Thursday, June 5, 2014

Screwed economics: how reducing emmissions becomes a cost

The two most disturbing ideological concept of our current time are the notion of "progress", the belief that humanity moves in a linear direction towards an ever "better" world, and the view that the economy (or the market) in some way is an independent system. Taken together those two views are expressed in the faith that economic and technological growth are the main avenues for future human progress, and that this must be based on the imperatives of the competitive market economy - competition and profit-making. This view makes society and nature to subsystems of the economy instead of the other way round. This can be noticed in the current political discourse where the role of public policy mainly is about strengthening the competitiveness of a country in the international markets. 

As an example of the distorted perspective, the current political discussion about climate change is about how we can afford to mitigate it, while the real question should be how we can afford driving those cars that cause the emissions in the first place. To reduce emissions is no more a cost than it is a cost to eat less.  

As cutting emissions will reduce competitiveness and profits (and it will do that) that is not seen as an option. Instead it is by new technologies we will reduce emissions, which indeed will incur costs. But those costs will rapidly be turned into new ways to make money by the private sector. Which is why it is preferred.

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