Climate change, shocks and growth

Submitted by AWL on 25 May, 2021 - 6:21
'System change not climate change' placard

We don’t know how climate shocks will impact on capitalism. (See Todd Hamer, Solidarity 593, response to my letter in Solidarity 590.) We do know that capitalism is adept at making phases of destruction (wars, natural disasters) into prompts for booms, and that its chief trigger of crisis is periods of exceptional construction (booms).

Capitalism’s great period of (relatively, and only very relatively) smooth growth was the 1950s and 60s. The last 40 years have brought slower growth (except in some countries, like China) and more and sharper crises. Triumphalism is increasingly shouldered aside in bourgeois politics by calls like “Make America Great Again” and “Take Back Control”. Not for the better.

This is evidently a longer debate than short letters can handle. That already-locked-in climate changes will bring escalating natural disasters is spur enough to activate us.

We don’t need to add in dubious speculation about them triggering generalised property-price crashes, or ending capitalist growth.

Chris Reynolds, London

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