hundreds of billions of dollars we'll need to replace, repair and rehabilitate our essential but decaying infrastructure and bolster our ability to adapt, to survive? When you see those on the table be sure to wake me.
Lately I've been wondering if our political-economic yoke, the neoliberal order that reigns supreme in the developed world, a.k.a. the Land of the Great Emitters, has emasculated our political structure, leaving it incapable of effectively responding to this truly existential threat. Have global trading governments tied their own hands? Is market fundamentalism today's mortmain, our "dead hand," whose bevy of corporate powers, rights and privileges have become inalienable? Does the private sector set the limits for action by a blatantly cowed political caste? Is the neoliberal order all gas pedal and no brake, pedal to the metal in an insatiable quest for perpetual exponential growth? These things certainly appear that way to me.
Will this incestuous political corporatism be our undoing? Does the survival of our nation and our society depend on getting out from under neoliberalism and reclaiming our full national sovereignty?
The global order is, of course, global with many common conventions, standards and regulations. This commonality is the basis of these multi-national pacts. Everyone agrees to abide by the same rules and to behave in the similar ways. Goods, services and, above all else, capital are not to be impeded by national whims and interests, not even needs.
Global warming is also global. It's a function of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, the ultimate global commons. Climate change, however, is not nearly as global. It's hardly global at all. Climate change is a matrix of impacts that vary widely, nation to nation, depending on localized factors such as ocean currents, latitude, biological and botanical resources and so on. We can all agree to collective objectives, such as emissions cuts, but each nation's adaptation challenges are unique because they have to be matched to local circumstances and needs.
We are told, again and again, that we are facing the greatest existential threat in the history of human civilization. We are urged to mobilize our resources that we may go onto something akin to the wartime footing we accepted in 1914 and again in 1939. Individuals, communities and societies must adapt and be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, both present and future, sacrifices that are essential to the ultimate objective of returning to peace.
I don't think this sort of mobilization would be countenanced by the neoliberal order, especially in its corporate dimension.
The price of rolling back globalism will be substantial. The cost of leaving it unchecked may be catastrophic. That is the corner into which we have painted ourselves.