Best viewed as a PDF
Download This Article As A PDF
Please ensure you have
the latest Adobe Reader
Checkmate: Why Capitalism Cannot Survive Global Warming
Terry Leahy (2008. Revised 2013.)
In one view, the destruction of old energy technology and its replacement could become the basis for a new round of capitalist growth. In another analysis, the changes necessary to halt global warming cannot be contained within capitalism. It will be argued that the technological changes required are so very major as to imply a drastic reduction in material production and consumption. The consequences of doing nothing are equally drastic. One possible outcome is world revolution, despite the absence of a strong anti-capitalist movement today. Another option is that the capitalist class will agree to a new dispensation and direct much productive capacity to saving the planet. The capitalist class would be behaving more like a redistributive chieftainship; extracting surplus value and redistributing it. Or these problems could be resolved coercively in a technocratic feudalism. A likely outcome is a last days flurry of grand projects and expensive wars, followed by a collapse in food production and population. So whatever is done to resolve the environmental crisis, we are not going to end up with a capitalist society. For environmental activists, putting environmental outcomes first is just as likely to bring down capitalism as a campaign to end capitalist society. Doing nothing at all is very likely to have the same effect.
Keywords: Global Warming; Capitalism; Collapse; Energy Technologies.
To read the full 11 page article, please click this link and download the PDF.