Activists, scientists and the public know that climate action must be radical and revolutionary. The capitalist system is philosophically and practically in diametric opposition to successful methods of slowing down climate change. This is obvious from basic analysis of how capitalism works – profit trumps everything else, and is confirmed by witnessing libertarian recklessness toward climate destruction, most notably from Scott Morrison, Jair Bolsanaro and Donald Trump who embody the embedded antipathy of endgame capitalism toward any considerations of a healthy future for the planet.
Ineluctable culpability of unfettered international free markets acts against effective action, and the public knows what obstructs necessary policies to protect against climate change.
The ensuing problem for exploiters is how do they maintain their capacity to exploit faced with increasing public knowledge of the obstacle to climate protection. The exploiters need a trick to deal with a scenario where public opinion not only acts against support for free markets but also recognises that free markets are the enemy.
As usual, PR teams for free market racketeering use an old trick: They pretend the free market is supportive of something it opposes and then further claim the free market is the only way to achieve an objective. There are three aims for this trick.
- Absolve free markets of blame
- Soak up energy and time that should be used to really address an issue
- Denigrate genuine activists as a means of criticising their politics
The trick is used currently in debates on free speech, democracy and education. Right-wing bloviaters act out their earnest and dramatic worries about access to free speech, to democracy and to balanced non-political education while simultaneously restricting free speech, reducing democracy and interfering in teaching. Assisted by a plethora of secretly funded think-tanks the Tory government’s main objective, declared loudly in the queen’s speech of May 2021, is to clamp down on opposition via severe cuts to free speech, to balanced education and to human rights.
Using the aforementioned trick a think-tank/lobby group was invented, British Conservation Alliance (BCA), that is “dedicated to empowering the next generation to engage with the principles of pro-market environmentalism and conservation.”
BCA admits that it is charging in as an astroturfing fraudster. “Whereas environmental activism has historically shunned anyone on the pro-market side of the political spectrum, the BCA acts to re-engage on these principles, championing market-based solutions to environmental problems.”
It is in a symbiotic relationship with the Tory government. “The BCA takes both a reactive and proactive approach to policymaking and advocacy [including] responding to requests from government officials to comment on existing proposals.” BCA will have a mini summit at COP26: “We are working closely with the Cabinet Office to make this a keynote event for BCA in 2021.”
In Bezos Climate Fund Is A Step In The Right Direction Amin Haque declared his worship of extreme exploiter and multi billion-pound tax-dodger Jeff Bezos. Like many of the world’s wealthiest corporate thieves Bezos attained the erroneous title of philanthropist by “donating” a small part of his ill-gotten fortune to charities. He created Bezos Earth Fund, allegedly as a source of funds to tackle climate change.
Haque expressed delight at Bezos’ promised donation of “7.7 billion pounds” of “his own money” to his earth fund.
“If the wealthy compete in their philanthropy then there are better outcomes for all. The end product, findings, and conclusions are what should motivate climate activists to support billionaire philanthropy.”
For Haque, for BCA, and for conservatives generally, the public’s lives should be dependent on the whims of wealthy people. He thinks we should thank very high net worth exploiters for the crumbs they toss at us.
Bezos’ huge fortune is a direct product of his total exploitation of his workforce. His workers are low paid with no workers’ rights and no job security. In a just world he would be rotting in jail. None of his wealth was earned by him.
He avoids enormous amounts of tax, a sum of many magnitudes of his contributions to charities. As activist and broadcaster Lee Camp said, a philanthropist is “someone who uses a small fraction of their huge wealth, accumulated by exploiting workers, polluting the environment and avoiding taxes, in order to manufacture photo opportunities with people and places that were destroyed by their greed.”
Haque doubled down on his preference for supporting the likes of Bezos via a bizarre comparison with genuine climate change activism.
“Grassroots campaigning, though useful in their localised aims, are hampered by their capacity, while the performative stunts of Extinction Rebellion come off as no more than moral posturing.”
If there were no “performative stunts of Extinction Rebellion” then BCA would not have been invented to counter Extinction Rebellion’s success at raising public awareness.
Haque did not mention public funding for tackling climate change. If all uncollected taxes from tax-dodgers like Bezos were paid then there would be no need for “billionaire philanthropy.”
In COVID-19 and the Environment: the Necessity of the Market Matthew Norris pretended to compare arguments for state-led responses to Covid-19 pandemic and to climate change. He did that in the context of commenting on assertions by others that both would be better handled by states than by the free market.
He observed how others’ analysis of the success of lockdowns to manage Covid-19 indicated that state control of addressing climate change would be preferable than leaving it to free marketeers, and he responded with a defence of market-led solutions.
His defence included a claim that
“different companies – from Dyson to Tesla – all around the world are competing and collaborating to produce PPE and medical treatments. vFace masks (including N95 respirators), CPAP machines, hand sanitiser, ventilators, antibody tests, vaccines, and so forth. The free market brings together a whole range of skills, resources, and projects from around the world to fight the virus. If one company’s vaccine doesn’t work, then there are at least a dozen other companies working to provide a vaccine that does.”
Norris neglected to mention that James Dyson was given a promise that he would receive a tax “fix” in exchange for ventilator supply. Dyson’s ventilators were never used.
