This is from a comment by Arun Gupta near the end of an enormously interesting discussion on Democracy Now! this morning. I actually want to draw attention in another post to some other ideas from that discussion by Robert Kuttner that spoke more specifically to the topic of that discussion, entitled "Can [the] Grassroots Movement[s] that Propelled Obama to Victory Chart a Better Economy?" But, just on its own terms, Gupta's comment here really set me thinking -- and, frankly, alarmed me -- on a different track than the rest of the discussion did I thought it is worthy of looking at on its own terms.
[T]here’s a lot of talk now… about a green-collar economy. I think that’s very important, but one of the reasons that it’s important to ban derivative trading is [that] the investment banks are salivating over a green-collar economy, and [it] needs to be explained why, because they are -- have set up trading desks. It’s estimated that carbon trading, the idea of trading in pollution rights, in ten years will be larger than all energy markets combined. So they’re looking to make a killing off of it. They’ll create derivative instruments, and this will just create another bubble. So we need to be now thinking about clearly exactly what to do to put in progressive ideas and to prevent this disaster from happening again.
This is a different point than the ones most readers of Amor Mundi will surely already be well aware of and concerned about -- the way corporate appropriation via "Greenwashing" of widespread and absolutely reasonable environmentalist concerns disastrously deranges our collective capacity to educate, agitate, and organize to address these urgent problems, or the fact that ideas about "markets for pollution vouchers" are mostly just another libertopian scheme that few expect to do much good and some expect to do terrible damage on its own terms, and so on. What is chilling about Gupta's insight for me is that it answers a question I often find myself asking when I'm talking with concerned friends about the restless relentless scheming of current corporate-militarist capitalism (aka: the neoliberal/neoconservative global circuit) to concentrate wealth while externalizing costs and risks via dematerializing pyramid-like "digitization" and "financialization" schemes… Where can they possibly go next?
Obviously the endless whomping up indefinable and hence ineradicable terror to rationalize the diversion of ever more resources into that great welfare for the rich program that we call Defense Spending is one way corporate-militarists will always try to go. But given the proliferation of windmills in glossy corporate commercial advertising (even if almost nowhere else in, you know, the actual world), given the ritualistic but not necessarily particularly well-informed genuflections to "renewable energy" in public discourse by pundits and lobbyists and representatives beholden to incumbent interests, given the appalling scale of evil and self-destructiveness that would be on exhibit if greedy people used a real threat of planetary catastrophe not to address that actual threat but to make more money just because they were in a position to do so, and given the tragically overamply demonstrated capacity of otherwise intelligent and even well-meaning people to rationalize the most irresponsible and short-sighted and selfish conduct imaginable so long as they are structurally discouraged from giving a thought to anything but short-term profit-making for the organizations with which they are personally affiliated on the most provincial terms I have to say that Gupta's suggestion that the next world-historically catastrophic bubble will be sold to us in the name of "Green" seems to me not only plausible but, frankly, straightforwardly inevitable.