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View Diary: To solve the climate change problem, end the class divide (50 comments)

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  •  The bottom half isn't the problem (5+ / 0-)

    See the Fred Pearce link in the diary.

    And technology won't save us, not at least all by itself.  See John Bellamy Foster, "Capitalism's Environmental Crisis: Is Technology The Answer?"  "Alternative energy' will only form a supplement to fossil-fuel energy unless the will can be found to stop consuming fossil-fuel energy.

    "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:56:48 AM PST

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    •  He's wrong (3+ / 0-)

      without fossil-fuel alternatives, we cook ourselves.

      With fossil-fuel alternatives (solar, geothermal, wind) we drop the price of energy so much that oil becomes too expensive to be worth drilling.

      •  Price signals will not solve the problem. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        In her own Voice, thethinveil

        See chapter 6 of Meadows, Meadows and Randers' Beyond The Limits.  By the time the price signals give the "economic community" (i.e. the financial interests bankrolling energy) an incentive to quit using oil, the problem of abrupt climate change will already have become too big.

        "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:23:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "economic community" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga

          only cares about making money.  So when a technology arises that can save such a massive amount, they will flock to it.

          GM, Ford, Chrysler, Benz, Nissan, Renault, VW, Toyota, will all have pure electronic or plug-in hybrids for sale within 18 months.

          They are proving that chapter's concept wrong.

          •  No, they aren't. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            In her own Voice

            The hybrids will merely be a supplement.    The corporations know that marketing a "green" line of product is good business in an era of concern about "being green."

            "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:14:21 AM PST

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            •  I didn't say hybrids (0+ / 0-)

              I said pure electrics, or plug-ins.

              And the Chinese are just around the corner, where they too will build them by the millions.  You've got this serious misunderstanding of capitalism; it isn't evil, it is if anything amoral.  If there is money to be made by selling a better product, they will do it in a heartbeat.  If electrics are the way of the future, nobody will stop them.

              •  No, I don't (0+ / 0-)

                have a serious misunderstanding of capitalism -- where you pull "evil" out of any of my statements about it is beyond me.

                "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

                by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 12:11:47 PM PST

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                •  Conspiracies (0+ / 0-)

                  Yes, they own the world, we are their puppets...

                  That is why, you fail.

                  Most of the newly minted billionaires on the earth are from BRIC countries.  These countries are new arrivals to industry and capital, indeed China is still a communist nation.  The idea that you can have a classless society is ludicrous- it hasn't happened in centuries because there will always be people that are more motivated, more willing to get into the scrap and mix it up, more willing to step on someone neck and throttle them.

                  And this will always be that way.  The very fact that so much of the wealth in recent years has not gone to the "leisure class", the former industrial families of the US and EU and has gone south and east proves your entire diary pointless.

                  •  If members of a social class act together (0+ / 0-)

                    to protect their common class interest, it must be a "conspiracy."  Uh-huh.

                    The idea that you can have a classless society is ludicrous- it hasn't happened in centuries because there will always be people that are more motivated, more willing to get into the scrap and mix it up, more willing to step on someone neck and throttle them.

                    And here you show that you don't understand what classes are made of.  There is no real competition between the owning class and the working class: one class makes its money through investments and Ponzi schemes, the other through wage labor at "whatever the market will bear."  Classes are about an ongoing social division between the rich few and the struggling many, a product of the bankrolling of privilege through the exercise of class interest; the outcomes of competition have very little to do with the whole process.

                    The existing framework of the means of production as private property, and of money as the arcane preserve of the banks, isn't eternal, thus social classes aren't eternal either.  But, hey, the First Amendment guarantees your right to a religion.

                    "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

                    by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 04:03:56 PM PST

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      •  We need both. But I think what Cassidoirus (3+ / 0-)

        is suggesting is right on.  Here's the key

        we must organize the global public around the prospect of a livable world.

        Young people are waking up.  I've got a 30ish niece who went to the most expensive college in the country, an arts major, her husband in NY finance.  She's gotten so into local food, simple living. she's giving all that up to learn farming.

        Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

        by cumberland sibyl on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:27:36 AM PST

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    •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

      that's exactly a fair reading to say that Pearce's article shows that the bottom half isn't a part of the problem.

      Definitely I agree with Pearce that over consumption is a problem in the top half or even top few percent (USA).  That is the larger part of the problem.   But it doesn't address the long term projections based on past history, as a nation develops, it tends to start consuming more.  We can't address equalization of incomes only, that just makes more people the problem.  Its more equitable distribution, but not a solution to over consumption.  

      Its a two pronged strategy that is needed at least, to leap frog underdevelopped areas over old technology to make their development less destructive, and to convince everyone that more prosperity shouldn't be expressed in a bigger carbon footprint.  

      A third prong, large family size, really would be appropriate to address as well.   Those large family sizes tend to happen as a result of cultural trends that devalue women's rights and education.  

      •  Ah -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        In her own Voice, Radical def

        But it doesn't address the long term projections based on past history, as a nation develops, it tends to start consuming more.

        But this is assuming that "past history" is any key to future history in a world-system that is rather close to maxing out its resource base.  

        The capitalist press would like to promote the idea that the fruits of capitalist development are available to everyone, and so they promote misleading ideas about the actual prosperity of the world.  If you believe McKinsey, for instance, you might feel confident in assuming that the Indian middle class currently constitutes 5% of India's population, and will grow to 40% with the snap of a finger.  Whereas in reality the statistics on Indian income reveal a much, much smaller middle class by Western standards.

        My point is this: the idea that the history of the Western nations in "development" and "prosperity" is going to repeat itself in India and China is a myth.  We've discussed India; as for China you can see from a cursory reading of Mark Hertsgaard's Earth Odyssey that the Chinese spurt of growth has already exacted an enormous toll upon Chinese ecosystems, and that was ten years ago.  It isn't going to get better as the icecaps atop the Himalayas melt away leaving China in drought.  Minqi Li gives China a decade more of growthmania at which point the ecosystem limits will be reached.

        The era of "development" and "consuming more" is quite likely to come to a screeching halt, within our lifetimes.  We can deal with this by attempting to bridge the class divide, or we can wind up with a world in which the remaining privileged few fight over what's left.

        Otherwise I liked the points you made in your post.

        "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:37:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are overly optimistic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Land of Enchantment

          given the blogs I've been reading in the climate series this weekend about China.  I think their targets are estimated to leave them increasing for the next decade, just as history suggests.

          I think India has a slower growth curve overall, but to the extent that growth occurs, they will also increase.

          When the brick wall hits any given nation seems to be the real limiter.  But the point of these discussions, to my mind, was to try to avoid the wall, not use it as a tool of fostering social equality.  You posited using fostering the classlessness of a better world to avoid the problem, as a solution, not a result of the climate disaster.

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