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Green capitalism is a con Only Marxism can save the planet

A demonstration against the Spanish oil company Repsol in Lima (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)

A demonstration against the Spanish oil company Repsol in Lima (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)


January 9, 2024   6 mins

If religion was the opium of the masses in the days of Karl Marx, then today’s drug is the cult of green capitalism. The West has been fooled into thinking that a combination of futuristic green technologies and green growth will save humanity from the climate crisis. As long as we eat our broccoli stalks and refuse plastic bags, we can continue to turn a blind eye to the truth: that the root cause of climate change is capitalism, and that our current way of life will not only lead to ecological collapse, but in doing so exploit the labour and land of the impoverished Global South.

And yet, rather than wake up to the fact that green capitalism is a myth, Western leaders are doubling down on their commitments to green growth. From President Joe Biden to former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and British Labour leader Keir Starmer, public figures in both Europe and the United States have succumbed to the siren call of a Green New Deal: a miraculous renewable energy and electric car investment programme that will supposedly spur a transition to a sustainable green economy.

The problem is that even the most radical Green New Deal will never achieve its aims. After all, a green revolution will require not just a transition to electric vehicles, hydrogen planes and renewable energy, but a complete overhaul of our material world. Every single resource we depend on — from agricultural machinery and chemical fertilisers to iron and cement for construction — will have to be replaced by a newer, greener version. And so any feasible Green New Deal will only reduce carbon dioxide emissions relative to GDP, not absolutely, before 2050. In other words, carbon dioxide levels will continue rising, albeit at a slower rate.

The vision of a Green New Deal is alluring, however, partly because it allows us to continue our consumerist frenzy without worrying about the environment — all we need to do to relieve our guilt is buy a Tesla — and partly because it has been hailed as a silver-bullet solution to economic inequality. The dream is that a green transition will create more stable, better-paid jobs for the working class, especially in the former industrial heartlands of America and Europe. Yet the world’s poorest will pay the price for a Western jobs boom. Already, the world’s richest 10% — mostly in the Global North — are responsible for half of worldwide emissions, though the poorer half will be the first to suffer from the effects of climate change. A Green New Deal will shift even more of the burden to the Global South. It is hardly a desirable solution to global poverty.

Take electric vehicles, for instance. Their lithium-ion batteries are made from rare metals found in the Atacama Salt Flats of Chile. Yet lithium extraction is highly water intensive: a single corporation can extract 1,700 litres of groundwater per second. This is already taking a toll on the nation’s ecology, with locals unable to access fresh drinking water. Another crucial metal is cobalt, of which almost 60% of the world’s supply is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest nations in Africa. There are around 40,000 children working informally in Congolese cobalt mines, some as young as six or seven, a number of whom have been buried alive in the tunnels. But as long as such neocolonial exploits remain out of sight in the West, they are out of mind too: Western nations continue to plunder the Global South under the guise of making capitalism sustainable.

Some techno-optimists believe that fantastical, still-to-be-invented carbon capture technologies will solve the problem of climate change. Yet these Negative Emissions Technologies (NET) could inflict even more damage on the environment and the Global South. The leading model, Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), would require farmland twice the size of India to produce enough biomass energy to keep carbon emissions down. Will we steal this land from the Indians or Brazilians who need it to cultivate food? Or will we simply slash down more of the Amazon rainforest? Meanwhile, the technology would also require an enormous amount of water: 400 million metric tonnes of it, in fact, to produce enough electricity to power the US for a year. And even if that’s possible, there’s a high chance that carbon dioxide stored beneath the Earth’s surface will end up seeping back out. By then, it will be too late to think up a better solution.

In effect, then, a Green New Deal will simply shift the dirty work of resource extraction to global peripheries — as capitalism has been doing for centuries. As far back as the mid-19th century, Marx realised that capitalism had a knack of making its ill effects invisible by displacing them elsewhere. He recognised three types of displacement: technological, spatial and temporal, all of which were vulnerable to collapse. And none of which bode well for the Green New Deal. The first idea, that technological advancement can overcome environmental crisis, we have shown to be a techno-optimist fantasy. The second, that we can export our environmental and social problems to the Global South, is a cruel form of ecological imperialism. And the third, that we can dump our problems on future generations, is the epitome of human folly and selfishness.

But if green capitalism isn’t the solution, then what is? The answer, I believe, can be found in Marx’s later writings, many of them unpublished. What many people don’t realise, including those on the Left, is that Marx underwent a drastic theoretical shift towards the end of his life — when he finally realised that technological progress and productivism, far from being forces for the common good, were in fact destroying the Earth. In the five years before his death in 1883, Marx devoted himself to studying the natural sciences, and eventually concluded that capitalism’s quest to accumulate value disrupts the metabolic relationship between humans and nature, creating an “irreparable rift” on a global scale. From then on, he advocated a style of communism that would end capitalism’s exploitation of both workers and the planet, and bring production back in sync with the slower cycles of nature.

While Marx died before he was able to lay out his degrowth communist manifesto in a single work akin to Capital, his vision can be conjured from his scattered ecological critiques of capitalism. Capitalism, he wrote, disturbed “the metabolic interaction between man and the earth”; it hindered “the operation of the eternal natural condition for the lasting fertility of the soil”. Almost a century and a half later, it is time we heeded his warnings.

Of course, I am not suggesting a return to the dark communism of the Soviet Union or 20th-century China, where modes of production were nationalised by tyrannical one-party states. Marx never advocated this form of communism anyway. Instead, we should draw on his concept of “the commons” (equality of economic conditions) to steer a third way between the extremes of US-style neoliberalism and Soviet-style nationalisation. The idea is that certain public goods — such as water, electricity, shelter, healthcare and education — should be managed and shared by every member of society, independent from the markets. What is important is that, in contrast to the administrative monopoly by capitalists or socialist bureaucrats, all the affected people participate in the decision-making process and democratically manage the commonwealth. This is far from a form of top-down climate Maoism, but a grassroots movement that challenges the power of capital.

Once power has been handed over to the people, how can we possibly begin to slow down the economy? We can start by re-reading Marx’s Capital through a degrowth lens. First, we should transition, as Marx instructed, from an economy based on commodity value to one based on social utility (or use-value). We must prioritise the production of goods that are necessary to respond to the climate crisis, rather than desirable luxury goods that are useless and ecologically destructive. Once we stop producing so much meaningless junk, we can start cutting down on general working hours, as well as getting rid of “bullshit jobs” — such as investment banking, marketing and consultancy — whose sole purpose is to make money. Other capitalist extravagances, such as same-day delivery and 24-hour supermarkets, would also be obliterated. Not only will liberating people from wage slavery in this way help the environment, but it will also improve peoples’ lives, allowing more time to devote to childcare, caregiving, education and leisure. In this new system, fulfilling material needs and improving quality of life will become a far more important measure than GDP.

On top of this, we should heed Marx’s call to make work creative and “attractive” again by abolishing the tiresome division of labour that condemns employees to repetitive, inhumane work. In an ideal world, the time that we spend at work should be satisfying, not torturous: workers should have the chance to become masters of industry and rotate between tasks, even if that means their work becomes less productive. Meanwhile, we should place a higher value on emotional labour, such as care work. While this labour-intensive work is crucial to the functioning of society, it is also not economically productive — and therefore is undervalued in a capitalist system. Helping a child or elderly person eat, drink or wash does not boost GDP, but it is a deeply human act of service. Indeed, decelerating our economy in these ways will not only save the planet, but also make our lives richer, more meaningful, and more humane. The phrase buen vivir (“to live well”), originating from the indigenous people of Ecuador, and now used by Leftists all over the world, reminds us to keep challenging the corrupted value system of Western capitalism.

For ultimately, the only thing lacking is the political will. We cannot solve a problem created by capitalism while still preserving capitalism. And while toppling capitalism and the elite 1% who control it will be difficult, it is not impossible. All that’s needed to bring about major political change, according to Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth, is the non-violent support of 3.5% of the population: the rest will follow. This is all it took for the “People Power Revolution” to take down the Marcos regime in the Philippines in 1984, and to start the 2003 “Revolution of Roses” in Georgia that culminated in the resignation of then-President Eduard Shevardnadze. Surely, there are already enough people in the West who care about the fate of the planet to ignite a rebellion.

*

Kohei Saito’s book Slow Down: How Degrowth Communism Can Save the Earth, published by W&N, is out on 18 January.


Kohei Saito is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo. He is the author of Slow Down: How Degrowth Communism Can Save the Earth, published by W&N on 18 January.


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Mike Downing
Mike Downing
6 months ago

‘all the affected people participate in the decision-making process and democratically manage the commonwealth’

ie management by committee which disappears up its own fundament as nothing is ever decided upon let alone done.

I’m looking forward to it.

