Tuesday 14 October 2008

George Monbiot - profiting from the apocalypse

Our thesis is that the idea of the self-regulating market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness.

Karl Polanyi - The Great Transformation, 1944.

Great article from George Monbiot below, it is a tragedy that a man so intelligent can still be wedded the idiotic ideology of the Left and Liberalism.

The problem for George and all Environmentalists is that the one solution they know will work is the one solution they will never accept - NATIONALISM.

For George and the eco-reds their care for the global environment is secondary to their emotional connections to the ideology of liberalism. For George any ideology that could in actual reality through rationalism save the planet, but which conflicts with his emotions, cannot be tolerated.

George likes multi-culturalism in Britain, george has travelled all around the world and has many friends who are non-British, George has many immigrant friends in Britain, George is adored by the left and the liberals, George has enjoyed the benefits of a world without borders as he is rich, white and over priveliged - and George cannot surrender his emtional connections to those things nor those priveliges they bring him and the money he makes from the books, articles and lectures he gives in the capitalist system.

George is in fact a joke. Whilst George makes a career out of peddling books and articles that pontificate about caring for the planet, george has probably one of the largest carbon footprints on the entire planet. Whilst he will never advocate any rational system of ecological nationalism that will work, he will bang on about the problem untul his bank account is a black as the ash of a dead rainforest.

George is in fact a whore, who peddles the the spectre of an ecological apocalypse whilst laying with the same people who are causing the crisis.

The only way set up a system of basic equal per-capita rights linked to an ecological footprint (as an extension of the right to life) in a way that provides a framework that limits economic growth to the same level as sustainable natural resource use is through the mechanism of Nationalism.

Having an open borders policy and unlimited immigration coupled with an ever expanding population, demands for rising standards of life and incomes and ever increasing resource competitions equates to eventual eco-cide.

The only way to create a social system based on the fair and equitable distribution of environmental resources is through nationalism.

A nation can undertake an environmental audit over its entire territory and then distribute such resources to the population of that nation. Having an open door policy on immigration places an infinite demand upon finite national resources.

This is not rocket science - an ever increasing population will consume more resources faster than a shrinking population. Therefore a shrinking population will be able to have a greater share of the resources than an expanding population.

If nations should be awarded access to natural resources based not on the brute chance facts of their geography, but based on how effiiciently they use them to generate social value, then such a system can only be nationalist.

The nation state is the only mechanism which can defend the national environment from international corporations, international migrations of human being, resource overuse and depletion from individual land owners within the nation state and only nations can ensure the just and equitable distribution of wealth and profits made from the national environment to the people of that nation.

At every level the nation state and its systems and structures are the only mechanisms that work to defend the national environment both from outside forces and inside forces that would exploit and destroy the national natural envronment itself.

At the same time the borders that nationalism can erect around the nation state can ensure that imports of products into the nation made with environmentally damaging means, from environmentally prohibited areas, that are protected environmental resources etc etc can be stopped from ntering the markets of the nation state.

A world without borders is a world without governments, a world with out borders and governments would simply mean that goods and products made in environmentally damaging ways can simply move at will around the planet from market place to market place. Just as drugs, sex slaves and ilegal weapons have increased in flow into our nations since the borders of the individual EU nation states were dismantled, the removal of all national borders of the world would ensure that the destruction of the global environment would simply be accelerated.

The EU example shows us that removing the natural impediments to the flow of drugs, guns and people smugglers which were national borders, has meant that the flow of such evils has merely increased into our nations.

A world without borders is a world where only evil flourishes.

Nationalism ensures capitalism is controlled, that international corporations do not devour our national resources, that socialists and liberals do not allow millions of immigrants to enter our nations and act as plagues of locusts to strip away our wealth and environment in name of cheap votes for the labour party and cheap workers for the tories.

We must move our metrics of capital value so that money reflects our ability to produce our own green energy supplies from renewable energy sources as a bare minimum.

The only solution is Nationalism.

Yet George as a whore of the system will never admit this.

Instead he will keep peddling the apocalypse whilst profiting from it.

This stock collapse is petty when compared to the nature crunch

The financial crisis at least affords us an opportunity to now rethink our catastrophic ecological trajectory

George Monbiot The Guardian, Tuesday October 14 2008

This is nothing. Well, nothing by comparison to what's coming. The financial crisis for which we must now pay so heavily prefigures the real collapse, when humanity bumps against its ecological limits.

As we goggle at the fluttering financial figures, a different set of numbers passes us by. On Friday, Pavan Sukhdev, the Deutsche Bank economist leading a European study on ecosystems, reported that we are losing natural capital worth between $2 trillion and $5 trillion every year as a result of deforestation alone. The losses incurred so far by the financial sector amount to between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion. Sukhdev arrived at his figure by estimating the value of the services - such as locking up carbon and providing fresh water - that forests perform, and calculating the cost of either replacing them or living without them. The credit crunch is petty when compared to the nature crunch.

The two crises have the same cause. In both cases, those who exploit the resource have demanded impossible rates of return and invoked debts that can never be repaid. In both cases we denied the likely consequences. I used to believe that collective denial was peculiar to climate change. Now I know that it's the first response to every impending dislocation.

