Today the thought popped into my head that ALL cyclist should be inherently anti-capitalist. From your merchant banker to your factory worker if they are a cyclist it is in their interests to end capitalism. Here is why.
Firstly capitalism has a fetish for speed. Capitalism wants towards the highest level of productivity, the greatest output in the shortest time. The old adage ‘time is money’. This extends to travel, to what is seen as dead time. The quicker you can get labour, inputs to the production process or finished goods from one place to another the better. We have internalised this, set it deep within our psyche. We want to get to places quickly, we are impatient when things are perceived as slow. In addition time spent traveling is seen as ‘wasted’ time. So much so that we often try to multi-task such as using a mobile phone (maybe hands free) when driving.
Secondly capitalism is based on the concept that growth is good. An ever onward movement towards expansion. Towards things being bigger. However bigger companies, selling more goods need more inputs to their processes and create more goods to be sent to markets or consumers. This necessitates either more journeys or bigger vehicles to carry those inputs/goods. More trucks, bigger trucks.
Thirdly capitalism insists that we participate in a market and these days this tends to be a geographically dispersed part of the global market. Capitalism sees no issue in raw materials, goods, labour and even consumers traveling long distances. Especially when such as with labour those costs are hidden from the balance sheet. So again we have more journeys, longer journeys and journeys that suddenly aren’t possible by other modes of transport beyond personal motorcars and road haulage.
So what does this lead to? Capitalism gives us distracted drivers trying to multitask. Impatient and speeding drivers trying to reach their destination as quickly as possible. It gives us larger vehicles, sometimes on larger roads but often on roads not designed with large vehicles in mind. It leads to increased journeys by motorised transport and because it encourages longer journeys less journeys by bicycle or foot. In places this volume of traffic leads to congestion slowing journey speeds, but then the knock on effect is more impatience and more speeding to make up that lost time.
Cycling is safe but not when drivers are speeding, distracted, impatient. Not when vehicles are too large on a road network that isn’t designed to cope with that size of vehicle. Cycling is safe when there are more cyclists and less cars.
So ALL cyclists should be anti-capitalist because a world without capitalism is a world where cycling is safer and more enjoyable.