Steve Shifflette
Steve Shifflette
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Completely idealistic drivel. The author does not understand nature, of which we are still very much a part. Evolution is not served by harmony.
I also believe that the carbon problem is highly overrated. At 0.04% of the atmosphere, it is a trace element. And, yes, I have read the arguments regarding how this Mighty Mouse element acts, but I am not convinced.
The authors whole argument rests on everyone on Earth working together for this common good. Good luck with that!

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
6 months ago

Not only does he not understand nature, he most certainly does not understand human nature.

N Satori
N Satori
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

And the keenest participants in the decision-making process (ie. the ones who always turn up at the committee meetings) will be the ambitious apparatchiks and ideologues. Everyone else will just nod along and say “whatever”.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

….and soon the ambitious apparatchiks and ideologues will have very nice dachas.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Yes, when you read something like this, you realise why Marxist-Leninist Communism failed so utterly.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

When I ask people if they know the name of their MP, or the name of their electorate, almost no one does, let alone ever contact them. Do they sign e-petitions, make submissions etc.? No, they’re tired, they have other interests and duties; so how will communism change that so that people will be enthusiastically ‘democratically managing the commonwealth’?

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

I have previously looked up the name of my MP and the forthcoming constituency name… but they don’t ‘stick’. It is ephemeral information that makes no difference in my daily concerns.
The economy though… every day I vote with my wallet. Both a strength and a weakness in ‘governing’ a country.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

I know the name of my MP and have written to her on a number of occasions. She helped me once by giving me correct information. However since I have written to state my opposition to the new laws against protest,road pricing etc,well I carefully worded my letter in order to ascertain the official policy and she carefully worded a reply to confirm that it would be business as usual but more efficient
So now we both know how it goes.

N Satori
N Satori
6 months ago

My goodness! What a provocative topic – sure to get the keyboards of UnHerd’s below-the-line professors rattling with a vengeance. I can hardly wait for the flurry of comments… but, on the other hand, perhaps I can. I’m off to bed now but you do what you like.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Were it in a lesser publication (than UnHerd), one might think that the point of the article was to generate “clicks”.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

The headline surely is.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

Good to see Unherd publish something like this. We can all see the silly, utopian, drivel espoused by some disconnected prof who really doesn’t need to produce much of anything to enjoy a comfortable living.

The bottom line is that Marxism has been responsible for untold death and misery throughout the 20th century. Of course, the Soviet, Chinese, Cambodian versions etc
 got it all wrong. If we just do it correctly this time, everything will work out fine.

I’ll give the author credit for putting the lie to green capitalism though. It’s all BS.

George K
George K
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“ some disconnected prof who really doesn’t need to produce much of anything to enjoy a comfortable living” , – well said. It probably explains the naĂŻvetĂ© of his argument

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The flaws in Marx are all explained by the fact he made poor Charlotte do all the shopping. No-one who’d actually been to the market could have come up with the Labour Theory of Value. It never occurred to him that a capitalist might build a factory, employ labour, purchase raw materials and then, for whatever reason, fail to recover his investment, therefore requiring an incentive (ie: profit) to undertake the risk in the first place.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

And he had to borrow money off the servant every week too so what sort of economic expert was he. He even got the servant up the duff too.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yes – an all round plonker.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

“The idea is that certain public goods — such as water, electricity, shelter, healthcare and education — should be managed and shared by every member of society, independent from the markets.” All sounds wonderful, until an entrepreneur risks his/her investment to build it in the first place. The very fact that the Southern Hemisphere is filled with poverty, due to the lack of free market capitalism apparently escapes the author.

Deborah H
Deborah H
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

And besides water people don’t share the same fondness for certain educational, health systems or shelter. Requiring variety to be managed and shared by the people might not be the cake walk it appears on the surface. No easy answers, but the article brings up good points about the lie of green capitalism.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not to mention the farcical ecological disasters of Marxist-inspired regimes. What both the author and your post posit is that these Communist atrocities are confined to the 20th Century – in China they are still going on just without as much media fanfare. Remember the Uighurs and Hong Kong to see the real face of Marxism in the 21st Century.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I look forward to seeing an article from Nick Griffin for balance

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The communist block also polluted like billio

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not to mention ecological catastrophes. I get a kick out of these guys who think that Marxism has anything to offer but worse results.

Tom K
Tom K
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Lefty nonsense here is hardly a new thing. That delusional, pro-CCP Fazzi clown is a regular.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom K

I long for a place where only people I agree with are published.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Thanks for dealing with the touat.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Marxist communism and corporate capitalism are two sides of the same coin – namely the modern society of individuals. Marxism is infinitely the worse. They derive from the early modern disembedding of communities, families – homo economicus, Descartes’ ‘thinking statue’ and the comrade citizen are all essentially the same figure – based on a fallacious anthropology…..The Imago Dei, but shorn of its constraining connection to family, community and God (the structures of constraint and mutual obligation).
As far as green problems go, the opposition is less between the State and the Market as between the State-Market and Livelihood. We need less State, a less corporate/less global Market and more family based Livelihood.
Where as the communist state aggregates the agency of these dismebedded mobile individuals though collectivities such as the party and the union; the capitalist state relies on the market. In both cases what is lost is the familial, place-bound communitarian mesh in which individuals are nested into a series of wider attachments and affiliations. The disembedding of mobile individuals…was a precondition for nation states, communist states, democracy, liberalism……and even human rights. But the same configuration also depends on growth and an unsustainable throughput of energy and materials. This is just as true of communists states as of capitalist societies – and with the former, you get gulags and totalitarianism. To be green – we need a partial reversion to bottom up, communitarian, family and community based solidarities….These are cheaper ecologically, provide more meaning and can be closer to natural law.
The most obvious version would be E.F. Schumacher’s ‘Small Is Beautiful’ – Schumacher was a Catholic and the book is a textbook exposition of the social catholic vision of distributism ….. families with access to a means of production and some capacity for self-sufficiency… The maximal distribution of private property. So definitely not Marxism. Definitely not the bloated state bureaucracy.
It’s funny how the greens have forgotten Schumacher, Gandhi, Tolstoy. They are all now eco-modernists, materialists and hyper-individualists. There is almost nothing really green about the Green Party
In short: a market economy more geared to households, contained by a shared religion and a strong civic-national sense of community; libertarianism for families. Enough of the industrial-technological corporate economy to sustain a high level of complexity; but enough family based livelihood and shared religion to reduce the overhead of care and social regulation.

Eric Mashburn
Eric Mashburn
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There is probably no other major Western philosopher whom history has proven to have been more wrong than Karl Marx. Marx could not see beyond the “capitalism” of his times. He could not envision the economic and technological miracles capitalism would create to improve the human condition. If there is to be a viable solution to environmental problems that does not sacrifice human aspirations, it will come from new technologies born from the wealth created by capitalism.

glyn harries
glyn harries
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Sure Jim. Doubt you have ever read any Marx.

Devin Brazier
Devin Brazier
6 months ago

“Once we stop producing so much meaningless junk, we can start cutting down on general working hours, as well as getting rid of “bullshit jobs” — such as investment banking, marketing and consultancy — whose sole purpose is to make money. Other capitalist extravagances, such as same-day delivery and 24-hour supermarkets, would also be obliterated.”
Yes, that sort of messaging will really sell this plan to the public…

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Devin Brazier

The alternative to “bullshit jobs” is presumably being on the bullshit dole.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

No, no… these people will somehow conjure up a Universal Basic Income from this shrunken economy. It’s a fundamental human right, you know, to be provided for at someone else’s expense. Bullshit economics.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Universal Basic Income is simply “bullshit dole” at a slightly higher rate.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Devin Brazier

jobs…..whose sole purpose is to make money.
I’m sure the fine professor is not bogged down by material concerns. He’s certainly for no money, right? Right?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Devin Brazier

Of all the bullshit jobs, I would say “associate professor of philosophy” is one that might just make the list…

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
6 months ago

Let’s see here… green capitalism is con, green Marxism is also a con, most green NGO’s and nonprofits are cons, and no one cares about picking up trash and recycling. You know it’s almost like this modern multinational “green” movement peddled by vulture capitalists and kooky self-destructive activists is nothing more than a con to make money and gain status.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

You nailed it.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Correct. But beware these silly people. Degrowth is already very close to State policy via Net Zero and the 20 year Progressive folly. This kamikaze ideology will lead us to new Killing Fields where you dont even get topped with a bullet – it is back to basics machettes. The spirit of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge breathes through this new credo. Read up on Pol Pot! He is their Marx!! This back to Nature ultra communism is now mixed in with something way nastier derived from the modern eco/green derangement:
a yet more profound hatred of the Nature Despoilers – Mankind. Us. Anti natalism – the war on birth – is an offshoot of this anti homo sap sickness too. Together they will spell Dark Ages and Terror if we allow their poison to spread further as it is set to do thanks to dangerous fools like Skidamore, the liberal Blob & the evangelical BBC within the state machine, these mad pie in sky academics and the grubby JSO/Greta protest Brigade.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Absolutely right.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Exactly. Actually the author of this pos accidentally gave a way out: his job, since it allows a xenocidal dog whistle, is one of the bullshit jobs that needs to go.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago

