- Rob Nixon's review of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything nicely sums up why the book - and the fundamental clash it documents between corporate profit-seeking and the health of people and our planet - should be at the centre of our political conversation:
(N)eoliberalism — promotes a high-consumption, carbon-hungry system. Neoliberalism has encouraged mega-mergers, trade agreements hostile to environmental and labor regulations, and global hypermobility, enabling a corporation like Exxon to make, as McKibben has noted, “more money last year than any company in the history of money.” Their outsize power mangles the democratic process. Yet the carbon giants continue to reap $600 billion in annual subsidies from public coffers, not to speak of a greater subsidy: the right, in Klein’s words, to treat the atmosphere as a “waste dump.”- Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg writes that we should see Stephen Harper's gross failure to do anything about climate change as his greatest scandal. And Bob Weber reports that NAFTA's Commission on Environmental Cooperation is just the latest environmental watchdog to be put down by the Cons - highlighting both the ineffectiveness of trade agreements in serving any interests other than profit maximization, and Harper's own hostility toward the world around us.
So much for the invisible hand. As the science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson observed, when it comes to the environment, the invisible hand never picks up the check....In democracies driven by lobbyists, donors and plutocrats, the giant polluters are going to win while the rest of us, in various degrees of passivity and complicity, will watch the planet die. “Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews,” Klein writes. “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.”...To change economic norms and ethical perceptions in tandem is even more formidable than the technological battle to adapt to the heavy weather coming down the tubes. Yet “This Changes Everything” is, improbably, Klein’s most optimistic book. She braids together the science, psychology, geopolitics, economics, ethics and activism that shape the climate question.
- John Nichols sees the U.S. as a prime (and painful) example of what happens when politics are governed by money rather than by people. But Mary Hansen and Kayla Schultz note that on at least a few fronts, voters nonetheless voted against corporate money and power in the recent midterm elections.
- Of course, that positive takeaway depends on voters actually having the chance to express their views. And Bruce Johnstone writes that the Sask Party is determined to prevent both public opinion and empirical evidence from interfering with their drive to privatize liquor retailing.
- Finally, Dr. Dawg exposes the barbarism behind the Cons' treatment of refugees and other vulnerable immigrants. But we shouldn't pretend the problem of dehumanizing perceived outsiders is limited to that issue alone, as Tabatha Southey notes that the Cons are similarly bent on depriving sex workers of their humanity.