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counterpunch, 13 janvier 2013

Informations internationales : The Political Economy of Climate Change

par Rob URIE

By reports, 2012 was the warmest year in recorded history in the U.S. The last decade was the warmest on record globally. Even for those arguing other hypotheses also fit the warming climate, the consistency of warming, the joint probability in statistical terms, must give pause because the consequences are (1) very far along already and (2) potentially catastrophic in excess of previous human experience. Alternative hypotheses not only need to be plausible in a general sense, they require specific explanations of how consistently the climate has warmed. In fact, there are no other plausible explanations of both the direction and consistency of climate change.

The ‘man-made’ warming hypothesis fits the timeline of the growth of industrial capitalism reasonably well. Non-capitalist industry, more recent in history but existent nonetheless, has accompanied capitalist imperialism- the spread of global capitalism as a system of domination, control and expropriation. To some extent the growth of non-capitalist industry has been a reaction to the threat of capitalist imperialism. It poses both an internal and external threat to non-capitalist economies, to the extent they still exist. In fact, capitalism was conceived to bring about an alternative political order and it appears to have done so quite successfully.

Capitalism is put forward as a mode of social organization that creates vast wealth. Capitalist imperialism has managed to expropriate vast wealth–that much is evident. If the catastrophic consequences of global warming come to pass even this wealth will have proved an illusion. In a philosophical sense, it seems a metaphor—we enter this world with nothing and leave it with nothing, why then would the devotion of entire lives to material acquisition constitute a plausible explanation of existence as capitalists have it ? And why would a system based on local rationalities, personal economic striving, such as Adam Smith’s petite bourgeois shopkeeps organized into global corporations, be expected to lead to global rationalities—positive collective outcomes, outside of the internal logic of capitalist ideology ?



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    éditeur : Frank Brunner | ouverture : 11 novembre 2000 | reproduction autorisée en citant la source