I can’t see what is wrong with 24 hour supermarkets. I buy pretty much all my food from one. It is very convenient.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

To the Gulag with you MM, unthinking Gig-econ follower! What made me laugh was this idea that the Saints of his revolution would be health workers dedicates to the unselfish Good Life ideal, in sharp contrast to the immoral capitalist 1% Rich. Er Mr Degrowth Tokyo – our health workers ARE our Rich!!!!!!! Consultants are our millionaires..its is their kids who fill the private schools with Chinese and Rus super rich. One pocketed a 169k a year pension this year. THEY are the 1% and like the 3 day a Week No Show at Home GPs, were saying F-you to patients and retiring to enjoy the Good Life at 55 because the gold in their pension kitty was set to overflow into tax penalties (resulting in a special Keir like new tax law to let em gorge as much as they like Huzzah!). It is the NHS Party State, the enriched entitled Non Capitalist Rich of the ruling Progressive Blob that will stop your pie in sky Marxist daydreams, not the embattled despised wealth creators and inventors who ARE leading the tech green revolution.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
6 months ago

Communism: This Time, Somehow, Things Will Be Different

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

My thoughts exactly. It’s an interesting piece, but very idealistic. I was hoping he might go on and provide some examples of nations or even communities where these theories are working or being tried.
Regrettably Animal Farm comes to mind.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It is just naĂŻve to think that all of problems will be miraculously solved by an -ism. The real point is that people are too selfish now to ever achieve anything useful. This selfishness comes out of having an eady life for so many years.
I am in favour of being greener but ‘green by decree’ will not work. Every person must know personally what they have to do, to give up, to sacrifice, to change their lives for the good. It will never be right if ‘somebody else in the distance but not me’ has to do tbe changing.
At the moment we are still cutting down huge areas of the rain forest.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

I agree with what you are saying, however it begs the question where and how does that change in society occur? The green movement has pushed this ideology for some 40-50 years but are still considered by many to be eco-loons.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It is simply a childish belief in what science can do. The plan is 1) set a target, 2) give money away, 3) hope that technology keeps up with the plan. This is why no-one will buy into it – because it isn’t a real plan.
Take a alternative plan:
1) We will find it difficult to get gas and oil in the future. Today we must act.
2) Over the next 10 years we must, a) have power cut rotas, or b) everyone must take personal responsibilty for their energy by only heating one room, or c) we must have nuclear energy.
3) This moves the responsibility onto each individual rather than somebody, somwhere might do something in the next 40 years.
The removal of selfishness comes by working together for the same aim – like a war. You then get pride in the achievements which fuels more achievements.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago

To achieve net zero requires that we revert to the lifestyle of nineteenth century farm labourers. But we need someone to show us the way. Off you go.

Personally I think the remedies are much worse than the affliction. Humanity will adapt – but to do that we need cheap energy.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I have been anti-NetZero since it began. It is stupid, a meaningless political gesture. But you and I are in a very small minority and generation after generation will be brainwashed into believing in it. Whatever you type on your computer is meaningless.
My point is this. Any change is automatically resisted because people don’t want change. There is a tremendous amount of waste out there and it continues unabated. Because the NetZero plan says that somebody, not you or me will invent something to take away the problem. By forcing the issue to what individuals will have to suffer, by showing the waste, resistance to ideas like nuclear and gas will be eroded slowly.

T Bone
T Bone
6 months ago

Except the whole Angry Earth Earth Theory is exaggerated and Anti-Empirical. “Sustainability” as a solution to the “Earth’s imminent destruction” is an anti-realist policy created by people that want to put themselves at the top of the Planning Hierarchy.

When an area floods you move away or build levies and dams. Water levels have been going up and down since the beginning of time and will always do so. Think about all the inhabited islands now under water due to volcanic activity or earthquakes.

Climate Science relies on Anthropology. Anthropology relies on completely imprecise guesses at the conditions of the earth in the unrecorded past. The window of error is massive. To think you can design a “global plan” to reverse the ocean’s water levels is a God Complex.

Marxism is a God Complex.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

There is thousands of years worth of oil,coal,gas etc for us to plunder.
A huge oil field has been located in recent years in the Gaza territory. How sad that the Israeli government gave it back to the Palestinians. It’s like when you threw that rusty old biscuit tin out then too late remembered you’d hidden next years Xmas money in it.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

I agree. So what are you going to do?

Terry M
Terry M
6 months ago

Satire for sure.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Nobody actually wants to give up their car for a start and sensibly so.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Especially when the oligarchs fly around the world in private jets.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Modern greens are, regrettably, lunatics. Pushing ridiculous policies for problems that are at most marginal.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes. But in this belief you will lose out to the coming majority of brainwashed children, who are being terrified by nightmares of dying in flames.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

I’m not. Anyway rainforests are full of mud and spiders and incredibly boring in reality. Those tv shows with beautiful,cute or scary critters jumping about all over the place. It took a bored out of his skull wildlife cameraman two years to get that footage for a 40 minute (less ads) show.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Sorry, but I agree with you. I would cheerfully wipe the knowing smile off Chris Packham’s face.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago

People tend to make very minor “sacrifices” that there may well be other unstated reasons for. I recently had an argument with a virtue signalling person, who goes on 4 or 5 air travel holidays a year. He maintained he was already “cutting down” – from some unspecified and unrealised larger number of holidays presumably!

This is largely self delusion – the more you earn, the more you consume.

james goater
james goater
6 months ago

Indeed, and in the author’s home country, Japan, vast tracts of agricultural land, bamboo groves, and pine forests are being destroyed — to be replaced by millions and millions of solar panels.

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Venezuela is doing ever so well. Or perhaps not….

A A
A A
6 months ago

Like the Cabaret song says;
Maybe This Time…

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago

Professor Saito is correct when he says capitalism will kill us all. It is ruining the environment. He is wrong in thinking human beings can do any better. People are greedy and stupid and the sooner we go extinct the sooner all the other species on this planet will be safe, but we will probably ruin the earth for them too. Fish and birds will be eating plastic in the ocean long after we are gone.
There will be no Star Trek future. Humanity is toast, burnt toast. We deserve our fate. I never understood why we think we are special because we are conscious, it is really a curse. We get bear witness to our viciousness and cruelty, and babble on about it endlessly.
Have a nice day.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

I rather like toast. If it gets burnt, just scrape off the worst bits (not good to eat) but enjoy the rest. In fact, pretty much anything tastes good on decent toast, with lashings of butter. Jam (today), Marmite for the sake of controversy, but especially cheese or, to assist with wind-power, beans.

Have a nice life.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You Brits will eat anything.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

As opposed to your swallowing of anything.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

No, the black bits are the best, eat cold with salty butter and vintage marmalade, I am on the 2013, remove the solid crust ( my teeth are no longer up for that) and plunge the knife into the liquid blackness below..

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Steve – you’ve missed Vegemite for the Australasians and those of us that know about good tucker.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

What explains the fact that authoritarian regimes are environmental sewers and market economies are much cleaner? Head scratcher ain’t it.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What makes you think I was advocating for authoritarian regimes?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Well if capitalism is bad for the environment, and Marxism is worse, what does that leave us with?

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Fish and birds will evolve to be able to digest plastic soon enough!

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

They’ve already discovered a fungus that will break it down but very little is said about it. Probably because they want to save it for after they’ve exhausted all their “stop the curse of plastic” sales lines. Eco stuff is much more expensive than plastic, so for now it’s conveniently buried.

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Yes, this article is an academic’s fantasy 
 But did no one else, apart from Mr Greco, get even the slightest of guilty twinges? The daily number of vans bringing internet shopping to the door over Christmas? The resulting pile of cardboard boxes in the hallway? I wondered how many trees we’d got through, as my husband scrunched up yet another enormous box that  contained barely anything but paper. Over the past 20 years – if you count those that go into hedgerows – I must have planted a thousand trees on our few acres. They take forever to grow 
 Most won’t make much ‘wood’ in the years I have left. Yet internet shopping saves time that can be spent looking after and adding to those trees 
 but 
 but … Should anybody really be as rich as Bezos and Co? Oh dear, here comes another van 
 I’ve ordered another tree or two 
 Special ones of course 
 That I can only locate online 
 And they said I would have them the following day 
 
     God only knows how we could actually turn this capitalist  juggernaut, even if we wanted to.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Cheer up Ben. The birds and fishes, bless ’em, never built cathedrals, composed symphonies or created penicillin. Humans can be OK, when they make the effort.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

So you think that extinction of the human race will benefit the planet. Perhaps we could start a movement for human self-extinction and as ypu seem so keen on the idea perhaps you could lead the way.

