Brian Gordon is a Canadian Green Party member and candidate trained by Al Gore to present An Inconvenient Truth.
I’ll save you the trouble of reading further if you believe in the infallibility of markets and have dangerously high blood pressure: I’m on the side of moving very rapidly to a new green economy.
New York Stock Exchange. Image by U.S. Department of the Interior
I used to be a climate change sceptic until I did the research; the results were frightening (I have children and even a grandchild) and eye-opening. We really have no choice: We cannot continue our foolish, wasteful, and harmful ways.
George Soros, who has made billions in ‘the market,’ calls those who worship the infallibility of free markets: Market Fundamentalists. I would agree, and most of the opposition to doing something about the climate crisis (we’re way past global warming) comes from these Fundies – who are anything but fun. Anyone who has had the misfortune to be involved in a debate with any of these people will have noticed that they are impervious to facts. No matter the weight of evidence on the side of human-caused global warming, no matter the rather obvious danger we face, they find some reason that negates all of it. Thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies over decades all pointing to one conclusion? No problem, there’s this guy over here who says it’s all wrong. He may not have published anything, the scientists may think he’s a fool, you may be able to point out how his argument has been thoroughly discredited – doesn’t matter. The Market Fundies will believe whoever and whatever supports their idol.
Really, it can get a bit depressing. The saddest part – not including that these people are going to wipe humanity off the face of the planet, starting with the poor – is that most of them are quite well-meaning and don’t realise they’ve been duped. Just as the Communist leaders devoted enormous resources to perpetrating the glories of the socialist revolution and each Five-Year Plan, so do many of us fall for the rubbish claiming that global capitalism will solve, some day, all our problems. Just not today, and not this problem.
Capitalism and the market work well when there are many competitors and they live where they do business, thus giving them a vested interest in the local area. Capitalism fails when it goes big and remote. Capitalism fails when businesses can externalise costs like climate change, or when those costs occur in the future and the manager’s pay and promotions are tied to this quarter’s financial performance. Capitalism has gone big – global – and is as remote as it is possible to be without being located on the moon.
The Market Fundies will not acknowledge the failings in their system. I have become convinced that most – probably all – humans are hard-wired to believe in something greater than themselves. That’s why there are so many religions, why many who are not religious call themselves ‘spiritual,’ and why atheists believe there is no god/God (rather than simply saying they don’t know because they see no proof).
Market Fundamentalists have swapped God for The Market, and that is why they see the market as infallible, as the source of all solutions, as the way to organize the entire world – and why they will not listen to reason, or science, when it comes to the climate crisis.