Tag Archives: 1990

State capitalism and climate emergency

A continued look at {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Continuation of

Capitalism and relevance to climate change

Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

In his article “Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it” Gezwin Stanley confirms that the climate emergency couldn’t have happened without fossil fuel driven industrialisation. But there is more:

human technology plus the very human inclination towards short termism tends to result in environmental degradation. It isn’t just capitalism that caused the climate crisis. But it is clear that capitalism, or rather the different varieties of capitalism, meaning any system where the few both control and benefit from the engines of wealth creation, the very same productive forces that can damage the environment, while also being best able to use their position to shield themselves against any environmental side effects, did and will dramatically exacerbate environmental damage. And, comparing state capitalism with private capitalism, it isn’t markets or consumerism that appeared to make the difference: the West had those in abundance, but the Communist world did not, and the outcomes were similar: critical environmental crises. The implication is that mass-scale industrial technology, combined with the control of that economy by a few who are compelled to strive for growth at all costs and to disregard, even deliberately hide, all externalities, is sufficient to cause environmental collapse, even if consumerism and insufficiently democratically regulated markets really don’t help. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

We must remember that important pressures contributing to current and future ecological collapse include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation, monocultures, overgrazing, overexploitation of ecosystems by humans, human industrial growth and overpopulation. The Soviet Union sinned against the respectful use of the earth by the practice of growing the same crop each year on a given acreage. The Soviet government found out, to its shame, that their large-scale plan of mass production or to produce huge quantities of cereals, vegetables and fruit, impoverished the country and did not produce good harvests. This because nonlegume crops usually exhaust the nitrogen in the soil, with a resulting reduction in yields. When they wanted to make the fertility level of the soil higher, they introduced fertilisers that poisoned the soil. The idea of greater flexibility in planning the system to meet year to year changes in the need for various crops, failed dramatically with food shortages and starvation as a result.

That environmental damage will be even more extreme if the masters of the economy, under private or state capitalism, are actively competing with each other whether for profit or to hit targets mandated by some dictator’s latest five year plan. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

writes Gezwin Stanley, admitting that

 the vital experiment, of a technologically advanced society that combines political and economic democracy, hasn’t as yet really been tried, perhaps because it is so offensive to the powerful and power-hungry.

Would such a society be able to better balance environmental and economic concerns? It certainly seems likely in theory, but in practice all we have to go on are smaller scale examples, often embattled and created despite huge challenges, such as the Zapatistas in Mexico or Rojava in Kurdistan. While environmentalism is a core thread of the ideology of both these movements (see for example: “What the Zapatistas can teach us about the climate crisis” or “Rojava is trying to build a green society”), how that would play out in the long term, in more stable conditions and at scale, has still to be determined. Though social democracy may be precarious, because the super-rich often buy politicians, parties and media influence, the historically more thorough-going social democracies may offer a clue as to what would be possible environmentally if economic control was more democratic, with (again according to the World Bank figures here: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC) per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 for Denmark being 5.8 tonnes, for Norway 7.0 tonnes and for Sweden 3.5 tonnes, compared to the USA at 15.2 tonnes, though the Nordic countries are at a similar level of technological advancement and average prosperity and overall have a colder climate. The same figure for the Russian Federation is 11.2 tonnes per capita and for considerably poorer China 7.4 tonnes. It may also be worth contrasting how Scandinavia confronted the problem of acid rain from the 1970s with how the former Soviet Union attempted to “bury” its multiple environmental crises. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

For him, it is no wonder that the state-capitalist communist countries of the past or the present were the cause of environmental calamities.

There have been more human generated greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 than in the rest of history (see this excerpt from “The Uninhabitable Earth”, published in 2019). Nor should we ever forget the whole corporate funded global disinformation campaign of climate change denial , and now “greenwashing”. For example, Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, but it funded climate change denial for 27 more years. None of this is surprising as the richest have an incentive to care least about climate change, because they can most easily escape its effects, from basing themselves in less affected countries, through being able to afford air conditioning, coastal defences and other protections to participating in the growing market for elite bunkers and safe havens (see “‘Billionaire bunkers’ that could shelter the superrich during an apocalypse”).

