Peak Oil is You

Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)

Page added on April 28, 2019

Bookmark and Share

Crisis capitalism will never survive

Public Policy

As Parisians watched Notre Dame’s spire, engulfed in flames, crash the iconic rooftop, a collective wail rose from the crowd. From Omaha to Rangoon, the gothic church bells and gargoyles, cinematic confidants to Chaney’s and Laughton’s Quasimodos, symbolize permanence. Fortunately, Notre Dame will be rebuilt because westerners, inexplicably soothed by stasis, abhor change, even denying it. Some Americans still grapple with racial diversity and equality of genders. Others won’t accept the fact of anthropogenic climate change, however indisputable the evidence. Half still drink the major party kool-aid, electing partisan, incompetent decision-makers until crises get too big for our control.

About the time of the 2008 stock market crash and Great Recession, historians coined the phrase “fossil capitalism,” debunking the myth that economic growth solved all of our problems. Sustained, often accelerated growth, which had its origins in the 19th century, was less a product of innovation, capitalism and free market trading than fortuitous infusions of fossil fuels into the system. Once humans discovered underground deposits of decomposed carbon-based life forms, compressed over millions of years, they plundered them rapidly. So quickly was oil removed and multi-purposed, growth and worries about depletion went hand-in-hand. What hadn’t been considered, inevitably limiting the boom, was how millions of years of carbon, extracted by photosynthesis from atmospheres passed, was being released again in 150 years, a geologic eye blink.

Whether bullish economies and Western capitalism owe their existence to fossil fuels or not, latest global warming projections suggest climate change will eventually lead to perpetual recession. As Jared Diamond teaches in Collapse, once-thriving societies have either lived or died by protecting or destroying the environment. Whether examining the Mayan and Kymer Empires, Haiti, the Anasazi, or Easter and Pitcairn Islands, what emerges is a fundamental pattern of ecological catastrophe, warning signs the likes of which surround us today. Every degree Celsius of global warming reduces economic growth, on average, by one percentage point. Unless we take dramatic strides to lower greenhouse gas emissions (unlikely given prevailing ignorance), there’s a 51 percent chance climate change reduces global output by 20 percent or more by 2100. Should average temperatures increase by 3.7 degrees, $551 trillion in damages are expected. With America’s South and Midwest bearing the brunt of droughts and inland flooding, U.S. agricultural yields are expected to decline by 40 percent over the same timeframe. Because we’ve aggressively and unwisely developed so much of our coastline, the U.S. is more vulnerable to climate impacts than any other nation but India. Fourteen percent of Miami’s real estate is already forecast to flood by 2045.

Like Puerto Rico’s ongoing, post-Maria trauma this is not a problem at which to throw paper towels. So far, despite greater intensities of wildfires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, the U.S. is only beginning to register impacts of climate change afflicting warmer and poorer regions of the globe, a mere $306 billion in damages in 2017. But more pronounced effects of global warming are inevitable, from economic stagnation to disproportionate suffering of the middle classes and poor, further highlighting disparities and unrest. Whatever the cost of adaptation, from meatless diets to perfectly renewable energy to 500 million carbon-capture facilities worldwide, crisis capitalism (rightly so) will never survive.

Scott Deshefy is two-time Green Party congressional candidate.

15 Comments on "Crisis capitalism will never survive"

  1. Cloggie on Sun, 28th Apr 2019 12:41 pm 

    Whatever the cost of adaptation, from meatless diets to perfectly renewable energy to 500 million carbon-capture facilities worldwide, crisis capitalism (rightly so) will never survive.

    Political ideology, hidden in a portrayal as inevitability.

    What we need instead is a “tamed capitalism”, where the state dictates the rules, not the corporations.

    – decent minimum wage
    – maximum private wealth (say 20 million max, no billionaires who can and do buy democracy)
    – strict environmental regulations
    – carbon tax
    – tax breaks for renewable energy, feed-in tariffs, etc.
    – promoting shared/autonomous driving and discourage private car ownership

  2. Cloggie on Sun, 28th Apr 2019 12:54 pm

    “China is watching Western democracy eat itself”

    “While self-inflicted political turmoil engulfs Western democracies, China’s future global dominance is already on full display”

    CNN has a point for change.

    However, there is nothing the West can do about it, as the “turmoil” is a direct consequence of decades of mass immigration from alien “cultures”. The turmoil will get worse (past the breaking point).

    – China is going to be the #1 country in the 21st century
    – The empire is going to collapse. Economic communism didn’t work in the East, racial communism won’t work in the West.
    – From the remnants of the post-collapse West, a new civilization will emerge, with a radical different value system. You leftie, are not going to like it.

  3. Cloggie on Sun, 28th Apr 2019 3:11 pm 

    Scotland aiming at independence-lite:

    “Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP vote to scrap the pound and bring in new currency for an independent Scotland”

    Most likely candidates:

    1. Euro
    2. Bitcoin (like Sweden did last week)
    3. Scottish coin.

  4. Harquebus on Sun, 28th Apr 2019 5:47 pm 

    The author is concerned about reduced economic growth not knowing that the pursuit of economic growth is what is killing us.
    My pessimism remains totally intact.

  5. makati1 on Sun, 28th Apr 2019 6:45 pm 

    Cloggie, we agree on your above post, r.e. China, the empire’s collapse and the future. Interesting that the article was on CNN.

    I like the headlines: “China is watching Western democracy eat itself”. No only China, but most of the world is watching. Only the “frogs in the pot” don’t notice the change. The rest of us outside do. This is China’s century, barring a major world war which would end civilization.

  6. anon on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 2:50 am 

    ‘carbon capture facilities’
    more techno-fetishism
    jeezus i can look out the window and see my ‘carbon capture facilities’ right now, several of them, theyre called TREES.

  7. Cloggie on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 4:52 am 

    A lot of carbon has been captured this way already:

  8. Cloggie on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 4:53 am 

    Oops, wrong link:

  9. Sissyfuss on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 8:48 am 

    Cloggo, the state has become a corporatocracy with one for all and all for one. “Tamed Capitalism” would be the equivalent of separating conjoined twins that share a single heart. What rises out of the ashes of crisis Capitalism is anybodys guess but I doubt it will have any resemblance to what we have known for the past 200 years.

  10. Gaia on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 11:19 am 

    There is an old Native American proverb: “Only after the last fish has been caught, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last tree has been cut down, only then you will find out that money cannot be eaten”

  11. Cloggie on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 12:09 pm 

    The danger of a last-minute Remain via 2nd referendum has been averted, soft-Brexiteer, British isolationist and anti-US Corbyn has consolidated his power in Labour:

    “Corbyn wins Labour Brexit fight: Second referendum will now only be a last resort after party’s ruling body agrees new policy and leader defeats Tom Watson”

    Chances May-deal will happen have increased.

  12. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 12:16 pm 

    1803 — US: Louisiana is purchased from France, at four cents per acre. Way serious financial loss to the US over the past couple centuries.

  13. Cloggie on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 12:18 pm 

    Siemens probably will get most of the 14B power station deal in Iraq, GE will get the lesser part:

  14. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 12:30 pm 

    1950 — China: Marriage law enacted authorizing divorce & forbidding the sale of children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *