The abundance of scientific research showing we have pushed nature beyond its limits does not just demand green products and market-based solutions; it demands a new civilizational paradigm, one grounded not in dominance over nature but in respect for natural cycles of renewal—and acutely sensitive to natural limits, including the limits of human intelligence.
In addition to reversing the thirty-year privatization trend, a serious response to the climate threat involves recovering an art that has been relentlessly vilified during these decades of market fundamentalism: planning. Lots and lots of planning.
So we’ve got to acknowledge that we’re all entirely dim in the face of Gaia: then use our intelligence to plan what we’ve got to do about it.
The two positions are mutually incompatible dearie.
If we’re dim then we’ve got to go the route of try it, suck it and see: a market based process. If we’re all gargantually intelligent with perfect knowledge then we can plan. But we can’t plan if we’re dim and ill informed, can we?
It gets worse, of course:
Another bonus: this type of farming is much more labor intensive than industrial agriculture, which means that farming can once again be a substantial source of employment.
Yes, she’s cheering the idea that we reintroduce peasantry as a valid career choice. Somehow it’s never those with columns in The Nation who have to be bent over double in the fields though, is it?
In an economy organized to respect natural limits, the use of energy-intensive long-haul transport would need to be rationed—reserved for those cases where goods cannot be produced locally or where local production is more carbon-intensive. (For example, growing food in greenhouses in cold parts of the United States is often more energy-intensive than growing it in the South and shipping it by light rail.)
Yes love. We know how to do this too. Stick a tax on carbon emissions and let the market sort it out.
The way out is to embrace a managed transition to another economic paradigm, using all the tools of planning discussed above. Growth would be reserved for parts of the world still pulling themselves out of poverty. Meanwhile, in the industrialized world, those sectors that are not governed by the drive for increased yearly profit (the public sector, co-ops, local businesses, nonprofits) would expand their share of overall economic activity, as would those sectors with minimal ecological impacts (such as the caregiving professions). A great many jobs could be created this way. But the role of the corporate sector, with its structural demand for increased sales and profits, would have to contract.
That’s just lovely, isn’t it? “Growth would be reserved”. Anyone got any idea at all of how that could be achieved in anything even slightly resembling a society that has any freedom or liberty left in it at all?
And of course she’s grossly, stupidly, wrong in her description of what is the cure for climate change. What we actually need is a globalised market based economy with a carbon tax.
And that’s all we need.