Readers respond to George Monbiot’s piece on doing away with the current economic model and the recent Extinction Rebellion climate protests
George Monbiot (Time to declare the system dead – before it takes us down with it, 25 April) says he has slowly and reluctantly rejected capitalism because the endless impulse for growth and wealth creation ineluctably drives climate change. Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, in his global justice seminar at the Extinction Rebellion protests, focused more on neoliberalism – the even more rapacious, ever-expanding incarnation of capitalist exploitation of people and planet over the last four decades – as the driver of global climate inequality and impending calamity. But left-of-centre ideologies also focus on growth in the bid to tackle inequality, with social and economic priorities overshadowing ecological imperatives.
This paper has had occasional discussions of the degrowth movement. In one such, Christiane Kliemann (Let’s face it: we have to choose between our economy and our future, 23 January 2015) posited that once we have accepted there are only radical options left, we have a choice between our economy and our future if we are to meet everybody’s needs more sustainably and equitably, using fewer resources. More focus on degrowth on the political left, and more analysis in these pages of its underpinnings and its potential, could contribute to movements for creating a global economy that can truly be described as “ours”, and a future not only for those of us in the global north, but also a present for those in the global south already experiencing the ravages of growth-driven climate change.