IMAGE: Craftivist Collective (CC BY)

If we want to prevent further environmental catastrophe, we need to change our economic model

Two accessible, easy-to-read, recent and indispensable articles by Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz help visualize the absolutely necessary change that the world we know has to experience.

The first, “After neoliberalism”, argues for the urgent redefinition of the failed neoliberal capitalist model, a fundamentalist approach to the free market whose commitment to unrestricted growth makes it the main culprit of our current problems, as well as providing clues about the future regulation of large corporations exercising omnipotent power over the markets. The indispensable tasks required to evolve toward a new economic model after the failure of neoliberal capitalism are: restoring the balance between markets, governments and civil society in order to solve the problems that the free market has not been able to solve by itself; redefining wealth creation to make it more dependent on scientific research and less on exploitation; and addressing the concentration of market power by breaking the link between economic power and political influence.

The second article, “The climate crisis is our third world war. It needs a bold response”, published last Tuesday in The Guardian, is a well-argued defense of the US Green New Deal I discussed not long ago, framing the fight against the climatic emergency as a possible source of wealth and job creation, and above all, as something we simply have to do at all cost. We have to transition to a green economy in the same way that after the second world war, we from agrarian to industrial economies: there is no logical reason why the economy of the 21st century must rely on fossil fuels produced and marketed by the 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions. Recycling, sustainable consumption and everything we can do individually is fine in terms of raising awareness, but it will not save us: what we can do is to close those companies down with our activism, with our votes, with our determination.

No wonder that more and more young people are taking to the streets to protest against governments doing absolutely nothing: they know they are the last generation with the chance do something to avoid disaster. We have to start taking them seriously, join them and give them our full support, refuse to take so much as one step backwards. We have no time to lose in raising awareness about the scale of the environmental emergency we face. Avoiding the idea that we’re doomed and that nothing can be done is fundamental. Something can be done, even if that means changing our entire economic system.

Don’t take my word for it: read the links. We’re facing a change of economic model. Our only hope for survival lies in understanding, defending and supporting change. Each and every one of us.

(En español, aquí)