We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, December 7, 2012

Forbidden Planet

Click here to access article by George Monbiot from his personal blog.

First thing I noticed was that when this essay was published in the liberal Guardian, they omitted the subtitle--"We cannot restrain climate change without a political fight against plutocracy". 

After the recent climate related disasters, we are now seeing more people and institutions in the mainstream coming out of their secure woodworks to sound the alarm about the impending ominous climate changes that lie in our near future: scientists (see this and this), World Bank, a leading international accounting firm, etc. And, they are beginning to connect the crisis with our economic system--capitalism. Still they hedge by asserting or implying that it is only a certain kind of capitalism. 

In this article the author, a political liberal, targets "neoliberalism". Of course, neoliberalism is only an advanced stage of capitalism which is a developing system that has growth as its central dynamic. One can no more turn back the clock to an earlier stage of capitalism than one can turn back the clock on ourselves when we were younger and much more attractive. 
Neoliberalism, also known as market fundamentalism or laissez-faire economics, purports to liberate the market from political interference. The state, it asserts, should do little but defend the realm, protect private property and remove barriers to business. In practice it looks nothing like this. What neoliberal theorists call shrinking the state looks more like shrinking democracy: reducing the means by which citizens can restrain the power of the elite. What they call “the market” looks more like the interests of corporations and the ultra-rich. Neoliberalism appears to be little more than a justification for plutocracy.
Now I'm wonder how many more decades of climate disasters will have to occur before substantially more people recognize that capitalism is the malignant cancer that we must rid ourselves of. By then it will be too late, if it isn't already.