Chapter 10: Capitalism, socialism and the climate crisis
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This chapter criticizes the prominent view that the only enduring solution to the problem of climate change is to replace capitalism by socialism. CO2 emissions among developed capitalist countries are compared, showing a large variation in performance between liberal social democracies, such as Denmark and Sweden, on the one hand, and other developed countries, including the US, on the other. Hence considerable improvement within capitalism is possible. Against this, Karl Marx and others proposed a ‘capitalist growth imperative’, linking profit-seeking with capitalist expansion. Flaws in this argument are revealed. It is also argued that socialism has its own growth imperative. Population growth is identified as an additional problem. But this has liberal remedies, including female empowerment, as argued by Amartya Sen. The idea that socialism can deal with climate change is a triumph of blind faith over theory and evidence. Our objective must be to decarbonize capitalism.

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