Mark 0
Mark 0
6 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Haha yes this awful ‘humans are awful’ nihilism just winds me up so much. The absolute flip side to this pointless world view is that we are the most important thing in the entire universe – as far as we know, we are the only things in it that can contemplate its own existence. This needs protecting

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

You know where all this leads – infinitely greater regulation and restrictions on our lives. Everyone will be granted let’s say four International holidays per lifetime. What will really happen is wealthy politburo members will buy the allotment from the poor slobs who can’t travel. They get unlimited travel, we get kitchen scraps.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Buy the allotment? I’m sure there will be a way the allotment goes to the politburo members free of charge.

Peter Principle
Peter Principle
6 months ago

Prof. Saito repeats the incorrect notion that Marx likened religion to a recreational drug: “If religion was the opium of the masses in the days of Karl Marx, then today’s drug is the cult of green capitalism.” Marx used the word “opiate”, not “opium”. Opiates were, at the time, one of the more effective pain relievers for the dying.
Far from being opiates or recreational drugs, the Scottish Greens’ policies are more like insisting that the patients wears hair shirts whilst the Greens switch off their life-support machines.

Liakoura
Liakoura
6 months ago

From today’s Caixin Global News Service:
Qinghai has an ocean of solar power, but nowhere to store it.
High on the Tibetan Plateau in western China’s Qinghai province, a sea of solar panels stretches out across 345 square kilometers, making it the world’s largest photovoltaic power park. With another nearly 265 square kilometers of new panels set to be installed, the state-owned solar park in Gonghe County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, will soon occupy an area nearing the size of Chicago.
Built by Huanghe Hydropower Development Co. Ltd., [a capitalist enterprise]this park might sound like an impressive feat amid a global race towards a green transition – the comprehensive shift away from fossil fuels and a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy – but a major lack of investment in complementary power storage facilities has led to an imbalance between electricity supply and demand.
And from November 2023:
Eastern China’s Shandong province, which has more solar panels than France and Spain combined, will start giving battery storage systems so-called capacity payments for being available to help balance the grid, on top of the rates they receive for selling power, according to a policy paper published Monday by the local government. Shandong wants to boost its storage ratio to 30% of its solar capacity from the current 7%.
And as you mentioned Tesla, from Bloomberg UK, March 2023:
Tesla Inc.’s ambition to remove rare earths from future models has producers in the sector reeling, but it also should spur global efforts to deliver alternatives for electric car motors that currently rely on the materials.
Model 3 and Model Y powertrains have already reduced consumption of heavy rare earths by a quarter, and Tesla’s next drive unit includes a permanent magnet motor that doesn’t use any of the materials, Colin Campbell, vice president of powertrain engineering, said.

Danny D
Danny D
6 months ago

However far detached from reality Mr Saito may be, I find it really refreshing to read things like this on Unherd!

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago
Reply to  Danny D

Me too! Lord knows we can do with a laugh now and then!

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
6 months ago

“Of course, I am not suggesting a return to the dark communism of the Soviet Union or 20th-century China, where modes of production were nationalised by tyrannical one-party states”

Of course you aren’t! Your hands would be clean, then, when this inevitable, tyrannical outcome follows directly from your policy prescription.

“Once we stop producing so much meaningless junk, we can start cutting down on general working hours, as well as getting rid of “bullshit jobs”

Like yours.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago

I see the Professor is only 36. He obviously didn’t get a chance to appraise the merits of Stalinism first hand.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

To be fair to him, he argued neither for one party rule, nor for any central state power. However unrealistic, I think it is quite refreshing to read something different. Unherd merits its name.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago

He didn’t argue for those things, but the things he did argue for will inevitably lead to them.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago

Exactly. Having different viewpoints stimulates the mind; having the same message every day is boring.
IMO, the only problem with the ‘green technology’ being peddled around at the moment is that it is all a first attempt. Given time it will improve. The problem really is that people will not improve with it; they will continue to be lazy and selfish. The NetZero by 2050 – a politicians’ target and meaningless – leads to a waste of money and will affect poor people first. It is the artificial target which is the problem, not the concept of becomonig more green.
The worst idea around is that of putting wind turbines in the sea. Wind turbines yes; remotely in the sea no. These wind turbines will cost a fortune to maintain and that cost will be permanent for future generations. Why not take a small town and surround it by turbines? Much easier to maintain, saves having strings of pylons across the country. In that way, each person puts something into the green movement. Instead of the government doing something a vague distance away, each person sees his effect on the environment and, thereby, takes responsibility.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
6 months ago

Oh dear! we can all live in the fairy tale fantasy of having local onshore renewables for all our power needs, what bilge. All complex machinery requires maintenance. Solar, tide and wind power by themselves do not match power production with demand, and the power density (Mwats produced per Hectare) is utterly dismal compared with fossil or Nuclear power plants. To be viable, we need a high percentage of Nuclear (baseload) combined with renewables with some standby gas (for peak demand and low wind & winter). Bulk power storage needs development as well, but is nowhere mature. Also, we do need T&D infrastructure so we can import and export power from places that do have wind of sunshine (at that time) to other geographical areas that do not.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
6 months ago

Yes you have an opinion. Force everybody to have nuclear power. Good luck with that one. Why don’t you volunteer to go and maintain things for yourself instead of expecting others to do it for you?.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
6 months ago

This guy is educated beyond his intelligence.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

There’s a rhythm to this kind of revisioning. First the published canon is established and (endlessly) analysed. Then unpublished works are scrutinized for more acceptable modern interpretations. Finally (not yet happened for Marx as far as I know) there will be an alleged (often fraudulent) deathbed confession refuting all the ideas that have become unacceptable to modern sensibilities.

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
6 months ago

Anyone and everyone who calls themself a Marxist after the 20th century is an delusional idiot. Someone please hand the author a history book and tell him to go away and not come back until he’s read and understood it.

Chris Maille
Chris Maille
6 months ago

I’d rather burst up in flames than submit to ideological authoritarianism.
With the Ivy league debacle following the inability of the (ex)presidents of three ivy league schools to condemn calls for the genocide of Jews, it has become obvious to the larger public that academia has been ideologically corrupted to the core. Given the very high stakes of societal impact, it is very likely that climate science is just as ideologically corrupted and ‘climate change’ must not serve as an excuse for the call for authoritarianism.
This is a pivotal point in history where will be decided whether humanity will descend into very dark ages or if enlightenment can continue.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Maille

I’d rather burst up in flames than submit to ideological authoritarianism.
The professor’s Marxist revolution would be delighted to accommodate your request.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Maille

It’s always a pivotal point in history.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald Reagan

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
6 months ago

Oh how I laughed!

Rainer Schlötterer
Rainer Schlötterer
6 months ago

And who decides what to produce and what not? This would – as all communist experiments did in the past – again lead to scarcity, and making people “equal” on a much lower level than today while those “wise communists” who decide for the dumb masses will live in luxury. Individual freedom is not part of this dystopian vision.

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago

Presumably the answer to the question in your first sentence is “The Ministry of Production”.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Isn’t this precisely what Rachel Reeves is planning with her ÂŁ28bn investment fund – because ex Civil servant politicians are just the people we need to pick the industrial winners of the future, eh,?

Peter B
Peter B
6 months ago

“Green” is in many ways the religion of the masses these days. Or we are at least seem to be headed in that direction.
It is taken as an article of faith that we are somehow “ruining the planet” and that this is irreversible.
But hold on a moment. Was there ever a time when the state of the planet was perfect ? Or was it indeed frozen in an unchanging state ?
I suggest that neither of those were ever true.
So what makes us believe that humans can only make the planet worse ? Couldn’t we also make it better ?
This is like the perverse argument that all housing development is bad. Often made by people who wish to preserve the “perfect” state of what we already have. Which is not perfect. And was entirely created by humans.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
6 months ago

The first half of the article is actually very interesting.
I was increasingly lost in the second half.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
6 months ago

Yes, it started very solidly but went a bit rainbows and unicorns towards the end. But a lot of what he said really needs to seep into the public discourse. The baby strapped to the back of its mother, hand picking cobalt in an open cast mine in the DRC, is the poster child of this green delusion.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
6 months ago

Indeed, all too often we simply subcontract stuff so that we feel more virtuous.
(All the same, I wouldn’t want that mother to lose her job. Maybe African countries should be more… like us, but that’s another kettle of fish)

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
6 months ago

Easy to label the Prof as stuck in teenage politics. He has at least identified a big problem (the out of control global capitalism and its effect on the planet), but then dropped into the teenage black hole of Marxism as the solution.
There are things that capitalism can take care of, like churning out tv programs. But there are things that should be ring-fenced from capitalism, like energy provision, water supply, transport. Don’t need Karl, just wise government.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

Unfortunately ‘wise government’ is an oxymoron.

