Naomi Klein: Let's "break every rule in the free-market playbook "


A more recent article by Naomi Klein puts Climate Change into perspective: it forms the imperative to change the capitalist system. I recommend ready the article, which was first published in The Nation, to follow her thoughts.

They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their “free market” belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…. It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”

Despite the righ-wing denialist being totally wrong in their assessment of the science, this view on the consequences „may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists“ who still belief in a greening of the current business model.
However, Naomi goes on to counter the argument that climate policy is effectively communism in disguise, by stating how dirty the USSR was or today’s China still is. But despite her good (rhetoric) intent, she effectively helps to pie up more sentiment agains „them“ (the Chinese). The Chinese-American dichotomy will be central for US-climate politics for years to come. Interestingly, for Europeans it comes down more to a „Europe (without Poland) vs. US+China(+India)“ dichotomy. We all forget how much the red dragon is already doing and despite more potential on their side, we are in no position to judge them bad.
Policy-wise, she seems to argue for a more Keynesian approach:

Traditionally, battles to protect the public sphere are cast as conflicts between irresponsible leftists who want to spend without limit and practical realists who understand that we are living beyond our economic means. But the gravity of the climate crisis cries out for a radically new conception of realism, as well as a very different understanding of limits. Government budget deficits are not nearly as dangerous as the deficits we have created in vital and complex natural systems.

But her overall prescription are the following steps, which also includes a Green New Deal critique (I suspected nothing less from her!), the essential corporation-bashing (I love it!):
1. Reviving and Reinventing the Public Sphere
2. Remembering How to Plan

3. Reining in Corporations

4. Relocalizing Production

5. Ending the Cult of Shopping

6. Taxing the Rich and Filthy

Aside these common progressive prescriptions, there are some interesting facts in the article. See here:

among the segment of the US population that displays the strongest “hierarchical” views, only 11percent rate climate change as a “high risk,” compared with 69 percent of the segment displaying the strongest “egalitarian” views. Yale law professor Dan Kahan, the lead author on this study, attributes this tight correlation between “worldview” and acceptance of climate science to “cultural cognition.” This refers to the process by which all of us—regardless of political leanings—filter new information in ways designed to protect our “preferred vision of the good society.”

Further, she hints the current rift within NGOs:

Far from learning from past mistakes, a powerful faction in the environmental movement is pushing to go even further down the same disastrous road, arguing that the way to win on climate is to make the cause more palatable to conservative values.

She is right in pointing towards the strategic discourse behin much of the right’s fuzz:

In The Shock Doctrine, I explore how the right has systematically used crises—real and trumped up—to push through a brutal ideological agenda designed not to solve the problems that created the crises but rather to enrich elites. As the climate crisis begins to bite, it will be no exception. This is entirely predictable. Finding new ways to privatize the commons and to profit from disaster are what our current system is built to do. The process is already well under way.

 We should be aware of the fact, that this is not just a little discussion about scientific facts and hockey-sticks: it is about shocking our society to either laudable action or neoliberal doom.

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