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=== <center>[[George Monbiot]]: [ The Problem is CapitalismOwned]</center> ===<center><span style="color:grey">It is a weapon pointed at As I’ve found to my cost, the living world. We urgently need billionaire press seeks to develop a new systemkill change before it happens.</span></center>
30th April 8th July 2019
All billionaires want the same thing – a world that works for them. For most of my adult life, I’ve railed against “corporate capitalism”this means a world in which they are scarcely taxed and scarcely regulated, “consumer capitalism” where labour is cheap and “crony capitalism”. It took me a long time to see that the problem is not the adjectiveplanet can be used as a dustbin, but where they can flit between tax havens and secrecy regimes, using the nounearth’s surface as a speculative gaming board, extracting profits and dumping costs. The world that works for them works against us.
While some people have rejected capitalism gladly So how, in nominal democracies, do they get it? They fund political parties and swiftlylobby groups, I’ve done so slowly set up astroturf (fake grassroots) campaigns and reluctantlyfinance social media ads. Part of the reason was that I could see no clear alternative: unlike some anti-capitalistsBut above all, I have never been an enthusiast for state communismthey buy newspapers and television stations. I The widespread hope and expectation, a few years ago, was also inhibited that news controlled by its religious statusbillionaires would be replaced by news controlled by the people: social media would break their grip. To say “capitalism But social media is failing” in instead dominated by stories the 21st century is like saying “God is dead” billionaire press generates. As their crucial role in promoting Nigel Farage, Brexit and Boris Johnson suggests, the 19th. It is secular blasphemy. It requires a degree of self-confidence I did not possessnewspapers are as powerful as ever.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come They use this power not only to recognise two things. First, that it is promote the systembillionaires’ favoured people and ideas, rather than any variant of the system, which drives us inexorably towards disaster. Second, that you do not have but also to produce a definitive alternative to say that capitalism is failingshut down change before it happens. The statement stands in its own right. But it also demands another, and different, effort They deploy their attack dogs to develop a new systemtake down anyone who challenges the programme.
Capitalism’s failures arise from two of its defining elements. The first It is perpetual growthone thing to know this. Economic growth It is the aggregate effect another to experience it. A month ago, seven of us published a report to the quest Labour Party called [ Land for the Many.] It proposed [ a set of policies] that would be of immense benefit to accumulate capital the great majority of Britain’s people: ensuring that everyone has a good, affordable home, improving public amenities, shifting tax from ordinary people towards the immensely rich, protecting the living world and extract profitenhancing public control over the decisions that affect our lives. Capitalism collapses without growthWe showed how the billionaires and other oligarchs could be put back in their boxes. The result has been four extraordinary weeks of attacks in the Mail, yet perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamityExpress, Sun, Times and Telegraph. Our contention that oligarchic power is rooted in the ownership and control of land has been amply vindicated by the response of oligarchic power.
Those who defend capitalism argue that, as consumption switches from goods to services, economic growth can be decoupled from the use Some of material resourcesthese reports peddle flat-out falsehoods. Last week, [ a paper in the journal New Political Economyhtml A week ago] by Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis examined this premise, the Mail on Sunday claimed that our report recommends a capital gains tax on people’s main homes. They found This “spiteful raid that while some relative decoupling took place in will horrify millions” ensures “we will soon be joining the 20th century (material resource consumption grewlikes of China, but not as quickly as economic growth)Cuba, Laos and Vietnam in becoming one of the 21st there has been a reworld’s few Marxist-coupling: rising resource consumption has so far matched or exceeded Leninist states.” This claim was picked up, and often embellished, by all the rate of economic growthother right-wing papers. The absolute decoupling needed to avert environmental catastrophe (a reduction in material resource use) has never been achievedpolicy proved, and appears impossible while economic growth continues[https://www. Green growth the Telegraph explained], that “keeping a hard-Left Labour Party out of office is not an illusionacademic ideological ambition but a deadly serious matter for millions of voters.” Boris Johnson, Phillip Hammond and several other senior Tories weighed in, attacking our “mad” proposal.
A system based on perpetual growth cannot function without peripheries and externalitiesBut we made no such recommendation. There must always be an extraction zone, from which materials are taken without full paymentWe considered the idea, listed its possible advantages and a disposal zonedrawbacks, where costs are dumped in the form of waste and pollutionthen specifically rejected it. As the scale of economic activity increasesthey say in these papers, until capitalism affects everything from the atmosphere to the deep ocean floor, the entire planet becomes a sacrifice zone: we all inhabit the periphery of the profit-making machineyou couldn’t make it up. But they have.
