Cameron calls for the environment to be seen in relation to profit: Doh, that’s the problem!

Another environmental conference dawns, and time for some more pretentious s***. In Cameron’s latest article, there is the usual buttering up as he attempts to pass the government off as the “greenest ever”. Anyone who has actually read behind the rhetorical soundbites that litter Cameron’s piece will know that this is far from true.

Now to regurgitate the specific part of Cameron’s article that causes the most squirming:

The second reason to take heart is that there is a compelling economic case to be made for fighting climate change that is barely out of the blocks yet. The green effort should not be downgraded or swept under the carpet because of spending cuts and austerity. On the contrary, both developed and developing countries have the potential to make massive gains from a green economy; the low carbon market is already worth up to £3.2 trillion and is forecast to grow by around 4% a year over the next five years.

I passionately believe that by recasting the argument for action on climate change away from the language of threats and punishments and into positive, profit-making terms, we can have a much wider impact. That’s why this government has set up the Capital Markets Climate Initiative – to help trigger a new wave of green investment in emerging economies and make the City of London the global capital of the fast-growing green investment sector.

The capitalist ‘logic’, the ‘logic’ that was clear in the Brundtland report and the related conference: the environment has to be couched in capitalist ‘friendly’ terms such as profit, growth and money, for it to be ‘meaningfully’ considered. Of course, to ask Cameron and co. to consider the influence that the likes of profit, growth and money have on the environment would be to challenge the very system they are so adamant in defending. Cameron is wrong when he talks about the need to “recast” climate change within a profit-making rhetorical slant, as the environment is already treated as a profit-orientated, exchange valued commodity ‘resource’ – Cameron’s ‘solution’ is precisely the problem!

We need the opposite to what Cameron preaches – we need to recast the environment in a truly sustainable logic – not the Brundtland’s classification of sustainability which equates to exploiting the South. The South, particularly representatives from Latin America, have been focal re the North’s exploitation of the South and poorer countries. I was only reading today about the effects neo-liberal policies have had on the South, as they take away the resources and land that people need to create a sustainable living, so they then have to acquire debts to live. It’s so wrong, and David Cameron just doesn’t get it. You can’t just have the odd discussion here and there, send a bit of aid and hope for the best. We need a real structural realignment and change in our economy, structure and culture.

This ‘logic’ is why we have meaningless reports that argue 100,000 public sector jobs were saved due to the welfare cuts – what utter rubbish. There is no causation there, it is a simple correlation. You could say that David Cameron was able to eat another 100,000 biscuits because of the welfare cuts (oh, wait – he might have cut that – but you get the point); it simply isn’t feasible to make these comparisons. Again, growth is cited as evidence that the economy is ‘recovering’. Again, there is a total neglect of how the capitalist ‘logic’ needs these constant booms and busts to happen; they will continue if we don’t have a restructuring and radical change in how we do things.

I have talked about this before. Karl Marx, whilst some dispute his environmental credentials, has important arguments that can help bring to light the real dangers that the growth production logic and focus on exchange values has on the environment. Other theorists have developed Marx’s work to illustrate in greater depth  how the environment is just another commodity; as capitalists try to increase their profit they erode the very ‘resources’ they need to maintain their profit.

That’s why Cameron and others purport this argument, as they realise that the environmental dangers we have are so threatening to capitalism. They know that capitalism relies on the environment to function, but they are ignorant to wider problems that the profit motive causes to the environment, as people constantly consume and produce more and more ‘resources’, destroying natural habitats and ecosystems in the ‘need’ to create new ‘needs’ and new markets so that they keep afloat and try to beat the falling rate of profit.

Desperate stuff in desperate times, as ignorance prevails. The only thing that will change this is a structural and cultural radical change – so we challenge these damaging discourses from the ‘leaders’ who purport to understand the graveness of the environmental crisis we face today.


10 thoughts on “Cameron calls for the environment to be seen in relation to profit: Doh, that’s the problem!

  1. “Now to regurgitate the specific part of Cameron’s article that causes the most squirming:”

    I have more of a problem with your Marxist regurgitations that make me squirm.

    Why do you think that so far all Marxist experiments have resulted in poverty, privation, starvation and lack of personal freedom?

    Try reading a little recent history sweetheart and use your own brain instead of accepting what people tell you as fact.



  2. Firstly, I would respect it if you didn’t address me with patronising language such as sweetheart – grates with my feminism.

    I think you should try reading some history and the analysis (most from the left) that shows how most on the left hate ‘socialist’ experiments such as the Soviet Union – it isn’t a true reflection of what Marx said; and if you had read Marx properly you would know and respect that, even if you don’t like him.

    1. Its not a case whether I like Marks or not, the fact is that all Marxist “experiments” have failed badly.

      For your information, I have inlaws who went through one of them and they learnt the hard way that capitalism and especially the free market is the only way to get the best approximation of social justice.

      Also I suggest that you make a proper study of un-biased economics, preferably at a good university and then reconsider your opinion. I suspect you will be at that point, somewhat embarrased by what you have written in this post.



  3. You are ignoring my point that they weren’t Marxist in what they turned into. For me, Stalinism was basically just state capitalism and so I disagree that capitalism is the best way for things to occur. for example, when the Soviets took power they closed down the Soviets and seriously reduced workers power. They had the rhetoric of socialism or whatever, but even the belief that you could pass through fuedlialist conditions straight to communism was a departure from Marx.

    Are you slighting Leeds Uni there? It’s an amazing uni. Also, I have read about other economic theories, but I am afraid to tell you – I haven’t been warped into believing this – I truly believe that this is very useful when assessing capitalism. It isn’t perfect – I disagree with Marx’s emphasis on production, but many people who aren’t even Marxists would recognise merit in Marx’s labour theory of value, for example.

    Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean everyone else wont.

    1. Jane,

      Should you study economics and human psychology a little more, you may understand my point of view.

      There is nothing wrong with the dream Marxists have but the question is rather, can it ever be implemented.

      In Russia and China (which I am more familiar with) the original aim was good and I believe well meaning, but as you point out, it seems to always have gone astray.

      Have you ever studied and read why and how this has happened?



      1. I think it is the circumstances that matter. In Russia, there was civil war etc etc. They wrongly destroyed the Soviets and then Stalin happened, and the rest as they say is history. They bent Marx to justify their permanent revolution too.

        I prefer the writings of Murrary Boocking for a more up to date analysis of challenging the system.

        Marx for me, however, did understood the capitalist workings very fell. Regardless of how people many have used him, his actual writings are impressive. He’s as manipulated as Adam Smith is.

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