COP15 Logo.svgIf the economies of at least the most technologically advanced and richest nations had been run along lines of distributed economic power, of economic democracy as described here: https://gezwinstanley.wordpress.com/what-is-economic-justice-and-how-can-we-create-it/ , then there would most likely still have been a climate crisis. We are not angels. But without hugely powerful billionaires willing to conspire to deny climate change, and able to rig the political debate in many countries such as the USA, we would have acted a decade or two, possibly three, sooner. For example, the climate change deniers’ “Climategate” conspiracy in 2009 sabotaged the Copenhagen COP15 Conference and alone may have set back progress a decade, while none of the conspirators or those enlisted to help with the subsequent public relations have ever been brought to book. All that lost time could prove to have been crucial.

To resolve this conflict of interest we need to place everyone in control of the things they need to live and make a living. Then no one can disproportionately reap the economic benefits while disproportionately avoiding the environmental costs. That ensures everyone has an incentive to co-operate to create environmental regulations, pricing, taxes and subsidies, that avoid collective catastrophe, because no one can rig the deadly serious economic “game” of balancing economic output against environmental costs by largely reaping the economic benefits while passing most of the environmental impact onto someone else. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

 

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Filed under Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, History

American Conservative Judaism

 

Mark Beré Peterson: The Humanities focused on Ancient History, Culture, Literature, Myth, Magic and Counterculture Movements

The Conservative movement is the second largest of the three main religious denominations within American Judaism, claiming 18 percent of American Jews, according to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center. Historically it has occupied a sort of middle ground between Reform and Orthodox, maintaining (unlike Reform) that Jewish law remains binding on modern Jews, but affording far greater leeway than Orthodoxy in adapting those laws to reflect modern realities.

• The movement tolerates a range of religious practice in its commitment to halachic pluralism — the idea that multiple (and opposing) opinions concerning the requirements of Jewish law can be considered equally legitimate.

• Most (but not all) Conservative synagogues are egalitarian on gender issues, and the movement has endorsed religious rulings both in favor of and opposed to same-sex marriage.

• While its rabbis are not permitted to officiate at interfaith weddings, the movement has in recent…

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Judaism and Jewishness in 2020 America

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that many Jewish Americans participate, at least occasionally, both in some traditional religious practices – like going to a synagogue or fasting on Yom Kippur – and in some Jewish cultural activities, like making potato latkes, watching Israeli movies or reading Jewish news online.  The same could perhaps be said for European Jews.

Among young Jewish adults, however, two sharply divergent expressions of Jewishness appear to be gaining ground – one involving religion deeply enmeshed in every aspect of life, and the other involving little or no religion at all.

For Europeans it might be strange that overall, about a quarter of U.S. Jewish adults (27%) do not identify with the Jewish religion. Like all over the world we can find the strong feeling of ethnicity, more than religiosity.  The 27% U.S. Jewish adults who consider themselves to be Jewish ethnically, culturally or by family background, even when they have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish,  answer a question about their current religion by describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” rather than as Jewish. Among Jewish adults under 30, four-in-ten describe themselves this way.

The two branches of Judaism that long predominated in the U.S. have less of a hold on young Jews than on their elders.
In 2013 the Conservative movement was the second largest of the three main religious denominations within American Judaism, claiming 18 percent of American Jews. In some years in the 1950s, the movement was adding 100 new affiliate congregations annually.
In the 21st century, the movement’s long-term viability has continued to be drawn into question. The percentage of Jewish households that identified as Conservative dropped by 10 points — from 43 to 33 percent — between 1990 and 2000, according to surveys of the American Jewish population conducted in those years. By the end of the century, the movement was in serious decline, in such a way that some were fretting openly that Conservative Judaism was on the road to oblivion. About fifteen years ago Rabbi David Wolpe suggested that Conservative Judaism be rebranded as Covenantal Judaism. That name we hear also here and there in our regions, where some Jews and Jeshuaists consider themselves Covenantal Jews.
Today roughly four-in-ten Jewish adults under 30 identify with either Reform (29%) or Conservative Judaism (8%), compared with seven-in-ten Jews ages 65 and older.
Among Jews ages 18 to 29, 17% self-identify as Orthodox, compared with just 3% of Jews 65 and older. And fully one-in-ten U.S. Jewish adults under the age of 30 are Haredim (often known in English as “ultra-Orthodox.”), (11%), compared with 1% of Jews 65 and older. Approximately 1.2 million Haredim live in Israel, jealously guarding their traditions.

