Capitalism torched the world, fascism rose from the ashes

Umair Haque (previously) is in the unfortunate position of being both inarguably correct and horribly depressing when he says "catastrophic climate change is probably inevitable."

Capitalism was incapable of dealing with climate change, treating damage to human lives and the planet we share as "unpriced negative externalities" rather than evidence that a system whose tenet was the we would achieve optimal outcomes only if we "exploit and abuse one another, not hold each other close, mortal and frail things that [we] are."

But capitalism not only failed to come to grips with climate change: it also "ate through people’s towns and cities and communities, then through social systems, then through their savings, and finally, through their democracies," by making the one percent richer, and richer, and richer -- and everyone else poorer and more desperate.

The result of that was the dizzying rise of fascism: in the Philippines, Hungary, Italy, America -- and, any day now, Brazil, where the fascist government-in-waiting stands ready to feed the entire Amazon rain forest into big business's wood-chipper.

Fascism is arising at the worst possible moment: the moment when democratic accountability and decisive action are the only possible hope of averting millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of immiserated lives.

A sense of frustration, of resignation, of pessimism came to sweep the world. People lost trust in their great systems and institutions. They turned away from democracy, and towards authoritarianism, in a great, thunderous wave, which tilted the globe on its very axis. The wave rippled outward from history’s greatest epicenter of human stupidity, America, like a supersonic tsunami, crossing Europe, reaching Asia’s shores, crashing south into Brazil, cresting far away in Australia. Nations fell like dominoes to a new wave of fascists, who proclaimed the same things as the old ones — reichs and camps and reigns of the pure. People began to turn on those below them — the powerless one, the different one, the Mexican, the Jew, the Muslim— in the quest for just the sense of superiority and power, the fortune and glory, capitalism had promised them, but never delivered.

The capitalists had gotten rich — unimaginably rich. They were richer than kings of old. But capitalism had imploded into fascism. History laughed at the foolishness of people who once again believed, like little children hearing a fairy tale, that capitalism — which told people to exploit and abuse one another, not hold each other close, mortal and frail things that they are — was somehow ever going to benefit them.

Now. Let me connect the dots of capitalism’s unpaid social and environmental costs, and how they are linked, not additively, 2+2=5, but with the mathematics of catastrophe.

When we tell the story of how capitalism imploded into fascism, it will go something like this: the social costs of capitalism meant that democracy collapsed into neo-fascism — and neo-fascism made it unlikely, if not outright impossible, that the world could do anything at all about climate change, in the short window it had left, at the precise juncture it needed to act most. Do you see the link? The terrible and tragic irony? How funny and sad it is?

Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now [Umair Haque/Eudaimonia and Co]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: DVIDSHUB, CC-BY)

Loading...