Editorial: Toxic products
Negotiations are heating up between our rulers. With an economy cooling and a planet warming, there would appear much to talk about. In the short-term there is an economic system needing urgent shoring up: the confidence of workers in the system is disappearing as quickly as the confidence of bankers, employers and shareholders that they can turn a profit.
But in the longer-term it would appear that global warming is likely to present an even greater challenge to individual states to start serious discussions with each other. Every inch of the planet’s surface has been mapped and claimed by one bunch of gangsters or another. The atmosphere and the air we breathe however is uncontrollable and has therefore historically been the global sewer into which capitalist economies have spewed their so-called “externalities” (those things not traditionally accounted for by the market). The CO2 disappears into thin air: out-of-sight and conveniently off the balance sheet.
Capitalism appears to be having serious difficulty in identifying and quantifying its own (so-called “toxic”) internal liabilities and risks. What hope can we have that this system will ever really be able to deal properly with the overlooked externalities – including a genuinely “toxic” by-product of economic activity, in the form of CO2 emissions.
From Beijing to Bonn, and Moscow to Mumbai, the battle lines are already being drawn up as negotiations tighten over the sort of global regulatory regimes required to address both the credit crunch and the CO2 crunch.
Despite their apparent collective willingness (in the form of countless speeches and statements) to address both the weakening economy and rising CO2 emissions, it is clear that there are other forces at work, acting to slow and stall this process. Every state has a “special interest” in protecting or advancing the interests of the various sectors of its own capitalist class. That, after all, is pretty much the job of the state.
Members and sympathisers of the World Socialist Movement can be found in many countries around the world. Where we can, we organise politically to put the case for socialism in front of the workers of the world. The arguments put by a world socialist from the US or the UK is the same as that put by a world socialist from India or Ghana. We have no regional interests, and only one “special interest” – “the emancipation of the global working-class”.
Our case is consistent not just for the last 100 years, but also across continents, cultures and languages. From farmers in India to IT workers in China, from the unemployed of Europe to the overworked of the US, the experience of workers across the globe can differ greatly. But in some crucial respects the same story is repeated, with differing degrees only of exploitation, alienation, poverty, insecurity and stress. Investigate our case. Test it against your own experience. If it chimes with how you’re thinking, then join us and hasten the day when humanity finally grows up and takes responsibility for its planet.