Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Jeremy Grantham - "Capitalism Is Killing the Planet"

Billionaire investor, Jeremy Grantham, knows a lot about capitalism, how it works and when it doesn't. He's known for calling the last two major market bubbles. Now he sees a greater danger on the horizon - climate change - and warns that capitalism of the type so beloved to neoliberals, is making that danger utterly ruinous. Capitalism, he warns, is killing the planet.

"Capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems. Mainstream economics largely ignore [them]," Grantham, who co-founded GMO in 1977, said Tuesday in an impassioned speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago. "We deforest the land, we degrade our soils, we pollute and overuse our water and we treat air like an open sewer, and we do it all off the balance sheet."] 
This negligence is due in large part to how short-sighted corporations can be, Grantham said. "Anything that happens to a corporation over 25 years out doesn't exist for them, therefore, as I like to say, grandchildren have no value" to them, he said.
Grantham also pointed out that many of the problems with how capitalists deal with climate change stem from the very nature of corporations. "A corporation's responsibility is to maximize profit, not to spend money and figure out how to save the planet," he said.
It couldn't be plainer that corporate interests conflict with the public interest. Nowhere is this more apparent than in globalized free trade agreements of the type promoted by our prime minister and every one of his predecessors starting with Brian Mulroney and NAFTA.

These insidious pacts all contain the ultimate gift to capital, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, that essentially yields significant elements of national sovereignty to the private sector, that can deter or even prevent government planning for the longterm well being of the public.

Whether Trudeau realizes the trade trap Canada is in is unknown. If he does he shows no sign of it. That he is such a cheerleader for expanded free trade deals suggests he does not.

The evidence mounts that capitalism is killing the planet. The trick is changing course. That will require the sort of leadership Canada hasn't known for many decades.


Toby said...

Frankly, I don't think Chrystia Freeland understands either. Trudeau, Freeland, McKenna, Morneau, Carr, Garneau . . . straight out of Mulroney's playbook.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sadly, you're right, Toby.

Anonymous said...

I remember a cartoon that went around during the time of Free Trade negotiations - Mulroney with his hand on heart, tear on his cheek, standing in front of the American flag. Aislin 85, Montreal Gazette
I've never forgotten it.

Jay Farquharson said...

Funny how these Billionaires only manage to figure out that Unregulated Capitalism kills democracy, meritocracy, social justice and now the Planet,

after they've made a fortune via Unregulated Capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Gee, the establishment is finally beginning to catch up to the insurance industry. Who'd have thunk it?

The ads the industry are running right now in the Maritimes stress storm-proofing the shore line, your home, pushing new construction standards for public and private buildings of all kinds. And by the way, wanna buy flood insurance?

The average dolt oligarch has blinders on all the way. And as for JT and his ISDS love, jammed into CETA by a sobbing Freeland who sweet-talked sceptical Belgians into it at the last moment, you have to groan.

What drives JT so strongly on the matter I can only surmise. Nothing wrong with free trade without odious ISDS provisions. Venture risk should remain as venture risk - countries need not be insurers of foreign capital invested in their sovereign land. But JT sure doesn't get that.


Toby said...

Unfortunately, without the odious ISDS provisions free trade agreements are worthless. The whole point is to tie governmental hands so that they can't interfere with business.