The “Green New Deal”

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 12:57
green new deal

Marxist ecologist John Bellamy Foster has commented on the “Green New Deal” proposed notably by the new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez.

I am impressed by some aspects of it. She calls for mass mobilisation, which is indeed necessary. She also calls for innovative forms of financing, such as setting up a network of public banks to finance it directly, modelled after the New Deal, and through much higher marginal tax brackets on the rich and corporations, going back to what we once had in the United States. The revenues could be used to finance a massive shift toward solar and wind power. She connects this to a wide array of social issues.

But none of this will really work, even if it were possible to legislate it, given the system, unless it takes on the character of an ecological revolution with a broad social base. Hence, a radical Green New Deal is, at best, just the entry point to such wider, eco-revolutionary change, involving the self-mobilization of the population. If it does not spark an ecological revolution, its effect will be nil... What kind of financial incentives could be given to energy companies when they own trillions of dollars in fossil fuel assets, and they have a vested interest in this system Exxon-Mobil has declared they will extract and burn all the fossil fuel assets that they own, which are buried in the ground, because they own them and because they can profit from them — knowing full well that this would be a death sentence for humanity.

There is no way that mere incentives are going to change that. So far, even the subsidies for fossil fuel exploration have not been removed. Regulation won’t work in the present system since corporations always capture the regulatory process. To alter the present political-economic-energy matrix would require changes in ownership of means of production — in this case, fossil fuels.

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