Capitalism the great destroyer

IN the letter headlined, ''Return to tribe and family roots'' (South China Morning Post, April 13), Ross Milburn sees a world order based around capitalism as the best system. The evidence would seem to suggest the opposite is the case.

So far, capitalism has only bettered the lives of a minority. Within certain economies, an extended group of ''workers'' has also materially benefited. But with all nations wanting to ''industrialise'' and taking as their model the factories and financial institutions generally found typical in the West's industrial zones, cities, and financial centres, and intending to rely on export markets, trade wars and protectionism have become commonplace.

The agricultural sectors of many countries are facing labour shortages, weak ethnic cultures are being destroyed and standardisation is becoming the norm across the world.

This denies human diversity and undermines healthy bio-diversity.

Under capitalism the family has been wrecked. ''Reversion'' to an ancient form will not help matters.

What is needed is the development of the family, with the inclusion of non-blood related extended family friends.

It needs a heightened sensitivity to one's own human feelings to be able to empathise with another human no matter what his or her caste, tribe, religion and colour might be.

Education is a crucial factor, as the influences in our formative years will shape us in the future.

We have to learn to live with others, despite their vagaries.

It would be fine if passports were merely used as travel documents and not as filters for racial policies. The same goes for visas, which are used to restrict rather than further human opportunities.

It is important that we all look at the biases within us, examine our prejudices and work on them. We should also put pressure on our governments and those in the business community, to be more open and accountable.

People within a community, should get together for street-level talks. Direct human exchange is of fundamental importance, if we are to raise our understanding about how things work in the world and to start trusting each other again.

Capitalism works against these aspirations. It has led to the disintegration of families, societies and countries, because its cardinal rule is ''Look after Number One''.

The future lies in - comprehensive integration using co-operative systems; non-discrimination; no monopolies; using methodologies of active non-violence, and creating an ethos where people treat other people like they themselves would like to be treated.

All these positive things can be brought into our own lives now, wherever we live.

No need to wait for government, or the Big Boss.

So I agree with Ross Milburn that we can start building a better world now, but on humanist terms, not those of capitalism.

TONY HENDERSON Chairman Humanist Association