With the latest wave of capitalism targeted aggression running rife after the DAVOS climate conference, the attitudes towards socialism are swinging and momentum has been gathering for the cause. Resident socialist, Bernie Sanders is leading the way in national polling across the pond in the United States – whilst in the UK, socialism has been gathering steam under a recently deceased Corbyn campaign but succeeded by arguably far more irritating leadership runners like Rebecca Long-Bailey.
One of the biggest cases put forward by socialists is the economic inequality argument. It stems from a disdain for billionaires and the perceived notion of an elite, aristocratic ruling class shitting on the peasants from a golden balcony.
Climate change activists use this as a springboard to attempt to strengthen the cause by throwing in terms like ‘Runaway Capitalism’ and ‘Eco-fascism’ which have helped to paint an awful image of free markets.
But there are many reasons why this is ill-founded and not strictly true and even more reason why the fake morality argument to justify hardline socialist policy is even more wrong.
Capitalism has helped more than you think
One of the big lies that is always told is that hardline socialism will rectify the problems that capitalism caused. The idea of redistributionist policies to ‘level the playing field’ economically also leave no room for innovation. Socialism and government-enforced policies have done little for the climate bar the enforcing of mandatory catalytic converter installations on cars to curb emissions.
A capitalist fueled industrial revolution triggered worldwide may be a leading cause of climate change, but it has done more to fix it. Clean energy sources such as wind and solar power were invented by private companies (The company Bell Labs invented the solar panel whereas the United States Wind, Engine and Pump Co. invented the Wind turbine).
For all the stick billionaires get, not all of them are nasty people. Elon Musk is a PRIME example of a capitalist success story profiting from the carbon-neutral Tesla range with aims to innovate new technologies.
It turns out when public attitudes dictate the direction, companies can react and fill the gap. The reality is profitability drives the investment needed to undertake big tasks like going carbon neutral. There is not a tax hike in the world that could generate the GDP needed to completely offset shutting down fossil fuel power so why not explore the market options? Other options like carbon capture technology and nuclear power are still ignored by many (NOT ALL) climate activists and debate is rampant in the community.
Socialism is useless in the pursuit of climate neutrality
Socialism has a chequered past to say put it very mildly. It is a system that relies on the complete usurpation of power and resources, by an often untrustworthy government to redistribute how it sees fit.
Leading socialists like Corbyn and Sanders will have you believe that it is all the fault of capitalism and can only be fixed with – what is effectively, a government clampdown. But a shift to carbon neutrality cannot be made under a socialist regime unless we decide to give up basic freedoms under an elitist ruling class.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is much easier to hold a corporation accountable for so-called ‘climate crimes’ that it is governments. Governments are elected out granted, but over a four year period, governments can make or break countries. Corporations and private services are directly subject to the whims of the people. If I don’t like a company, whether it be for moral, economic, environmental or political reasoning, I and many others can take their British pounds elsewhere. I cannot avoid the government as avoiding taxes is a crime.
Capitalism has played its part in climate change but not any other socioeconomic system has done more to combat it whilst socialism sits on the sidelines. It gets an unfair reputation and so do billionaires.
When it comes to climate change, all options need to be discussed. Instead of feet stomping and demanding ‘more action, now’, all of our choices and directions should be on the table. We shouldn’t sit back in our bubbles of partisanship and castigate those on the other side as stupid or ignorant. This is my view and a view held by many, but it is time to open up the discussion and I’m ready to hear all the arguments. Are you?