Gordon Brown, for instance, was as much in denial about financial realities as any toxic debt trader. In June last year, during his Mansion House speech, he boasted that 40% of the world's foreign equities are now traded here. The financial sector's success had come about, he said, partly because the government had taken "a risk-based regulatory approach". In the same hall three years before, he pledged that "in budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers". Can anyone, surveying this mess, now doubt the value of the precautionary principle?

Ecology and economy are both derived from the Greek word oikos - a house or dwelling. Our survival depends on the rational management of this home: the space in which life can be sustained. The rules are the same in both cases. If you extract resources at a rate beyond the level of replenishment, your stock will collapse. That's another noun which reminds us of the connection. The Oxford English Dictionary gives 69 definitions of "stock". When it means a fund or store, the word evokes the trunk - or stock - of a tree, "from which the gains are an outgrowth". Collapse occurs when you prune the tree so heavily that it dies. Ecology is the stock from which all wealth grows.

The two crises feed each other. As a result of Iceland's financial collapse, it is now contemplating joining the European Union, which means surrendering its fishing grounds to the common fisheries policy. Already the prime minister, Geir Haarde, has suggested that his countrymen concentrate on exploiting the ocean. The economic disaster will cause an ecological disaster.

Normally it's the other way around. In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond shows how ecological crisis is often the prelude to social catatrosphe. The obvious example is Easter Island, where society disintegrated soon after the population reached its highest historical numbers, the last trees were cut down and the construction of stone monuments peaked. The island chiefs had competed to erect ever bigger statues. These required wood and rope (made from bark) for transport, and extra food for the labourers. As the trees and soils on which the islanders depended disappeared, the population crashed and the survivors turned to cannibalism. Diamond wonders what the Easter islander who cut down the last palm tree might have thought. "Like modern loggers, did he shout 'Jobs, not trees!'? Or: 'Technology will solve our problems, never fear, we'll find a substitute for wood.'? Or: 'We don't have proof that there aren't palms somewhere else on Easter ... your proposed ban on logging is premature and driven by fear-mongering'?".

Ecological collapse, Diamond shows, is as likely to be the result of economic success as of economic failure. The Maya of Central America, for instance, were among the most advanced and successful people of their time. But a combination of population growth, extravagant construction projects and poor land management wiped out between 90% and 99% of the population. The Mayan collapse was accelerated by "the competition among kings and nobles that led to a chronic emphasis on war and erecting monuments rather than on solving underlying problems". (Does any of this sound familiar?) Again, the largest monuments were erected just before the ecosystem crashed. Again, this extravagance was partly responsible for the collapse: trees were used for making plaster with which to decorate their temples. The plaster became thicker and thicker as the kings sought to outdo each other's conspicuous consumption.

Here are some of the reasons why people fail to prevent ecological collapse. Their resources appear at first to be inexhaustible; a long-term trend of depletion is concealed by short-term fluctuations; small numbers of powerful people advance their interests by damaging those of everyone else; short-term profits trump long-term survival. The same, in all cases, can be said of the collapse of financial systems. Is this how human beings are destined to behave? If we cannot act until stocks - of either kind - start sliding towards oblivion, we're knackered.

But one of the benefits of modernity is our ability to spot trends and predict results. If fish in a depleted ecosystem grow by 5% a year and the catch expands by 10% a year, the fishery will collapse. If the global economy keeps growing at 3% a year (or 1,700% a century), it too will hit the wall.

Iam not going to suggest, as some scoundrel who shares a name with me did on these pages last year, that we should welcome a recession. But the financial crisis provides us with an opportunity to rethink this trajectory; an opportunity that is not available during periods of economic success. Governments restructuring their economies should read Herman Daly's book Steady-State Economics.

As usual I haven't left enough space to discuss this, so the details will have to wait for another column. Or you can read the summary published by the Sustainable Development Commission (all references are on my website). But what Daly suggests is that nations which are already rich should replace growth - "more of the same stuff" - with development - "the same amount of better stuff". A steady-state economy has a constant stock of capital that is maintained by a rate of throughput no higher than the ecosystem can absorb. The use of resources is capped and the right to exploit them is auctioned. Poverty is addressed through the redistribution of wealth. The banks can lend only as much money as they possess.

Alternatively, we can persist in the magical thinking whose results have just come crashing home. The financial crisis shows what happens when we try to make the facts fit our desires. Now we must learn to live in the real world.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent effort at making the pathetically supine arch-liberal Monbiot look like the upper class hypocrit he is.

Why doesn't dear old George forego his own wealth and priveleged upbringing and start living as a true eco-warrior?

Yeah, it's nice to pontificate about the world and the eco-crisis, telling us plebs how we should be cutting back and asking for less, whilst you George swan around with your rich chums in swanky clubs and restaurants.

Go take a fucking reality check you middle class twat. When I want a lecture about living within my means and being green I'll ask you for a green lecture you piece of hypocritical carbon footprint.

As Gutless George shows eco-collapse is not a modern phenomenon and all human societies, even the hunter-gatherers, can afflict environmental destruction.

Gutless Geoge also admits that "collective denial" is the "first response to every impending dislocation".

Well, then George, why the fuck do you not admit that national governments and national societies and national economies are the only solution to restraining tyhe greed of corporations? Why do you not recognise that mass immigration is the motor driving the over-population of Britain and the West and the subsequent destruction of their respectiove landscapes, cultures, energy and services?

Get real George - or get out.