Graeme Creffield
Graeme Creffield
6 months ago

How old are you? Did you live through the 1970s in the UK when energy provision, water supply and public transport were nationalised? The 3 day week when you got electricity in 4 hour shifts throughout the day – 4 hours on and 4 hours off? When one or other of the transport unions would be on strike at any one time? When water cost more than it does now but there were still plenty of leaks that never got fixed and new supplies that took years to install?

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
6 months ago

In principle, state run industries don’t have chaos and inefficiency built in. This is just part of the capitalist narrative. Was it because it was nationalised, during the 1970’s and 80’s, that led to the disruption in these industries, or just the politics of the time, or a post WW2 effect? Call it student idealism if you will, but I prefer a world of cooperation to one of greed (the essential difference between the two systems). We can do better.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

I too prefer a world of cooperation to one of greed, but in any society there will be a mix of selfless and selfish people. The selfish people will always have a disproportionate effect on society. A few bad apples will spoil the barrel.
In many ways a ‘government’ is put in place to limit the impact of the few bad apples through laws and a justice system.
Unfortunately the cynic in me thinks that a ‘government’ is close to a perfect system for the bad apples to prosper. It doesn’t matter if the government is capitalist, socialist, green, or fascist. The bad apples persist.

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
6 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

A bit on the pessimistic side, but probably true. Let’s not give up!

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
6 months ago

What is greed? It’s always the other chap who is greedy, I just want my fair share of course. And why presume a state run system will be free from greed?
And you cannot exclude co-operation from a private system. In a market economy millions of people cooperate every minute of the day, often without realising. How, precisely, is a government diktat morally superior to the profit motive?
This utopian thinking leads to shortages and economic breakdown every single time. Good intentions do not keep the lights on.

Georgivs Novicianvs
Georgivs Novicianvs
6 months ago

Only Marxism can save the planet“Has not, will not. Tried, failed.

All that’s needed to bring about major political change, according to Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth, is the non-violent support of 3.5% of the population: the rest will follow.
Those Harvard political scientists… They must know a thing or two about change. Facts do not prove this thesis, though. As a citizen of the country where an attempt of political change has failed big time recently despite more than 3.5% of the population taking to the streets on a single day, I would opine that bringing about change is a more complex and challenging process.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

Unironic Marxists post-1991 terrify me. Even African dictators stopped pretending to buy into this nonsense years ago.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
6 months ago

Green capitalism is a con, because no one wants or needs it, apart from the grifters selling it. In that sense, it’s less capitalism and more akin to fascism, with an unholy alliance between the State and big industry.

In any case, this is a solution looking for a problem. Is there really a climate crisis? Is it caused by CO2 levels? Are those levels caused by mankind? These questions have not been properly debated or answered.

By all means, we should look after the environment, and prevent child labour in the Congo, but if it weren’t for eco-fascism no one would be buying an electric car anyway. Don’t blame capitalism.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The questions you refer to have been around for over 40 years, that seems plenty of time for enquiry and debate. Maybe you didn’t like the outcome?

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There are plenty of scientists with opinions contrary to the man made global warming (or is it climate change/crisis/emergency now?) hypothesis. You just won’t hear much from them because “capitalists” but really billionaire “philanthropists” don’t fund them. See what’s going on at Harvard, see what the BMG Foundation funds, and witness Neil Ferguson’s stunning performance during Covid. All paid for by billionaires with vested interests.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The contrarian scientists turn out to be funded by the oil industry, it’s no secret Exxon had a whole department dedicated to widening the sceptic message – and you folks are still falling for it now!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

And what was that outcome? Other than a few grifters proclaimed that ‘the science is settled.’ While there may have been, and may still be, time for inquiry and debate, the former is attacked and the latter has been silenced.

Antonia Willis
Antonia Willis
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Of course these questions “have been around” for 40 years. That doesn’t mean they’ve been properly debated or answered.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
6 months ago

Bring back Giles Fraser!
All is forgiven!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 months ago

Good points made here despite the unfortunate turn to Marx.
What the world needs to be reminded is that if the Democrats are behind an initiative then it is likely to have a sinister globalist slant and beholden to both transnational corporate power and the Chinese Communist Party.

Stuart Sutherland
Stuart Sutherland
6 months ago

Wasn’t it “Pol Pot” who tried this? Didn’t end well!

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago

100%. How can we forget the Khmer Rouge?! This is the Revival act!!

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
6 months ago

Only Marxism can save the planet

Yes, when we’ve all eaten our pets and been murdered or starved to death, the planet will just carry on.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The rewilded wolves will do the eating. They will inherit the planet

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

Not just any Marxian utopia, new Green Marxian utopia.
Now I’m not without sympathy for the idea of reining in consumerism, and even careful ‘degrowth’, but for me the unintended lesson behind the article is to keep the politicians well away from interfering. They end up making things worse, not better.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

Whilst I appreciate the author’s interesting views, he is completely wrong about the way forward.
Only huge projects on a national and global scale can do anything about climate change now.
The paradox being that China, the world’s biggest polluter, are demonstrating how this needs to be done with thier renewable energy projects.
The kind of cultural and societal changes the author describes are fanciful and unrealistic and seem to clash with what we know about human nature. But even if these changes were possible it would take a timescale that is not compatable with tackling the drastic effects of climate change which are already upon us.

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
6 months ago

Every Marxist based society has been a total failure often leading to the deaths in the millions. The idea that every version to date has been imperfect but the next time we’ll get it right is just a fallacy.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
6 months ago

Wherever Marxist socialism has been implemented it has impoverished those who it set out to improve.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Stokes

After a while, it starts to look as if impoverishment of the many is the goal.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
6 months ago

Wherever Marxist Sociaisml has been implemented it has failed spectacularly.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
6 months ago

The whole “green” movement was never about a (bogus) man-made climate crisis, it was always about control.

P N
P N
6 months ago

The point of Marxism wasn’t to produce less but to ensure that what was produced was enjoyed by the workers, equally, not the capitalists. It was only because Marxism was such a thoroughly inefficient system (not to mention brutal, oppressive, confiscatory, authoritarian etc etc) that less was produced. This essay is one big admission as to the inefficiency and failures of Marxism. If only it had been written at the beginning of the 21st Century those poor blighters in Russia, China, Vietnam etc might have saved themselves a lot of bloodshed.
I find the professor’s attitude to bullsh1t jobs particularly entertaining. Have you looked in the mirror recently? The idea that middle men do bullsh1t jobs is a fallacy as old as history. So you don’t like bankers? Arrange your own mortgage then. You don’t like investment bankers? Arrange you own hedge for your wheat crop then? People don’t like what they don’t understand.

Saul D
Saul D
6 months ago

“Degrowth” means make people poorer. Enforced scarcity. It demands cancellling economic development so people continue to remain in poverty.
With scarcity only the rich benefit, since they control the assets. And that then drives corruption – which is exactly what happens in the DRC leading to child labour because the poor have no other options to live.
Instead of scarcity (degrowth’s real name), what we need is abundance, but clean abundance. Cheap, clean energy as the basis – and that means nuclear power for the scale we need, with better systems of production and resource use. It needs specialism, investment and innovation to deliver more from what we have available to us, not airy-fairy non-productive emotional labour (luvvies) that only become viable as societies become rich and can afford such luxury.
If we don’t get the basics right of abundant food and production, then, as happened in Stalin’s Ukraine, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, who pursued the vapid idle Marxist theories of self-actualisation, people starve. Ideology kills, and in vast numbers, as genocides.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
6 months ago

what is this pillock smoking? ‘This time its different’ is the mantra of every marxian imbecile since the very first 700 attempts at marxist states failed, butchering millions. if he cant see that, he’s deluded and quite simply mentally ill/ retarded. and the is no ‘climate crisis’. just ‘climate bullplop alarmism’.

Lancastrian Oik
Lancastrian Oik
6 months ago

‘We need to get rid of the bullshit jobs”.

Agreed. Let’s begin with academics spouting Marxist nonsense.

Kevan Hudson
Kevan Hudson
6 months ago

The Green New Scam.
Been interesting seeing anarchists and conservatives in North America unite to fight parts of this scam such as expanded lithium mining and an EV in every garage.

Adrian Matthews
Adrian Matthews
6 months ago

Hey I tell you what – let’s not worry about the problems he identifies – which are all real – let’s just get exercised by him calling himself a Marxist. You Unheard commentariat don’t have solutions yourselves you just like to shout at others who at least try and provide a framework to get humanity out of the hole that Uber-capitalism has created. Your grandchildren won’t thank you.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago

Well, perhaps we get exorcised because we’ve read a book or two, and have some historical understanding of how Marxism works.