This drives us towards cataclysm on such a scale that most people have no means There were dozens of imagining it. The threatened collapse of our life support systems is bigger by far than war, famine, pestilence or economic crisis, though it is likely other falsehoods: apparently we have proposed a “garden tax”; we intend to incorporate all four. Societies can recover from these apocalyptic events, but not from add [ raid.html “an extra £374 a year] on top of what the loss typical household pays in council tax” (no such figure is mentioned in our report); and inspectors will be sent to people’s homes to investigate their bedrooms. Dozens of soil]reports claim that our proposals are “plans” hatched by Jeremy Corbyn: “Jeremy Corbyn’s garden tax bombshell”; “Jeremy Corbyn is planning a huge tax raid”; “Corbyn’s war on homeowners”. Though Corbyn is aware of our report, he has played no role in it. What it contains are not his plans but our independent policy suggestions, none of which has yet been adopted by Labour. The press response gives me an abundant biosphere inkling of what it must be to walk in his shoes, as I see my name (and a habitable climatehis) attached to lurid schemes I’ve never heard of, and linked to Mugabe, Maduro and the Soviet Union. Not one of the many journalists who wrote these articles has contacted any of the authors of the report. Yet they harvested lengthy quotes denouncing us from senior Conservatives.
The second defining element common factor in all these articles is the bizarre assumption that a person is entitled to as great a share their conflation of the world’s natural wealth as their money can buy. This seizure interests of common goods causes three further dislocations. First, the scramble for exclusive control of nonultra-reproducible assets, which implies either violence or legislative truncations rich with the interests of other people’s rightsthe middle classes. SecondWhile our proposals take aim at the oligarchs, and would improve the immiseration prospects of other people by the great majority, they are presented as an economy based attack on looting across both space and timeordinary people. ThirdProgressive taxation, the translation protection of economic power public space and good homes for all should strike terror into political power, as control over essential resources leads to control over the social relations that surround themyour heart.
In We’ve a lodged a complaint to the New York Times on Sundaypress regulator, IPSO, about one of the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz [https://wwwworst examples, and we might make to pursue them all would be a full-capitalism.html sought to distinguish] between good capitalismtime job (we wrote the report unpaid, that he called “wealth creation”, and bad capitalism, that he called “wealth grabbing” (extracting rentin our own time). I understand his distinction, but from The simple truth is that we are being outgunned by the environmental point brute power of view, wealth creation is wealth grabbingbillionaires. Economic growth, intrinsically linked to And the increasing use of material resources, means seizing natural wealth from both living systems and future generationssame can be said for democracy.
To point to such problems It is easy to invite see why political parties have become so cautious and why, as a barrage of accusationsresult, many of which are based on this premise: capitalism has rescued hundreds of millions of people from poverty – [ now you want to impoverish them again]. It UK is true that capitalismstuck with outmoded institutions and policies, and the economic growth it drives, has radically improved the prosperity succumbs to ever more extreme and regressive forms of vast numbers of people, while simultaneously destroying the prosperity of many others: those whose land, labour taxation and resources were seized to fuel growth elsewherecontrol. Much of the wealth of the rich nations was Labour has so far held its nerve – and is – [https://wwwthis makes its current leadership built on slavery and colonial expropriation]It has not allowed itself to be bullied by the billionaire press.
Like coal, capitalism The old threat has brought many benefits. But, like coal, not abated – it now causes more harm than goodhas intensified. Just as we have found means of generating useful energy that are better and less damaging than coal, so we need to find means of generating human wellbeing that are better and less damaging than capitalism. There is no going back: the alternative to capitalism is neither feudalism nor state communism. Soviet communism had more in common with capitalism than the advocates of either system would care to admit. Both systems are (or were) [ obsessed with generating economic growth]. Both are willing to inflict astonishing levels of harm in pursuit of this and other ends. Both promised If a future in which we would need to work for only a few hours a week, but instead demand endless, brutal labour. Both are dehumanising. Both are absolutist, insisting that theirs and theirs alone newspaper is the one true God. So what does owned by a better system look like? I don’t have a complete answerbillionaire, and I don’t believe any one person does. But I think I see a rough framework emerging. Part be suspicious of every word you read in it is provided by the ecological civilisation [ proposed by Jeremy Lent]Check its sources, one of the greatest thinkers of our agequestion its claims. Other elements come Withhold your support from [ Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics] and the environmental thinking of [ Naomi Klein], [ Amitav Ghosh], [ Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq], [ Raj Patel] and [ Bill McKibben]. Part of the answer lies in the notion of “[ private sufficiency, public luxury]”. Another part arises from the creation of a new conception of justice, based on [ this simple principle]: every generation, everywhere shall have an equal right any party that allows itself to the enjoyment of natural wealth. I believe our task is to identify the best proposals from many different thinkers and shape them into a coherent alternative. Because no economic system is only an economic system, but intrudes into every aspect of our lives, we need many minds from various disciplines be bullied or economic, environmental, political, cultural, social and logistical worse working collaboratively to create a better way of organising ourselves, that meets our needs without destroying our homeguided by their agendaOur choice comes down to thisStand in solidarity with those who resist it. Do we stop life to allow capitalism to continue, or stop capitalism to allow life to continue?
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