capitalism on energy production. It has been long known that nuclear power is the least safe form of energy available. The only reason it continues to march along is because the alternatives aren’t as profitable for private energy suppliers.
Even thought a majority of Japanese are opposed to nuclear power, it is still rammed down their throats by the ruling class. Despite this opposition dependence upon nuclear power plants for electricity grew from 9% in 1990 to 32% in 2000, despite 4 major nuclear accidents (one at level 5).
Japan has vast untapped reserves of offshore wind energy, the only practical alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuel. Yet the nuclear lobby, coal companies and oil majors have strong-armed the government and industry to stubbornly refuse to invest in advanced and efficient turbine engineering, including magnetic-levitation rotors that eliminate the need for energy-sapping bearings.
It is clear that capitalism has no solution for the energy crisis faced by the world. Ecological destruction culminating in the destruction of the planet is an increasing threat, and all capitalism does it deny it. The only solution is to seize the creation of energy from the ruling class and place it in the democratic control of the masses to be used in a non-destructive way.