REAL Green & Degrowth

My REAL Green has come to the same conclusion as the referenced  article.  What we are facing and what will achieve a degree of results in regards to our many predicaments are beyond technology.  Wind, solar, and storage combined with EV’s is not going to save us. It can’t because the issue is growth itself and more precisely how we live.  Degrowth is essential to solving our many predicaments but this must be a managed degrowth.  This degrowth must be a combination of triage of bad aspects of the current growth paradigm and a hybridization of globalism and localism.  Some aspects of our civilization must remain global.  Some of the manufacturing and trade is essentially only efficient at the global level.  If we want to retain a degree of modernity then some globalism must remain a feature of this.  Then there is a movement to localism with less affluence at least in regards to consumption.  This does not have to be the case with the wealth a strong community can realize  but let’s be honest materially localism will offer less. 

This will in a sense mean a two-tier social structure with a technical and energy intensive sector and a lower energy local sector engaged in the gathering of solar energy from the land.  Solar and wind may be part of this but so will intermittency and lower power potency.  The important point is the local will have to be supported and protected from the inevitable inequalities of a global intensive structure.  The fact remains certain aspects of our modernism must have economies of scale, comparative advantage, global transport, and global capital.  If we can greatly reduce what is part of these global attributes then we can realize some degrowth.  So, the vital degrowth needed will be achieved by taking a significant amount of people out of the global network and place them in a localized setting.  This means a degree of control many may not be ready for.  It means some will have the privilege of movement and other forced to stay local.  This means the whole nature of capitalism and liberal democracy of individualism and freedom of choice will be upended. 

This points to the fallacy of the current wave of liberal and socialistic green new deals being discussed as our solution to extinction and so forth.  These platforms push an agenda of affluence with modernism.  They want growth but camouflage it as clean green growth.  Technology is front and center to this as well as sustainable equitable development.  This is wrong as a paradigm of successful change.  It may be better than unfettered market-based capitalism for most but it is still a failure in regards to the reality of the predicaments we are facing.  The net result will just be a wealth transfer arrangement to those behind greens and away from those not.  You may think that is fine but it really isn’t in the end.  What it in effect turns out to be is an elaborate lie that we can transform society into a clean green arrangement with growth. What happens is the same failures of growth and a new aristocracy.

Technology is not the answer but it is part of the solution.  Telling people they can have affluence and change is not correct.  People must realize we can only have change with sacrifice.  Degrowth which is the only solution to our predicaments means less affluence and less choices.  It means a majority of the global population must be localized in less affluent arrangements.  If the vital parts of modernity can be maintained like networks, storehouses of knowledge, and infrastructure there must be a group who can produce and maintain these structures.  This means two tier way of life.  Deciding who is allowed to be in what tier and where one get placed in his local is the devil in the detail.  Who will volunteer and who will be forced? 

This points to our last predicament and that is of human behavior itself.  If a two-tier world focused on significant degrowth is the only way forward then can we change our collective behavior to allow these kinds of change. This means draconian changes with forced change.  It means consequences that are not going to be fully understood.   There will be those who lose and many may lose everything.  That is the nature of consequences.  There is no easy way forward.  I do not think we are up to this and this is why my REAL Green is about deep adaptation.  Adapt locally and utilize the status quo to leave it while it is still robust and in charge.  The current system cannot last but while it does go local but use the status quo to make your local the best it can be.  This is a kind of acknowledgement of the failure of human behavior at the collective level that is leveraged to create a successful human behavior locally.  Both market-based capitalism and the green new deal of clean technology and growth is a failure.  These two systems will both compete and stall in the trenches of economic and social warfare.  This is what happens when the pie is shrinking and the chairs are pulled away, stalemate.

“A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why”     the conversation

“So the first thing we should redesign are the economic ideas that brought fossil-fueled technology into existence and continue to perpetuate it. “Capitalism” ultimately refers to the artefact or idea of all-purpose money…The policies designed to protect the environment and promote global justice have not curbed the insidious logic of all-purpose money – which is to increase environmental degradation as well as economic inequalities…In order to accomplish economic “degrowth” and curb the treadmill of capital accumulation, we must transform the systemic logic of money itself.  National authorities might establish a complementary currency, alongside regular money, that is distributed as a universal basic income but that can only be used to buy goods and services that are produced within a given radius from the point of purchase…Re-localising the bulk of the economy in this way does not mean that communities won’t need electricity, for example, to run hospitals, computers and households. But it would dismantle most of the global, fossil-fuelled infrastructure for transporting people, groceries and other commodities around the planet.  This means decoupling human subsistence from fossil energy and re-embedding humans in their landscapes and communities…Solar power will no doubt be a vital component of humanity’s future, but not as long as we allow the logic of the world market to make it profitable to transport essential goods halfway around the world. The current blind faith in technology will not save us. For the planet to stand any chance, the global economy must be redesigned. The problem is more fundamental than capitalism or the emphasis on growth: it is money itself, and how money is related to technology.” cerun:yes’>>��2��$

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