Mark 0
Mark 0
6 months ago

It’s a far better hole than anything communism, socialism or Marxism has put people in. Literally – with a bullet in the back of the head a lot of the time

Go and speak to someone who has actually lived in a Marxist regime, I doubt you wil find many who wish they were still living under it. My grandchildren will be proud we didn’t follow ideas from useful idiots like the author of this article, I’m sure yours will be too!

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
6 months ago

Marxism is his proposed solution so I would hope we could argue against a solution which is worse than the problem.

David Taylor
David Taylor
6 months ago

“Degrowth” however elegantly its adherents explain it, I can’t see it being anything other than advocacy for mass human extinction and a rejection of the agricultural revolution to return to a nomadic hunter/gatherer existence . (I’m not even sure Marxists could even tolerate the “Hunter” side of the equation)

Andrew Dean
Andrew Dean
6 months ago

Have a look at what Marxism did for the lands occupied by the USSR. Take the disaster of the Aral Sea as your first example.

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
6 months ago

The notion that it only take 3.5% of the population to support a change (and non-violently at that) and the rest will follow sounds to me like an extreme case of survival bias.

Jack Martin Leith
Jack Martin Leith
6 months ago

Complex issues (some call them wicked problems) don’t have root causes, but capilalism is certainly a significant factor.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago

The West has been fooled into thinking that a combination of futuristic green technologies and green growth will save humanity from the climate crisis. 
Let’s be honest here: a group of power-seeking individuals and activists might think this, but a huge swath of the populace hasn’t been “fooled” by anything. They know a con when they see one. The one question no one in the cult wants to answer is this: why would any sane person give even more power to govt officials who can scarcely manage their basic duties?
We cannot solve a problem created by capitalism while still preserving capitalism.
Reduced poverty is, indeed, quite the problem. So are rising living standards. We can’t have that. By all means, let’s replace the one system of organizing an economy that works with one of the many that does not. What could go wrong.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago

Homo Sapiens ( a single Genus Species)
Like it or not confronts a crossroads
Take the wrong turn then without doubt extinction certain as Genetically , evolutionary, biologically and as communal species nor societyly equipped
To deal with rapid environmental change
Brought about by climate change whose
Consequences are ever increasingly Amplifying with each amplification having a far greater impact than the preceding

Take the correct turn which is Total revolution and create a new civilisation
Based solely on one of being a Eco , environmentally sustainable society
With only 2 rules
1.Do nothing to harm the ground you stand upon not The waters you depend on
2. Ditto for the Air you breathe

Why
Because there shall always be enough for everyone’s NEEDS ( Not Wants )

And never ever shall there be enough for even one persons greed

The choice is yours and entirely yours

Personally ‘ I Don’t give a Damm ‘
I’ve done my bit by the planting of millions of trees all maturing rapidly and sinking millions of tonnes of Co 2

For those that think otherwise then indeed you and your family are Doomed
Happy Dying to you and have a whale of a time as you consume and expire

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

To all those who have down voted both my comments
All I can say is the only thing that is in excess of your ignorance is your Stupidity
Go research and start with Methane
28 times more potent than CO2
and becomes effective at heating very
Soon after emission
Whilst CO2 takes over 20 yrs to commence heating

In 2023 Methane production and release reached record levels and beginning to
Grow expodentially
This all brought about in main by accelerating climate change in the form of increased rainfall which in turn increases wetland areas this then leads to rapid growth of Bacteria and Algae which then die, sink to the bottom where
Lying in wait are Anaerobic bacteria
Who then feast and as a waste product
Omit Methane
A fine example of Consequential Amplifications of any change due to global warming
Today Methane levels in the atmosphere
Are now in excess of the historical high
60,000 yrs ago
These historical levels are actually quite simple to study along with their resultant
Effects
In climate change terms these levels are
Classified as The Terminal Phase of Climate change ,in that once begun NOTHING can be done to prevent the consequential effects
The last time this occurred then the Whole of the Greenland ice shelf melted

Go work that out and see if you can work out
The amplifying consequences , such as more rapid warming, increase in rainfall,
Ocean current changes ,loss of agricultural lands , rapid species extinction and the Sth Antarctic ‘ Doomsday Glacier rapidly collapsing into the Ocean
And far more ongoing cataclysmic effects
We have just learned that in 2023 the planet warmed by more than 1.5 C
Albeit for a few days only
But considered wisdom predicts 2024 shall be even warmer
And at the very least expect in areas such as Southern Europe , N.China plains
Countries around the Equator
That WET heat in excess of 35 C
Is highly probable
This scenario means that The Human body can no longer prespire sweat and dies within a short time frame

Feel free to downvote and clearly demonstrate your complete and utter stupidity
Once more personally ‘ I don’t give a Damn ‘

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
6 months ago

Have you written this Marxist drivel for a bet? Another case of “my version of Marxism will work this time”. How arrogant this is, the toll of Marxist experiments we have tried already came with a butchers bill of over 100 million murders in the 20th century. Not once has Marxism been a success.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
6 months ago

The author is correct to point out that there are just not enough minerals available on the planet to achieve Net Zero with current or nascent technologies and to highlight the environmental and social damage that the futile attempts to mine enough of them is causing.
Where he is wrong is in believing that climate change is a problem to be solved. Climate change is an entirely natural phenomenon that has been occurring continuously since the Earth was formed. We go into and out of ice ages on a cycle measured in geological timescales without any help from human activities. We are currently still emerging from the last ice age and the planet will continue to warm until its natural maximum is reached. CO2 levels are currently very low compared with geological maxima and immiserating ourselves to slightly reduce the 4% of atmospheric CO2 caused by human activities is self-harm on a massive scale.
It is indeed possible that anthropomorphic CO2 emissions are causing the climate to warm slightly faster than it would otherwise but the end point is the same and unavoidable. The Maldives are doomed. Spending $Ts to give them a few more decades above the waves is just stupid. We need to concentrate on adaptation, which will be technologically entirely achievable and a great deal cheaper.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
6 months ago

One of the funniest articles published by UnHerd for a long time. Utter bilge leavened with lack of accuracy and salted with ranting.

Daniel P
Daniel P
6 months ago

This all assumes that there actually IS a climate emergency. I am not convinced.

Yes, the climate is changing. It has always changed, sometimes radically as multiple ice ages have shown.

There are only two questions that need to be asked.

How do we adapt to a changing climate?To what meaningful degree is human activity impacting the rate of change and does it matter?

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Oh believe you sooner than you think
Be convinced and beyond all reasonable doubt
Keep doubting you are merely tightening
The noose around you neck and shaking the stool you stand upon
Ranting against this has only one result
And that is the collapse of the stool
Along with a gap ( No matter how small )
Between your toes and terra firma
Happy Swinging as times truly flies bye

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
6 months ago

Oops. One of the shut-it-all-down environmentalists said the quiet part out loud. They want us living in grass huts huddling together for body warmth until eventually the hateful human race just dies out.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago

I worked for a successful company that published a leading consulting magazine and produced useful data and analyses for a broad number of industries, including agriculture and medical products. Its least successful area offered webinars explaining how to find jobs in the new “green” economy. The webinars on average would attract just seven listeners. They were cancelled if less than five signed up. There were lots of cancellations.

As the producer of those webinars, I often found myself rolling my eyes at the sheer kookery of the “green” content – much of it combined with “wellness” and career coaching.

Last I heard, the company was a shell of its former self. The green nonsense was the first to go, of course.

Jae
Jae
6 months ago

Is this person for real? He really believes we just didn’t do Marxism right yet? I’d be laughing if it wasn’t so blindly pathetic.

What, Marx wasn’t racist or antisemitic enough, or not enough millions were killed under communism?

Maybe we shouldn’t blame the author, he needs help. How about we put the blame for this on Unherd. Perhaps they thought it hilarious to have a contributor who uses the Philippines as an example of the future for everyone. Can’t think why you’d do it otherwise.

I’m a brand new subscriber and I can tolerate a certain level of this nonsense because I like the fact this ludicrous thinking is exposed. But I can only take so much of it.

Richard C
Richard C
6 months ago

Wow.
Unherd does a valuable service to its readers by publishing this drivel; although, I am not entirely sure that the editors appreciate how intellectually, historically and economically vacuous this piece is.

John Riordan
John Riordan
6 months ago

This is one of those times when the mountain of bullshit is so enormous that I don’t even know where to start.

I’ll come back to this later to comment in more detail and to read the other comments, which are certain to be much more enjoyable than the stream of gibberish above, but one point I will make is that irrespective of whether any of the claims above are true, the entire argument is a category error: capitalism is not the culprit for any of the technical and environmental challenges described. It is corporatism and statism that are to blame for any of these problems, and as for the notion that technology and competent policy cannot solve them, to say this in world where we discovered huclear power 80 years ago and are still burning hydrocarbons for energy, is tin-eared beyond belief.

