Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why climate change is good for business: the "new normal" and capitalism

Climate change is in the news in one way or another every week, so it seems. It's more usually called "weather". But even the climate change sceptics (more on them later) cannot deny that all the signs have been there for more than a decade: the gradual melting of the ice cap around the North Pole; increasingly unstable weather conditions (more common and extreme droughts, floods, ice and blizzards); unseasonable weather.

In last five years or so, there has also been a corresponding increase in the cost of food. Fruit and vegetables have seen the greatest increases (many by more than 50% in a year), as well as staples like wheat and corn, fish and red meat. In other words, the cost of even basic food has soared comparative to salaries, while wages have remained static in the developed and developing world. This is a recipe for economic disaster for those at the bottom; it is no surprise that there have been forecasts of food riots in the Third World for some time now. The only ones unaffected are those at the top.

The effect of climate change on the world therefore has had a direct effect on the cost of all forms of food, with the result that food is now more expensive than it has been in living memory. This is the "new normal". At the same time, the same instability from climate change has had an indirect effect on the price of oil: the instability from climate change (droughts in the Middle East or any other extreme weather in an oil-producing region, for example) directly affects other factors that influence the price of oil.

Let's look back again at those climate change sceptics. Who are they? Mostly those who have interests in the energy sector (oil), and their political gimps in parliaments around the world (but mostly in the USA). It is naturally in the interests of "Big Oil" to discredit any scientific theory that might cause damage to their profit margins. Strange, then, how there has been such a huge expansion in oil exploration around the world (from the "tar sands" of Canada to the seas off the Falkland Islands), while the evidence for climate change has been piling up, year after year. And despite this, the price of oil remains stubbornly high; despite the opening-up of the oil sectors into new territories. But again, it is because the oil price is so high, that explains the rationale for the opening-up into areas that were previously seen as unworkable due to the high overheads. And the oil price is so high because of the "new normal" - instability is the "new normal".

This self-perpetuating logic is what feeds on this instability around the world. It also explains why climate change, that keeps the rationale for the instability going, is what keeps those at the top the ones who benefit the most, while they counter-intuitively argue against climate change's very existence. This is the "Double-Speak", like what I alluded to in one of my previous articles here, when I talked about the corporate oligarchy convincing the masses that their virtual slavery was in fact freedom. The climate change that they publicly disavow, is what is making their profits reach new, unsurpassed, heights. Of course, they are well aware of this, and are undoubtedly privately chuckling at this irony.

So, climate change is good for "big business", because it this instability around the world is what keeps them going. Like some kind of "James Bond"-type storyline, the multi-nationals around the world privately rub their hands with glee when there's a hurricane or drought that wipes out a nation's harvest: it means the price will sky-rocket, and the world population has no choice but to pay regardless. If they protest, and create civil instability, this creates a spike in prices elsewhere; thus the multi-nationals will profit in another way. In either case, it's a win-win situation for them, and a lose-lose for everyone else.

This is the "new normal", as our leaders are keen to tell us. That climate change will create permanent "severe weather" around the world; creating further human instability and a permanent increase in food and energy prices. Like a cartel of Bond-like villains, the CEOs of the multinationals are indifferent to the fate of humanity, as they have already "war-gamed" the various potential scenarios, ensuring that they profit from whatever chaos may ensue. This is the environmental chaos that they have publicly denied the existence of for more than twenty years, while privately ensuring that governments around the world do as little as possible to stop it.

The environmental chaos is another effect of the quasi-psychopathic attitude that "big business" has towards humanity and the environment in general. As the corporate oligarchy has created economic chaos through the financial crisis, and yet makes those at the bottom pay the biggest price (in greater job insecurity, the degradation of employment rights, and so on), it is again those at the bottom who pay the biggest price for the corporate oligarchy's public ignorance (but private glee) of the effects of climate change. Ever-increasing environmental and economic chaos is what "big business" dreams of, because it ensures near-permanent high prices, social instability, and an increasing gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The chaos created from this disastrous cocktail paralyses those at the bottom with fear, so focussed on fighting simply to survive and compete against each other that they would not have time to think who had allowed the chaos to happen (and prosper most from it) to begin with.

The "new normal" will continue to be chaos, greater human misery and poverty as long as the multi-nationals, "Big Oil", and all the others, are in control.

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