Thursday, January 24, 2019

Climate Inaction vs Income Inequality: The Underlying Unity Behind these Antagonistic Protest Movements

There are two very different motivations driving protesters. There are those who are demanding climate action and there are those who are frustrated by the growing income inequality gap. The former are on an urgent mission to save the planet while the later are preoccupied with meeting their basic needs.  On the surface these two groups appear to be diametrically opposed to each other.

In an insightful B the Change article James Perry calls these groups the rebellion of the excluded and the extinction rebellion. The excluded are driven by existential imperatives like affordable food and shelter. In their desperation they have turned to divisive populists such as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Boris Johnson and Marine Le Pen.

The extinction Rebellion is composed of climate activists who are desperate to avert a looming catastrophe. This group is composed largely of what are often refereed to as the elite. These people enjoy a modicum of financial stability and therefore they have the luxury of thinking strategically. They are prepared to pay higher prices that incorporate the environmental costs of the goods and services they purchase.

In France the Excluded Rebels of the gilets jaunes are "contemptuous of Macron’s efforts to force everyone into a war on climate breakdown without first addressing their more immediate needs." However, Perry suggests that the two groups are aligned and may even be able to collaborate for change if they can both realize that mutated capitalism is the core driver behind the concerns of both groups.  Mutated capitalism has caused both the climate breakdown and it has relegated large numbers of people to poverty.

"[Elites] must face up to the inconvenient truth that the current global economy the system they operate that turned them into elites—is a mutation that is killing us all. By externalizing social and environmental costs, it has turned business and finance into a sociopath that strips people and planet bare in its single-minded focus on making money for shareholders," Perry wrote.

The excluded must recognize the same thing. The shared solution involves rebooting capitalism with a new operating system. This involves uninstalling "shareholder primacy" as the organizing idea of capital markets and installing in its place "value for all." 

The idea would be to ensure that business is mandated to meet the needs of capital, land and labor. This is a vision exemplified by Certified B Corporation movement.

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