Would capitalism become sustainable --- in reagards to the protection of the environment --- if rich people would be able to transfer their minds into others before they die and therefore become immortal?

Rationale: If rich people would be immortal, they would want to save the environment to ensure they would be able to live forever (prerequisite: clean environment), instead of living for the moment, while wasting resources (and not caring about their enterprises wasting resources) and polluting the planet like nowadays.


closed as off-topic by Frostfyre, bowlturner, GrandmasterB, Aify, o.m. Sep 9 '15 at 6:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Frostfyre, bowlturner, GrandmasterB, Aify, o.m.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain your reasoning? Why would this save the environment? $\endgroup$ – Vincent Sep 9 '15 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, MCH. This question seems politically motivated (and politically biased). While there is an aspect to this that is about worldbuilding, I feel this question is not a proper fit for the site as is. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 9 '15 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the welcome :) I think this question is on-topic. By the on-top criteria: - Effects of events or world elements, including technology and magic, on specific aspects of that world's societies, cultures, and environment and How to achieve a specified effect in a defined world, including by the use of technology or magic, while maintaning in-universe consistency $\endgroup$ – MCH Sep 9 '15 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ Please see link $\endgroup$ – MCH Sep 9 '15 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm, I don't see how it's often topic. As I say in my answer, I think the premise is flawed, but the question seems to me to clearly be in the realm of "how would hypothetical change X affect culture and history", which is what I thought this site was all about. $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 9 '15 at 15:47

I'd challenge the premise of the question. Capitalism is more environmentally sustainable than the alternative, socialism. Under capitalism, the land is owned by people, and thus those people have an incentive to take care of it and protect it for themselves and for their children. Under socialism, all the land is owned by the government, and so people have little incentive to take care of and protect any land. If they trash it, they can just move on to someplace else. In practice, which is better maintained: a rich man's estate, or "project" housing? The government may at any given moment be controlled by people who want to protect the land, but they'll have a hard time carrying that out when the people actually living on the land don't care. And at the next election the rich and powerful may get their people in office who will then give them license to ravage the government-owned lands, take whatever they can get, and move on. Also, in practice, corporations routinely have long-term plans that can extend for decades, while governments rarely plan beyond the next election.

But all that said: Sure, if the people who own the land expect to live for a very long time, whether that's by improved medicine, brain transplants, or whatever, it stands to reason that they would take a longer-term view of things. Today a person who owns property has an incentive to take care of it for his own lifetime, and because he usually hopes to leave it to his children and he wants them to enjoy it. Of course some property owners have no children, or are selfish and don't care about their children. For these people, if they themselves will get the benefit rather than their children, that might give them more incentive to think long term.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd challange the premise of this answer. This question is specifically about capitalism and if it could become sustainable by immortal leaders. This question is not about alternatives to capitalism. The presumption of this question is: Capitalism, in it's current state, is not sustainable in regards to the protection of the environment. $\endgroup$ – MCH Sep 9 '15 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MCH Whether or not you agree to Jay's answers premise, how did your question's premise that 'capitalism is not sustainable' develop when at the same time you already give reason why people are interested in sustaining the world (because it serves them)? My point being, you may want to state and explain your questions premise properly so that answers won't mistake it/will be better directed at it. Take it as a bit advise for any future questions as well as it usually helps clarification. $\endgroup$ – vruvre Sep 9 '15 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ how did your question's premise that 'capitalism is not sustainable' develop when at the same time you already give reason why people are interested in sustaining the world (because it serves them)? It's common sense. Nowadays, little people care for the state of the environment of the future (after their death). If they'd be immortal, they'd care for the state the environment is in the future. Question is: if only rich people would be immortal, would it be sufficient to save the environment? $\endgroup$ – MCH Sep 9 '15 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Some questions can only be answered rationally by questioning the premise. If someone asked, "Why do people eat apples when they taste terrible and have no nutritional value?", I suppose one could try to come up with reasons why people would eat such foods, but the real answer is that the premise is flawed. $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 9 '15 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ "little people care for the state of the environment of the future (after their death". I assume you mean "people care little" and not that only short people care. But, (a) Who says? Almost anyone who has children cares about what sort of lives their children will have. And plenty of people without children of their own care about future generations in general. And (b) Even someone who only cares about himself wants the world to be a nice place until the moment of his death. If the nature of pollution was that it caused no problem at all for years and years, and then the instant you died ... $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 9 '15 at 15:41

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