NYT Columnist Calls Capitalism The ‘Real Culprit Of The Climate Crisis’


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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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A New York Times opinion article recycles the old argument that capitalism is the root cause of global warming, and that turning to socialism would give humanity a better chance of survival.

Capitalism is often invoked as a global warming boogeyman that will inevitably lead to another mass extinction if more restrictive policies aren’t put in place. However, this NYT column goes on to claim that a “democratic socialist society” is the answer.

“The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability,” Benjamin Fong, a fellow at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, wrote in TheNYT.

Fong claims that “widespread ignorance” is not the driver behind consumption habits causing global warming. Instead, he argues it’s “the system as a whole that is at issue” when it comes to the climate.

“So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen,” Fong wrote in his op-ed.

“This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault,” Fong wrote.

Fong argues humanity stands a better chance “if environmental regulations are designed by a team of people with no formal education in a democratic socialist society than we do if they are made by a team of the most esteemed scientific luminaries in a capitalist society.”

“The intelligence of the brightest people around is no match for the rampant stupidity of capitalism,” he wrote.

Interestingly enough, China, the world’s largest communist country, is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. Global emissions are expected to increase in 2017 almost entirely because of economic growth in China.

“On the defensive for centuries, socialists have become quite adept at responding to objections from people for whom the basic functions of life seem difficult to reproduce without the motive power of capital,” Fong wrote.

“There are real issues here, issues that point to the opacity of sociability, as Bini Adamczak’s recent book, ‘Communism for Kids,’ playfully explores,” Fong wrote. “But the burden of justification should not fall on the shoulders of those putting forward an alternative. For anyone who has really thought about the climate crisis, it is capitalism, and not its transcendence, that is in need of justification. And don’t be surprised, or fooled, when its defenders point to the tireless work of intelligent people.”

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