Yes, Naomi Klein is an idiot

The abundance of scientific research showing we have pushed nature beyond its limits does not just demand green products and market-based solutions; it demands a new civilizational paradigm, one grounded not in dominance over nature but in respect for natural cycles of renewal—and acutely sensitive to natural limits, including the limits of human intelligence.

………..

In addition to reversing the thirty-year privatization trend, a serious response to the climate threat involves recovering an art that has been relentlessly vilified during these decades of market fundamentalism: planning. Lots and lots of planning.

Sigh.

So we\’ve got to acknowledge that we\’re all entirely dim in the face of Gaia: then use our intelligence to plan what we\’ve got to do about it.

The two positions are mutually incompatible dearie.

If we\’re dim then we\’ve got to go the route of try it, suck it and see: a market based process. If we\’re all gargantually intelligent with perfect knowledge then we can plan. But we can\’t plan if we\’re dim and ill informed, can we?

It gets worse, of course:

Another bonus: this type of farming is much more labor intensive than industrial agriculture, which means that farming can once again be a substantial source of employment.

Yes, she\’s cheering the idea that we reintroduce peasantry as a valid career choice. Somehow it\’s never those with columns in The Nation who have to be bent over double in the fields though, is it?

In an economy organized to respect natural limits, the use of energy-intensive long-haul transport would need to be rationed—reserved for those cases where goods cannot be produced locally or where local production is more carbon-intensive. (For example, growing food in greenhouses in cold parts of the United States is often more energy-intensive than growing it in the South and shipping it by light rail.)

Yes love. We know how to do this too. Stick a tax on carbon emissions and let the market sort it out.

The way out is to embrace a managed transition to another economic paradigm, using all the tools of planning discussed above. Growth would be reserved for parts of the world still pulling themselves out of poverty. Meanwhile, in the industrialized world, those sectors that are not governed by the drive for increased yearly profit (the public sector, co-ops, local businesses, nonprofits) would expand their share of overall economic activity, as would those sectors with minimal ecological impacts (such as the caregiving professions). A great many jobs could be created this way. But the role of the corporate sector, with its structural demand for increased sales and profits, would have to contract.

That\’s just lovely, isn\’t it? \”Growth would be reserved\”. Anyone got any idea at all of how that could be achieved in anything even slightly resembling a society that has any freedom or liberty left in it at all?

And of course she\’s grossly, stupidly, wrong in her description of what is the cure for climate change. What we actually need is a globalised market based economy with a carbon tax.

And that\’s all we need.

23 comments on “Yes, Naomi Klein is an idiot

  1. “Meanwhile, in the industrialized world, those sectors that are not governed by the drive for increased yearly profit (the public sector, co-ops, local businesses, nonprofits) would expand their share of overall economic activity, as would those sectors with minimal ecological impacts (such as the caregiving professions). A great many jobs could be created this way.”

    So in essence, we slam the brakes on GDP growth and create more jobs that way?

  2. You can’t cure climate change – it just happens. The cure for Global Warming hysteria is a different matter.

  3. That column reminds me of drawing by shotgun. It’s like connect the dots, except first you make the dots by firing a shotgun at the paper. She’s got a disjointed collection of moans that she’s tried valiantly to connect coherently, but it just doesn’t work. Sounds good if you don’t think about it, which is why it’s so dangerous.

  4. “(For example, growing food in greenhouses in cold parts of the United States is often more energy-intensive than growing it in the South and shipping it by light rail.)”

    Eh ? Does she have the faintest idea what light rail is ?

  5. Pingback: Meet the new plan: same as the old plan » bella gerens

  6. OMG!!! She’s just re-invented the USSR.

    Actually, no. It’s even more evil than that. The communists and capitalists shared a recognition of the importance of economic growth, but differed over how to achieve it. Communism was entirely focussed on industrialisation- of industry, of farming, of everything. Hence the infamous tractor statistics.

    Which is why the current wave of Puritan-Romantics (yes, this is a very 18th century thing) are even worse. They don’t even want to make tractors; in fact they’re opposed to tractors, because a tractor produces economic growth which is, you know, evil.

    Capitalists want a factory that employs as few as possible for the most tractors. Communists want a factory that employs everybody for the most tractors. Puritan-romantics want a factory that employs everybody and doesn’t actually produce any tractors.

    It’s a whole further order of magnitude of stupid we’re dealing with here.

  7. Even better Tim: we don’t need green taxes, for global warming isn’t going to kill us.

    I think the pertinent point is that even if it is, taxation is a profoundly moronic way of trying to deal with it.

  8. Another beautiful example of the insane reactionary conservatism of the modern green left.

    Actually, isn’t what she is proposing more or less the Khmer rouge shtick? And we all know how that one worked out…

  9. Judging from some of the commentors on the original article, the loss of a god has hit some people rather hard.

    The habit of having some other entity deciding what your actions at any given moment seems irresistable to many people.

    And, like all religous fanatics, reason or logic are cast aside so as not to interfere with the necessary zeal.

  10. We can’t feed the world without industrialised agriculture. One wonders how many billions dying would be an acceptable sacrifice to be able to give everyone backbreaking labour.

  11. So far as I understand it, the “sustainable” population of Spaceship Earth is about half a billion, so that’s about 88% of us that have got to go. Apparently.

  12. Every time I hear the phrase “new paradigm” I know what preceded or follows is, without fail, bollocks. I learned this during the tech bubble at the turn of the century.

    At the time I was working as a technical consultant looking at business plans for banks who had requests for loans to build large telecoms networks. These plans usually went along the lines of … we are living in a new paradigm, you give us $500m, we build this network with this unproven technology, then a miracle occurs, the technology works and the revenues just come flooding.

  13. The other thing that really makes me angry with those who decry growth is that they don’t get the whole picture. I’ve just watched just news clip of the Remembrance parade and one squad were in those electric chairs we now see being used by the infirm to get round.

    They are an offshoot of battery technology gains paid for by rich golfers* to lazily go round golf courses in buggies. No rich people playing gold, no affordable electric wheel chairs for the infirm.

    *And the mobile phone industry which really has drive battery technology

  14. It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which you Brits have fallen for the need for carbon control. I wish you could extend your skepticism of mainstream economics to include mainstream scientific fads.

    A carbon tax would be an incredible destroyer of capital and, thus, our standard of living. And, please, don’t cite the revenue-neutral-bromides. They’re only revenue-neutral from the government’s point-of-view. From ours, the view would be quite different.

  15. I think a debate is needed. On the one hand, Amory Lovins et al. assure us that we don’t need nuclear energy, that negawatts and solar will suffice and, on the other hand, Naomi Klein tells us that we must rethink capitalism instead.

    So… When’s the debate?

  16. But it’s only us proles who are “dim and ill informed”, fit only for manual labour in the fields.

    The planners, and their cheerleaders in the commentariat, are indeed all “gargantually intelligent with perfect knowledge”.

    Except of course when the planners make a plan that the commentariat doesn’t approve of, in which case they are also “dim and ill informed”.

    Surely that’s obvious, to anyone except us “dim and ill informed”.

  17. Gosplan.

    I have long held the belief that so-called “caring” types do really want to drag back or keep people in “quaint” subsistence farming. By “people”, “The People”, I suspect NK mean those other than the authors of such jous de derriere.

    The idea that it creates employment is beyond parody. Has someone hijacked her account?

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.