Anyway, fools like this cannot get round the fact that they are trying to sell poverty to 8 billion humans who know better. Good luck with that.

Well done to Unherd for printing this, by the way. It’s important to be able to prove ideological neutrality, and this ought to cover the magazine for the whole of the year on that score.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It is corporatism and statism that are to blame for any of these problems,
That right there. And, of course, the author’s answer to the statism that has created the issue is an even more strident version of statism.

Xenofon Papadopoulos
Xenofon Papadopoulos
6 months ago

The article makes some good points, unfortunately invalidated by the conclusion that the solution is the Marxist apocrypha. In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek (hardly a Marxist :)) argues that strong government regulation, and in some cases even control, is the only way to prevent pollution and other externalities. In The Price of Tomorrow, Jeff Booth argues that an economic model that doesn’t require constant growth will soon be inevitable, due to technological progress. I think there’s a valuable discussion to be had without focusing on Marxism.

Mark 0
Mark 0
6 months ago

I think others have put it better than me but I too am glad unherd publishes all sorts of views, including this. But it also gives us a chance to critique it and…oh my word I don’t even know where to start. How are people like this qualified? He cites “bullshit jobs” as if he could be the arbiter of what is or isn’t useful but as all good socialists, doesn’t think to look at himself. How useful is his work? Not very I would say. But it’s of value to someone as he still manages to sell books and lectures.

Honestly the utter lack of self awareness is frightening, his dictating what should and shouldn’t be in a society is where the slide towards the gulags starts. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It would be funny if he wasn’t serious. perhaps he is trolling us all.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

This unknown eco-friendly Karl Marx is he like all those noble Native American chiefs and their eleagic speeches written by 1970s white,male professors of academia involved in eco-activisn.

A A
A A
6 months ago

Also a con;
Climate changeMarxism

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
6 months ago

He has a point you know…. Dead people produce zero carbon emissions and Marxism does like making dead people.

R F
R F
6 months ago

This clearly shows the symbiotic relationship between green/net zero and Marxism. From the beginning the global warming faction has been in bed with collectivist totalitarianism. Thank you Saito, you cosmic justice warrior. You will surely save us from this evil prosperity. We pray he leads us back to our natural state of poverty, disease, and starvation.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

At least this academic poser is honest about the intentions of climate fear addicts. Green capitalism dooms society as much as Marxism. This poser simply wants Marxism to exercise its unchallenged ability to kill people at xenocidal levels on a global stage. What this lunatic is proposing is basically a Khmer Rouge communist solution. Pol Pot, the psychopath who led the Khmer Rouge, led Csmbodia to self liquidate a huge percentafe of its own people in pursuit of a pastoral, slow growth agrarian communist paradise. Killing folks for wearing dentures, glasses, having books, failing to embrace the KR paradise, or just plain starvation. Marxism is the worst conceivable form of governance. It is a deadly meme that seemsvto infect those who claim to be smart or care about the people. It accomplishes only ignorance, want, and death. Shame on this poser of an academic.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

Any article that discusses environmental issues without mentioning the catastrophic impact of unconstrained human population growth isn’t worth a fig.

Mark 0
Mark 0
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Except it isn’t catastrophic as western countries are not replacing those who die fast enough. The long term trend is lower population which is more catastrophic than anything greta Thunburg can dream up. Leading the world in this trend is the author’s home country

Andrew Symes
Andrew Symes
6 months ago

“as Marx instructed…”
I now know that such people exist and are alive and well in the academies, preparing our young people for life in the real world!

Nardo Flopsey
Nardo Flopsey
6 months ago

I’ll quote Doomberg in response to all those who advocate for abdicating modern life in order to save the planet: You go first.

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
6 months ago

Free markets are unparalleled at satisfying people’s desires. Sadly, people don’t always want the right things.
But where, in actual history, has a state-run economy done better at meeting people’s basic needs, and protecting people’s basic rights, than a free-market system?
Practice, not theory.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
6 months ago

Where did you find this lunatic? I wonder if I have to share the Earth with someone like this good professor, is the Earth worth saving?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
6 months ago

The folly, to my mind, of socialism is the idea that some people know what we should do to save the world.

Capitalism has many very significant flaw but thinking that there some clever clogs out there with the answers is not one of them.

Brian Lemon
Brian Lemon
6 months ago

What an absurd, blinders-on, one-dimensional piece…it’s fortunate this guy lives in an ivory tower and not a position of influence.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
6 months ago

The idea is that certain public goods — such as water, electricity, shelter, healthcare and education — should be managed and shared by every member of society, independent from the markets.
I quite liked the social democracy of the Helmuth Schmidt variety, which was in a good place in the 70’s and early 80s. It also contained a far-seeing social contract between the stakeholders and reduced, for one, wildcat strikes etc.
From my observations, the privatisation of what were previously public enterprises has resulted in a deterioriation in quality of service and value for money in most areas.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
6 months ago

A brave attempt. We know the illness, but need to take care that the cure does not have unintended consequences. Citing Marxism and Communism after their unintended (by some at least) consequences is risky. ‘Market failure’ was a popular term not long ago, but I do not find it in the essay. On a positive note, we have a mass of experience, knowledge and examples to draw on that were much more limited in the 19th century. We also have well integrated states (even the UK’s!) which appear necessary to effect equitable socially-beneficial distribution of the essential public, and naturally limited, goods that Dr Saito lists. Now there’s a new kid on the block – carbon tax. Let’s see if that could work, as it may be a model for managing other extractive/externality-generating resources.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago

hayek

Martin M
Martin M
6 months ago

Bless you!

Phil Mitchell
Phil Mitchell
6 months ago

I will take my chances on climate change, which may or may not kill me, to the certain death of my existence under Marxism.

Su Mac
Su Mac
6 months ago

I laughed at the observation that buying a Tesla fixes everything though. I have a family member – very NetZero – who has 2 electric cars and just this year has flown his family for holidays across Europe and lately to Australia. Cancels it all out yeah?

David Butler
David Butler
6 months ago

The only thing that will “save the planet” is depopulation.
Given that communism is the most successful ideology, in terms of mass extermination, I suppose the author has a point.

william langdale
william langdale
6 months ago

The marxist states of Eastern Europe were the worst polluters of all time and no one there has ever been held accountable.According to the UN,Bittefield (?) in the GDR was the most polluted town on earth and the Danube was basically a river of liquid metal.Exxon got fined billions and has to clean up after the Exxon Valdez,none of those totalitarian states have ever cleaned up.Good to see Unherd giving air time to such thoughts but bl00dy hell,delusional.

N Austin
N Austin
6 months ago

And who are these righteous people deciding what’s needless junk? My best guess is that it will be the very same people running the green capitalism con. The only difference is that the cabal making the calls will be a one-world government because obviously, different countries will never agree on what is needed and what is not any more than individuals. On the positive side, since all resources will be directed to the few decision makers, the rest of us will suffer, die, and the Earth’s climate will be saved, praise the lord! And you won’t have to worry about toiling at a boring job because you’ll be too busy just trying to survive. Sounds like a good premise for a science fiction apocalypse novel–mind if I use your ideas? Or is it close enough to “Hunger Games” that the novel might be considered plagiarism?

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
6 months ago

George Orwell: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”A while since I’ve read such delusional tosh

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

Let’s ignore the ever-growing standard of living in the developing world and in the developed world.

Jean Pierre Noel
Jean Pierre Noel
6 months ago

Perhaps the most ridiculous piece I have read in years. Unreal.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
6 months ago

A Higher Education equivalent of Greta Thunberg. High on emotion, low on knowledge and devoid of understanding – but nevertheless determined to be heard.

Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago

I didn’t read this but was “late-stage capitalism” in there?

G M
G M
6 months ago

“we can start cutting down on general working hours, as well as getting rid of “bullshit jobs” — such as ” professors who write nonsense such as this.

David Murphy
David Murphy
6 months ago

Finally someone has the knowledge and courage to advocate the only sound answer to not just the environmental crisis but the general civilizational crisis of neo-liberal, globalized capitalism. I get so tired of the lazy respone to anyone talking about Marxism (look at the Soviet Union etc). It’s equivalent to pointing to Nazi Germany and other fascist (but capitalist) states to dismiss capitalism (although the happy-faced authoritarianism of current western governments is the eerily reminiscent). Capitalism has had its day; should have been dumped when the west had a chance in the ’30s and again in the ’70s. I just hope it is not too late for us and the planet.

edmond van ammers
edmond van ammers
6 months ago

Unfortunately, though he is theoretically correct, like all Marxists, he is naive to biologically determined human nature.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
6 months ago

I can understand the reactions of the Unheard readers to this article, I think the words he used caused many of the stirs. This needs to be seen as an article about how we can make the world better. The WHO thinks about this https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/08-07-2022-who-launches-a-new-initiative-to-place-well-being-at-the-heart-of-economic-recovery, so does the EU, and may other thinkers (just do a search), https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/10/24/economy-of-wellbeing-the-council-adopts-conclusions/
I think if he would have used the words like health in its more modern definition about overall wellbeing being linked to the health of your environment, how to give people agency, how to make sure there is more equity and security at the same time etc, it may have received differently. I am sure that in a way we all want what he wants but we are worried what may happen, that we loose our securities. It is a very difficult and complicated issue and will take generations to come about if it does come about. There is no harm in positive thinking, if we just say oh it cannot be done, are we really caring about the next generations ? ‘our children’?