Strangely enough, or perhaps not, we can find several Jews who are somewhere “in-between”, themselves found to be not a believer, but who have not given up upon Jewish religious practice. some of them have even adopted more religious practices than they were ever raised with.
In the States, like in Canada and West Europe we find lots of Jews who adopted a religious Jewish lifestyle for themselves, in a similar way we have seen Christians also creating their own religious system and spiritual lifestyle.

In fora we can see that the participants who no longer believe were raised in various Orthodox communities around the world, ranging from Modern Orthodox to Yeshivish to Hassidic; and most spent their childhoods and years of their adulthoods studying in houses of Torah learning. Some were rabbis themselves, educators who dedicated years of their lives to spreading love of Torah and traditional Judaism among the Jewish people. {Why can’t I be secular?}

Remarkable is to notice that in the U.S.A. the youngest U.S. Jews count among their ranks both a relatively large share of traditionally observant, Orthodox Jews and an even larger group of people who see themselves as Jewish for cultural, ethnic or family reasons but do not identify with Judaism – as a religion – at all.  For non-Jews the difference is mostly not made, which gives a totally wrong view of Jews, them thinking all those things those civilian non-believing Jews do against Torah would be in line or acceptable to all Jews.

In the U.S., the same as in Europe, we can see that the youngsters, though not so interested to know if the food is kosher or not, still like a lot of traditional foods. As such, they like cooking traditional Jewish foods, visiting Jewish historical sites and listening to Jewish or Israeli music. Yet the survey finds that most people in the latter group (Jews of no religion) feel they have not much or nothing at all in common with the former group (Orthodox Jews). For many youngsters the Jewish traditions and lifestyle may feel outdated. Others may become unsettled because they find people in their forties searching for ways to live more in line with their ancestors, going back to the synagogue and praying again in the house. Some want to delve into the deeper meaning of Jewishness and Judaism.

It is a fact that Jews and Jeshuaists are a minority. For the U.S.A. in absolute numbers, the 2020 Jewish population estimate is approximately 7.5 million, including 5.8 million adults and 1.8 million children (rounded to the closest 100,000). The 2013 estimate was 6.7 million, including 5.3 million adults and 1.3 million children. The precision of these population estimates should not be exaggerated; they are derived from a sample of the U.S. public that is very large compared with most surveys (more than 68,000 interviews) but are still subject to sampling error and other practical difficulties that produce uncertainty. Furthermore, the size of the Jewish population greatly depends on one’s definition of who counts as Jewish.

Most U.S. Jews identify as Democrats, but most Orthodox are Republicans

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Find also to read

Judaism and Jeshuaism a religion of the future

Jewish Americans in 2020

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Filed under Being and Feeling, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Open Discussie Zomer 2021

Ook al blijven er veel ‘ontkennners’ moeten bij velen nu toch stilaan de oogkleppen wegvallen die verhinderden dat zij zich bewust zouden worden van de klimaatverandering.

Klimatologen zijn zeer duidelijk over de maatschappelijke relevantie van hun wetenschappelijke bevindingen en waarschuwen de wereld dat het zelfs al vijf na twaalf is. Het is Nú dat wij meer dan ooit stappen moeten ondernemen om onze planeet te redden.

Klimaatverandering

Klimaatverandering stond voor het eerst sinds lange tijd weer hoog op de agenda. Zo was er de verzengende hittegolf in het oosten van Noord Amerika, met maximum temperaturen die ver uitstaken boven wat voor mogelijk werd gehouden. Bosbranden volgden. Dichter bij huis traden rivieren buiten hun oevers door extreme regenval.

Ander klimaatnieuws kwam van de EU, waar de Green Deal steeds meer vorm begint te krijgen. De aangescherpte doelstelling – 55% minder uitstoot van broeikasgassen in 2030 vergeleken met 1990 – wordt vergezeld van een uitgebreid pakket aan maatregelen. Dit behelst zowel financiële prikkels als geboden en verboden. Het weglekken van emissiereductie naar het buitenland wordt vermeden door een importheffing. Het emissiehandelssysteem (ETS) wordt uitgebreid naar de verschillende transportsectoren (te land, ter zee en in de lucht) en aangescherpt door een sneller dalend plafond aan emissierechten.

De Telegraaf trekt al vrij voorspelbaar ten strijde tegen deze klimaatplannen…

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