What About The Roads?
As we saw in Part I of this series, the environmental movement has a dark streak running through it. Many of the architects of the movement hold a Malthusian, eugenics-obsessed view of the world and their fingerprints are all over the growing call for a global climate lockdown. A movement based on the best of intentions is once again being hijacked to centralize power and eviscerate human rights.
With that established it is time to closely examine what exactly Mariana Mazzucato is proposing when she threatens a climate lockdown. In her view, and those on whose behalf she writes, humanity must be willing to undergo a total restructuring of society at the hands of the elite in order to save the planet or continue to live in lockdown. The brave new world she envisions is a sort-of technocracy, a government based on the management of society by unelected technical experts. Ultimately, this vision is less about driving electric cars and switching to a plant-based diet and more about a hostile takeover of the world’s resources.
The Calls for A Climate Lockdown Begin
With Mazzucato’s questionable climate science already addressed it’s time to move onto investigating her criticisms of society as we know it. But first we need to understand where this message is coming from. Mazzucato’s story comes to us from Project Syndicate, a news organization which distributes “high-quality commentaries to a global audience.” The publishing of these commentaries is made possible by funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation, and the Google Digital News Initiative among others. Let’s just say her view doesn’t exactly represent the disenfranchised or any grassroots movement.
Mazzucato’s opinion piece is more of a threat than anything else. She believes we are living through a series of crises during the “disease of the Anthropocene,” an anti-human echo from her environmental forefathers, that center around the climate, economic and social inequality, and public health. Neither government nor the private sector are capable of addressing such catastrophic situations in her estimation so we must undergo a “green economic transformation” or else be locked down like prisoners until the problem is resolved.
What she has to say on what would happen during a climate lockdown itself is actually quite brief:
Under a “climate lockdown,” governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.
The brevity of this proclamation is curious as these propositions for reducing carbon emissions and “going green” are nothing new. Environmentalists have been advocating for these changes for decades now, though notably without the need for literally confining people to their homes. The bulk of the article is dedicated to the overhaul of the economy, revealing her true message to the masses.
The Future In Her Eyes
This transformation entails building whatever an “inclusive, sustainable” economy is and requires that government assistance to the private sector be reigned in. Not by stopping the public-private revolving door, upholding justice through the legal system, enabling a free market, or simply ending taxpayer bailouts, but continuing all of these practices so long as the government attaches strict conditions to how that money is used. Governments should also add new taxes on raw materials and legislate “job guarantees” into existence somehow. Under this system the political and economical elite still siphon off money from the lower classes, but by dictating that “firms need to listen to trade unions and workers’ collectives, community groups, consumer advocates, and others” this fascist system will solve the problem of inclusivity.
The state must also continue to steer the course of finance through investments. When the financial crisis hit in 2008 it wasn’t the cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street that kept money circulating through the financial sector rather than entering the larger economy, but “bad investments” on the government’s part. Bad because they didn’t invest long term in eco-friendly energy like wind power or support green infrastructure projects according to her. She gives no explanation as to how these investments would allow money to flow into Main Street.
When looking for positive examples of state investments she cites New Zealand’s “Wellbeing Budget” and the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB). The Wellbeing Budget is the name given to the New Zealand government’s fiscal budget for the year 2019 and represented a shift away from making monetary decisions based on GDP and towards spending based on “wellbeing”. It made for an excellent public relations move which portrayed a government concerned about the wellness of its people but in reality transferred many budgetary decisions to experts and bureaucrats rather than elected officials, a hallmark of a technocratic society. New Zealand has enacted one of the world’s harshest lockdowns in the name of the coronavirus which may be why it gets a nod here.
The SNIB is set to launch by the end of 2020 and while she doesn’t mention it in her article, Mazzacuto has played a key role in developing this institution. This state-owned institution will offer grants, soft loans, credit guarantees and co-investments to companies in pursuit of certain missions. These missions are still being finalized but aim to mimic the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which center around climate change, shifting demographics, and economic inclusion. Like New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget, the SNIB framework ultimately takes power out of the hands of the public and into the hands of a technocratic elite. The figures who will run the SNIB and direct it’s funds will be unelected and unaccountable to the public but will use taxpayer funds to steer the direction of the economy nonetheless.
These examples are the blueprints all nations should be using according to Mazzucato. In a follow-up interview with the Irish Times, she makes it unambiguously clear that central economic planning is the proper role of government:
This crisis, and the recovery we need, give us an opportunity to understand and explore how to do capitalism differently. This requires a rethink of what governments are for: rather than simply fixing market failures when they arise, they should move towards actively shaping and creating markets to take on society’s most pressing challenges…This will secure the direction of travel we want – green, sustainable, and equitable.
Given her connections to some of the world’s most powerful people it is highly unlikely that “we” refers to the common man. It seems clear that she is speaking on the behalf of the elite behind the scenes.
Mazzucato’s final claim, dropped out of nowhere and without citation or follow-up, is that an economy centered around renewable energy is the antidote to our otherwise disastrous future. She then menacingly reminds the reader that “radical change is inevitable,” so either go along with their plan, or face climate lockdowns while they do it anyway.
How Have Lockdowns Impacted The Climate So Far?
With much of the world under house arrest, carbon dioxide emissions declined in the first half of 2020 as one would expect. Correspondingly, air pollution dropped off in many industrialized areas. This was touted as a victory for the climate, especially when photos of the Himalayas, free of their usual smog in India, went viral. This was a relatively short-lived victory however as numbers began rising again in the second half of the year.
While air pollution dropped more plastic waste has ended up in our oceans than ever before. Disposable face masks have been worn, and disposed of, in the billions this year and are contributing to environmental degradation, littering in public places, and increasing the levels of microplastics in the oceans. Takeout dining has been a staple for many during lockdown which has meant single-use plastics have become more prevalent and sadly ended up in in the sea in increased numbers as well.
More studies and information will surely come out in the months and years ahead but as of now this is the picture we have of the climate in a locked down world and it isn’t very convincing that by continuing these practices the world will be free of man’s impact on it. The desire for clear skies, clean air, and habitable oceans are all noble and improvements can and will be made but the idea that in order to achieve these things we need society reshaped at the hands of a shadowy elite is still insane and speaks to a larger agenda at play.
The Big Picture
When looking into the environmental impact of lockdowns there is a chilling refrain in the mainstream media. The initial decrease in emissions is cheered on but the rebound is seen as a sign that while the current lockdowns are doing some good it just isn’t enough (see here, here, here, here, here, and here to see that message repeated).
What is needed according to these writers and groups is a reengineering of society. This Great Reset will come at the expense of the many, to the benefit of the few. In the final installment of this series we will see how climate lockdowns and the reconfiguration of society fits perfectly into the big picture that the elite have in mind.