Peter Bradley
Peter Bradley
6 months ago

So by “Capitalism” the writer really means the basic human desire to improve our lot by our own toil and inventiveness. I’m sure the “south” can’t wait to hear that their aspirations to improve their lot need to be reevaluated through a eco-Marxist lens.

Waffles
Waffles
6 months ago

He wants to allocate shelter (ie houses) without using markets. So who will decide who can live where? A People’s Committee of far left extremists, doling out houses to their mates and people with “preferred identities”.

Marxism killed more people than Nazism, so why aren’t Marxists shut down and deplatformed as hate speakers?

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
6 months ago

I will cancel my sub if I get any more of this drivel. The only thing that can produce degrowth is a police state. No thanks.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
6 months ago

It all sounds wonderful: we dust off assorted notes by Marx, do a bit of editing and then read Capital for clues that he meant something other than what he wrote. But the biggest omission is how will ‘the people’ will run everything. That’s what Communist governments told their subject masses was happening, even though it obviously wasn’t. A real village can have meetings to decide matters that only affect the village. The ‘Global Village’ can’t.

William Cameron
William Cameron
6 months ago

This is a good point spoilt by linking it to Marx. Capitalism is destroying the planet. There is no doubt about that.
The hard bit is what should we do differently to maintain comfortable lives while looking after the planet.

Mike Buchanan
Mike Buchanan
6 months ago

Anyone who believes that the solutions to anything could come from Karl Marx is, in my view, certifiably insane. 100+ million deaths, and untold suffering, just aren’t enough for “academics” who should all be fired and do something more useful to society e.g. sweep the streets.
Mike Buchanan
JUSTICE FOR MEN & BOYS
CAMPAIGN FOR MERIT IN BUSINESS
LAUGHING AT FEMINISTS

David Barnett
David Barnett
6 months ago

Even if the CO2 alarmists were correct about a CO2 mediated climate apocalypse, their remedy requires 100% compliance which is not possible even under the most tyrannical regime. i.e. Doomed to failure along with a total loss of liberty “side-effect”.

Any “remedy” requiring 100% compliance by 100% of the people for success is no remedy. Find another approach!

In the case of climate change (which has always happened), that other approach is adaptation to changing circumstance.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Adaptions to changing circumstances in this scenario is utterly futile
Why
Because the one sure fire way to rapidly change the living environment and interconnected ecosystem is to bring about huge climatic changes
Such can but only lead to mass extinction which actually is underway already
Almost zero species are genetically , biologically or evolutionary equipped to do so
All by the most simplest of facts that the changes taking place are at a far faster pace than adaptation changes required

A simple fact for you
Once a population collapse of 97% occurs then their is no known case of species recovery and extinction is certain
Why because the 0.1 to 3 % who survive
Cannot procreate and increase population fast enough before the next calamity befalls them such as disease
The Numbers soon dwindle untill zero reached
The only possible way out is for a species to evolve rapidly into a new species but such is almost impossible to do so in a very short time frame
A thousand years represent a tiny fraction of just one second in matters of time
And time is the only thing that makes things possible
The less the time then less are the possibilities

This is a unarguable universal truth that none can defy

Tom Hedger
Tom Hedger
6 months ago

I reckon that if about 60 or 70% of population are in favour of something you can get about 3.5% of that population out to protest in support of it, Not the other way round.

Pip G
Pip G
6 months ago

Utopian Marxism is not the solution, although the harms raised by the author are real.
It is not ‘capitalism’ which is the problem, but misallocation of capital combined with Western obsession with ‘the economy’, pursuit of material goods and neglect of society.
(1) Climate change is an existential crisis, the effects of which are just beginning. Internationally Co-ordinated governments must wake up.
(2) Governments must take the lead with massive public organisation of new projects with public spending; facilitating the use of private capital. Hence ‘reallocation of capital’. Example: USA & UK need new energy transmission systems to take electricity reliably from nuclear power stations, wind farms, etc. In California pylons are falling starting wild fires.
(3) The inherent creativity of science and engineering must be set loose. Wind farms, hydrogen or capture may not (yet?) work, but solutions can be found.
(4) Capital must be re-directed with a stop to mining & oil extraction, and direction to sustainable agriculture and energy use.
(5) The ‘North’, particularly Europe, will face mass migration from the south as north Africa becomes desert. Conversely global population is likely to fall over decades (a good thing).
(6) ‘Society’ (now a collection of self seeking individuals) must go back to building society, community, the local, recycling, etc. Cheap, limited use junk goods must end.
These are just my suggestions; but if we continue to ignore the problem, with facile solutions, it will be harmful: not to me (see? Back to ‘self’) but to my great-grandchildren.

Joel Dungate
Joel Dungate
6 months ago

The writer argues for a de-growth communist form of living but not, of course, like the Soviet Union. The major issue, it seems to me, is that such a thing requires common purpose, a co-operative mentality shared by all. It needs to be voluntary. But unless there’s a shared sense of belonging (a strong sense of national unity or, better still, a widely shared Christian story/ethic) then such a utopian vision will necessarily prove authoritarian. It will have to be enforced with violence. It will be bloody like all communist regimes have been. I read nothing here about how to instil a strong sense of ‘we’ as Scruton put it.

Matt Rogers
Matt Rogers
6 months ago

I’ve always felt that capitalism is falsely applied to corporate communism which is aligned with government. How would removing resources from market access really help? It wouldn’t because since the corporate/government relationship would control them all of a sudden forced scarcity happens.
Communism has benefited the ruling class while crushing innovation, upstarts, and opportunity creation. Corporatism does the same in business. These strategies would be the death warrant for freedom, opportunity creation, and true sustainability.

Paul Melzer
Paul Melzer
6 months ago

Devilishly hard to get past the subtitle.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Melzer

Yes – incredible that Marx can still evoke such strong feelings! The USSR may be gone but I don’t think his intellectual challenge ever will be. At the most basic level, even a soggy liberal like me can see that the idea of green capitalism may possibly not work. May possibly even be a con. The most coherent objector to it is Andreas Malm, self-styled eco-Leninist, whom the author really should have mentioned.

Peter Daly
Peter Daly
6 months ago

This is the most loathsome drivel I have read in a very long time. It’s extraordinary that following the death of 100 Million people by the communists in the last century that we still have Marxist academics. We would be shocked to find an academic who espouses the Nazi philosophy but it’s ok it seems to have academics promulgate this evil doctrine. I can’t be bothered to refute his nonsense about the people making collective decisions about energy aka the totalitarian self serving party representing itself as the people. This juvenile drivel should not have been published here.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago

Marxist communism and corporate capitalism are two sides of the same coin – namely the modern society of individuals. They derive from the early modern disembedding of communities, families – homo economics, Descartes thinking statue and citizen smith are all the same figure. Where as the communist state aggregates the agency of these dismebedded mobile individuals though collectivities such as the party and the union; the capitalist state relies on the market. In both cases what is lost is the familial, place-bound communitarian mesh in which individuals are nested into a series of wider attachments and affiliations. The disembedding of mobile individuals…was a precondition for nation states, communist states, democracy, liberalism……and even human rights. But the same configuration also depends on growth and an unsustainable throughput of energy and materials. This is just as true of communists states as of capitalist societies – and with the former, you get gulags and totalitarianism. To be green – we need a partial reversion to bottom up, communitarian, family and community based solidarities….These are cheaper ecologically, provide more meaning and can be closer to natural law. The most obvious version would be Schumacher’s Small Is beautiful – Schumacher was a catholic and the book is a textbook exposition of the social catholic vision of distributism ….. families with access to a means of production and some capacity for self-sufficiency… The maximal distribution of private property. So definitely not Marxism. Definitely not the bloated state bureaucracy.
In short: a market economy more geared to households, contained by a shared religion and a strong civic-national sense of community; libertarianism for families. Enough of the industrial-technological corporate economy to sustain a high level of complexity; but enough family based livelihood and shared religion to reduce the overhead of care and social regulation.

glyn harries
glyn harries
6 months ago

Don’t entirely agree with all of this, for example efficiencies and recycling can massively lower resource use but good to wee this argument made.