Thursday, December 27, 2018

Lots of Words But Where Are the Deeds? Could Our Hands be Tied?

One thing conspicuously absent in the realm of climate change is meaningful action. Not gestural measures, there are plenty enough of those. Meaningful measures that reflect both the magnitude and the urgency of this global predicament.  Measures that will, at a minimum, slash global carbon emissions by half by 2030. And what about the 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.


Anonymous said...

There is nothing stopping governments from creating national wealth funds and buying up corporate stock. Under the rules of the game, if you own enough stock, you get to dictate corporate policy. If the Canadian government bought enough stock in some of our oil and gas companies, it could turn them into energy companies, willing to invest in renewable sources and cut down on carbon extraction.

Of course, that would require a government committed to those goals, and we have little evidence of that.


The Mound of Sound said...

"If the Canadian government bought enough stock in some of our oil and gas companies..." Justin is all too keenly aware of what befell his father when he tried something along that same line.

Toby said...

Tying up our hands was/is a major reason for trade agreements. To solve our climate problems we are going to have to tear those agreements up and enter into climate agreements.

Anonymous said...

No need for worry. The Donald to the rescue!

Trump is actually saving the world from global warming. You just don't know it yet. That's why the globalists are relentlessly attacking him in their corporate "Fake News" media.

Trump is putting an end to the poly-unsustainable process of shipping all the factories, jobs and GHG emissions to countries like China.

Trump is right. Global warming is a Chinese conspiracy theory! China pretends to be green by exporting solar panels. But then they burn so much coal their industrial cities are choking in smog.

They have no plans to reduce emissions either. They announced they would START reducing emissions in 2030 a while back. Terrible news that was heralded in the Orwellian media. Now they took that off the table because Trump is stopping the exodus of wealth and jobs in structural trade deficits.

So Trump is setting up an international trading regime based on fair managed trade and social tariffs.

He probably realizes more than anyone – because he's in the club – that the carbon market is just another trough. Just another way for entitled High-Born moochers to squeeze more wealth from the body economic.

Do you realize they looted $2T from the Fed treasury AFTER raiding trillions from homeowners, taxpayers and investors triggering the collapse the global financial system in 2008? These people are animals! They are completely incapable of comprehending what they're doing. Like a plague. They're nothing more than ambition, instinct and Selfish-Gene warfare run amok. They will literally kill us all if they're not reined in!

And that's where The Donald comes in. He has the ginormous bull by the horns! And it obviously ain't too happy about it, neither! But he's not trying to slay it. He just wants to get it out of the China shop before it tears the whole goddamn place to the ground!

So DJT's idea of using social tariffs to force oligarchs to pay their workers living wages to eliminate whopping structural trade deficits, is also how you persuade them to better their environmental regs. With green tariffs.

The Donald is right again: trade wars are easy to win. The oligarchs – the Men of Always – make their money exporting to Western markets. Trump holds all the cards, and he's playing 'em. (And now it's clear that no one else in the world would've had sense or guts enough to do it.)

Neoliberal, free-trade globalists like Merkel, Macron and Trudeau say Trump is crazy. (One of the many crap-throwing narratives from On High.) But really it's crazy to think there's an infinite amount of wealth you can plunder from the Western economy – which, if it collapses, will explode into the mother of all wars: Armageddon.

(Would it be funny that Jesus turned out to be right? Or humiliating?)