Norris neglected to mention that the billions paid to Serco for test and trace in Britain were wasted because the process failed.
Norris neglected to mention the massive corruption of awards of Covid-19 government contracts to a variety of made-up businesses, many with direct connections to Tory politicians.
Norris neglected to mention that several manufacturers of vaccines refused the use of their vaccines in countries that couldn’t afford to pay.
Without evidence he claimed “the success in fighting the virus has largely depended on the free-market system, not central planning. A central planner could never match the collective expertise and capabilities of these competing market forces.” That is, Norris confused the existence of factories, haulage and laboratories with the existence of capitalism. He also confused advances in technology with the existence of capitalism.
In Norris’ world, everything ever invented or improved was because of rather than in spite of capitalism.
Covid and climate change worries are persuading people that fundamental economic alterations are desirable and the PR team for the exploited are scared.
On a similar theme in Free-market environmentalism in the era of Coronavirus Patrick O’Connor tried to award the free-market for fighting against Covid-19. He didn’t bother providing much evidence but did state that “where testing capacity has been limited in the UK, the private sector has stepped in to increase testing capacity.” That scenario is not an example of free-market being better than state organisation; it was merely unused space being available in an emergency, as it should be.
O’Connor confused closure of borders for people (to reduce transmission of the virus) with closure of borders for goods and supplies. “International co-operation has been a commodity in short supply throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Notions of protectionism may become more prevalent in government thinking. Indeed, it may be a natural reaction to turn in on ourselves in the face of a crisis exacerbated by globalisation and our ever increasing interconnectedness. In doing so, however, such protectionist measures would cut off the possibilities of innovation and technological enhancement that could further our ability to tackle issues such as climate change.”
Echoing Norris, O’Connor confused advances in technology with the existence of capitalism.
Stuffing the bottomless pockets of the corporate world is always the overriding policy elucidated by right-wing think-tanks.
BCA demanded “Clean Tax Cuts” – “reducing the marginal tax rate for clean and environmentally beneficial private investments” – and claimed such cuts would incentivise “further innovation of clean energy.” It’s odd how the free market’s businesses need incentives in order to survive; is that not an intrinsic flaw?
BCS asked for more corporate welfare handouts via “Clean Asset Bonds & Loans (CABLs).” “CABLs would essentially allow companies to acquire tax-free private debt.”
The persistent con of demanding state support for capitalism was described by BCA. ” Tax-free interest would reduce the average interest rate by around 30%, thus directly stimulating entrepreneurs to enter the clean energy space and accelerate both development and innovation.”
BCA’s advisors include Ryan Shorthouse, Amber Rudd and Lawrence Reed.
Shorthouse is a veteran think-tanker including Social Market Foundation and Bright Blue. His professional role is to translate the desires of free marketeer exploiters into usable policies for conservative governments and to devise methods of presenting such policies to media and public in ways that hide the policies’ true intent and their beneficiaries.
Former Tory government minister Rudd ran the scheme that robbed Windrush generation of their nationality, livelihoods and, for some, their lives.
Reed was president of Mackinac Center for Public Policy (MCPP) for twenty years in Michigan, USA. MCPP specialises in union-bashing and fighting against government support for citizens. He is President Emeritus of Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in USA that invades schools and colleges to indoctrinate students in how to be a free market exploiter. One of FEE’s “expert instructors” is Anne Bradley from Institute for Faith, Work and Economics that preaches hard work (for someone else’s profits) is god’s work.
Among BCA’s partners are Students For Liberty (SFL) and Initiative for Free Trade (IFT) .
SFL is a secretly funded extremist free market organisation that recruits and trains young people to spread the gospel of complete unfettered racketeering. By “liberty” and “freedom” SFL means the ability to exploit whoever you want, whenever you want and however you want. Its libertarian economic aims are standard hard-right sociopathic and are expressed deceptively. For example, “the best way to make healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone is to stop the government from interfering with our consumer preferences.” UK Board Of Trade member Daniel Hannan is an advisor to SFL
IFT promotes global tariff- and regulation-free “trade” whereby international businesses can exploit around the world without worrying about any government putting barriers in their way. IFT wants the world to consist of colonies of corporate entities. Daniel Hannan is president of IFT. Its International Advisory Board includes libertarian ex-prime minister of Australia (and UK Board Of Trade member) Tony Abbott and ex vice-president of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga who worked alongside president Hugo Banzer. Banzer’s violent USA-backed military coup in Bolivia in 1971 and ensuing dictatorship included assassination of elected president Juan José Torres and thousands of murders of political opponents.
British Conservation Alliance is a free marketeer lobby group and think-tank masquerading as an environmental charity.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks
- Institute For Free Trade
- Centre for Policy Studies
- Countryside Alliance
- Bright Blue
- Policy Network
- Henry Jackson Society
- Tax-Payers’ Alliance
- Progress Online
- Industry and Parliamentary Trust
- Royal United Services Institute
- Bruges Group
- Human Security Centre
- Freedom Association
- Policy Exchange
- Migration Watch
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Centre for Social Justice
- Adam Smith Institute
- Bow Group
- British Foreign Policy Group
- Legatum Institute
- Due Process
- The Free Speech Union
- Orthodox Conservatives