Collectively we’re driving Earth and civilisation in direction of collapse. Human actions have exceeded planetary boundaries. We are altering the local weather, dropping biodiversity, degrading land, contaminating freshwater, and damaging the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles upon which all of us rely.
We ask how this might occur. Also, why democratically elected governments ignore the needs of nearly all of their folks. Why some governments proceed to export fossil fuels regardless of commitments to local weather mitigation. Why some go to conflict in distant lands with none debate in parliament or congress. Why some give tax cuts to the wealthy whereas these on the dole wrestle under the poverty line.
Palgrave Macmillan, Author supplied
The solutions to those questions all come down to at least one factor: decision-makers and influencers are captured by vested pursuits. That is the inconvenient fact revealed in our new guide, The Path to a Sustainable Civilisation: Technological, Socioeconomic and Political Change. But these forces could be overthrown.
We argue it isn’t ample for citizen organisations and governments to handle particular environmental, social justice and peace points. It’s definitely needed, however we should additionally wrestle for systemic change. This means difficult the covert driving forces of environmental destruction, social injustice and conflict, particularly, “state seize” and the dominant financial system.
It’s 90 seconds to midnight on the Doomsday Clock, so there’s no time to waste.
Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries primarily based on how we use land
Confronting state seize
Political scientists and political economists argue governments, public servants, the media and certainly nearly all of decision-makers and influencers turn into captured by vested pursuits.
This is named state seize, the place state means the nation-state. The captors embody fossil gasoline, armaments, finance, property and playing industries.
State seize may contain international governments. There is justifiable concern in Australia and elsewhere about subversion by the Chinese Communist Party.
Yet there’s little dialogue of the truth that, since 2015, six “retired” US admirals labored for the Australian authorities earlier than the AUKUS announcement on nuclear powered submarines.
Mark Diesendorf, Author supplied
State seize may clarify why Australia’s defence is being shifted to the South China Sea underneath US sovereignty.
Confronting state seize includes reversing a number of undemocratic practices. Of explicit concern is the funding of political events by company pursuits in addition to the revolving-door jobs between authorities and company pursuits.
There can also be the focus of media possession and the affect of so-called “assume tanks” funded by vested pursuits.
The first step is to arrange coalitions or networks to oppose the facility of vested pursuits. This would carry collectively various civil society organisations with frequent pursuits in democratic integrity and civil liberties.
One instance is the Australian Democracy Network, which campaigns for “adjustments that make our democracy extra truthful, open, participatory, and accountable”. The Network was based in 2020 by the Human Rights Law Centre, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Council of Social Service.
A monster rally for local weather change, however divergent targets hinder the combat
Challenging financial ideology
Conventional financial concept failed us when it got here to restoration from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–09 and the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless, many governments nonetheless settle for its prescriptions.
The harmful and damaging myths of typical economics embody the claims that:
financial concept can deal with the pure atmosphere as an infinite useful resource and infinite waste dump
infinite financial progress on a finite planet is possible and fascinating
wealth trickles down from the wealthy to the poor
wellbeing and welfare could be measured by GDP
authorities intervention available in the market have to be averted.
Although these myths have been refuted many instances, even by world well-known economist Joseph Stiglitz, they nonetheless decide a lot authorities coverage.
Australian economist Steve Keen first revealed Debunking economics in 2001. The monetary disaster of 2007 gave him loads of materials for a revised version in 2011. Richard Denniss gave us Econobabble: How to Decode Political Spin and Economic Nonsense in 2021. Yet, as John Quiggin so eloquently places it, lifeless concepts nonetheless stalk the land (Zombie Economics.
They have devastating impacts on our life help system (the biosphere) and social justice. One of the principal destroyers of our planet is extreme consumption, particularly consumption by wealthy people and wealthy international locations.
Affluence is killing the planet, warn scientists
A extra applicable financial framework for human and planetary wellbeing is the interdisciplinary area of ecological economics.
Unlike neoclassical economics, ecological economics provides precedence to ecological sustainability and social justice over financial effectivity. It works in direction of a transition to a steady-state financial system. That is, one with no world enhance in using vitality, supplies and land, and no enhance in inhabitants.
Azote for Stockholm Resilience Centre/Stockholm University, Author supplied
Since planetary boundaries have already been exceeded and low-income international locations should develop, social justice calls for that the wealthy international locations endure deliberate degrowth.
On the pathway to a sustainable civilisation, environmental safety and social justice have to be addressed collectively. Because the wealthy are answerable for the most important environmental impacts, lowering the hole between wealthy and poor is important.
Universal fundamental companies equivalent to improved public well being, training, housing and transportation – and a government-funded job assure – can obtain better equality and provides folks incentives to help the transition.
Why would governments free themselves from state seize and discard economics ideology? Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt as soon as advised a delegation: “OK, you might have satisfied me. Now get on the market and make me do it!” In different phrases, stress from voters is required to make authorities motion politically possible.
That’s why we’d like citizen-based environmental, social justice, public well being and peace teams to type alliances to problem the overarching problems with state seize and flawed economics ideology.
Building the brand new financial system: different methods for the 99%
Mark Diesendorf beforehand obtained funding from the Australian Research Council.