Before judgmentally snorting at the title of this article for the inference of hypocrisy within the environmental movement, think for a moment about the implications, about why the world economy is primarily pro-capital, why global efforts by environmentalists have cycled throughout recent history, providing only temporary solutions to the much larger problem that is the mixed economy.
This article isn’t attacking the environmentalist movement, rather the principally destructive politics and economy that encompasses it.The truth is that without the pressure of environmentalist groups and the movement as a whole targeting the activity of government and their ties to privatized businesses, Earth would probably look a lot different than how it looks now!
Ecological economics and Mixed economics
Economics has become the center of all political discussion, the basis for war, the exploitation of natural resources and the justification for corruption that has become widely accepted. It is with these disturbing realizations that one might ask “how have politicians and businesses come so far with such an ugly track record?” Clearly economic systems aren’t the problem, being only a branch for political science. The problem in short is the current model and framework for most developed countries.
Whilst the definition of a mixed economy is varied, one way of describing it, is that it’s an economy directed by the state and private sector. The large majority of production within an economy is credited to privately owned businesses that are focused on driving up capital. Thus allowing them control over markets and national infrastructures, particularly large businesses. Governments are able to regulate these markets by implementing policies that are put in place to avoid crises such as large scale unemployment and financial loss. A mixed economy can be seen as a compromise between very different political and economic ideals that are constantly at conflict with one another.
Ecological economics is often confused with environmental economics as environmental economics is an economical ideal that is centered around environmental concerns such as how a policy can mitigate the rate of carbon emissions within an infrastructure. Whilst ecological and environmental economics follow a similar school of thought, ecological economics is an ideal that is centered on the preservation of nature and the sustainable coexistence of human consumption surrounding natural ecosystems. With this focus on nature, ecological economics is arguably one of the most important economical sub-systems of today, yet not much is known about its possibilities within a society or the concept conflicts with that of business and policy.
The rising global populous is responsible for almost, if not all, of our current problems such as the exploitation of natural resources and large scale development of residential buildings. Therefore how governments and businesses oversee production and development that utilize natural resources is extremely important. What has been observed however is a lack of ethical and sustainable approach to business, exploiting countries, people and the environment.
Education is extremely important, it is a right that should be granted to everyone, however, how an individual is taught by a distinguished source of information will determine their foundation of thought.
Institutionalized education at the moment is flawed in that people are segregated at a young age by their ability and capacity to learn. They are put into groups that most often than not stunt the natural process of learning and forming an original understanding of the world around them. Those that show promise are nurtured and inspired to progress, whilst those that remain average or below are left to complacently follow the majority.This lack of guidance is reflected by the scale of unemployment in any given country and a reminder that individuals are just numbers, indoctrinated with standards to live amongst a standardized populous.
All curriculum’s lead an academic to a set role within their current economic climate, pushed toward it by adhering to taught professional standards and governmental bodies changing materials slightly to keep demanding markets intact. This appears to be a calculated risk for potential employees to neatly fill in the gaps allowing economic stability and further control over the markets.Those that are without higher education are subject to structural oppression and poverty, with less chance to succeed in entrepreneurial endeavors due to the controlled markets and privatization.
Making the connection
Whilst mixed economies offer various public “freedoms” such as the right to protest in public, the overall political system is far from democratic and for the most part corrupt in its upkeep. As stated, implemented policies have granted extensive control over markets, allowing for more financially efficient investment in stocks and production. This has caused an unsustainable format for businesses to follow which has been perpetuating over the years, particularly within countries that are suffering financial troubles. Examples of this include businesses overseas relying on cheap manufacturers from China that used coal as a form of energy.
Environmentalism works in part by the aggressive campaigning of hundreds and thousands of people acting for changes within the economical system. Due to limited finances and resources compared to that of big businesses, large environmentalist groups and organizations have to prioritize their efforts on a few campaigns that have a 50/50 success rate and are primarily determined by the policies already in place, unless they are indeed challenging them. The fact that communities have to actively challenge policies surrounding environmental issues shows that there is a fundamental problem regarding the system’s objectification and detachment of nature.
Public awareness surrounding environmental issues has been a rising trend over the last decade and can be seen as a step forward within the environmental movement, however there is no ultimatum for an individual to change, especially those who enjoy the comforts and exploits of the system they’ve been brought up in. To some people the welfare of the planet isn’t enough…
When posed with an environmental problem, an individual typically thinks around the current political and economic construct limiting the amount of possibilities for change. Although a generalization, this has become a real issue because when people realize there’s no viable solution to the situation, it will regress back to or remain at its original state.
It is clear that there needs to be an overhaul of the entire political and economic system, however it is far from simple, especially now as the public are dependent upon big business and the conflicting diversification of political ideology. This article is not an attempt to persuade the reader into alternative living, though here are a some concepts to consider:
- Cooperative markets – Relieve some of the dependency on big businesses by re-focusing on local production of goods and services. Not only will this keep money within the country but also create practical jobs and skills that can be taught in schools. If climate change is to devastate parts of the infrastructure, rendering roads, airports, shipping ports and trains useless, all that will remain are a minority of people who have the necessary skills to produce goods and provide specialist services, while the majority of the population will stand there scratching their heads with their certificates for higher education.
- Change the political landscape – With the advent of social networks and other mediums of internet based communication, politics as we know it is changing. Countries in the Middle East are standing up for a more democratic process and in part have succeeded and shown the power of the people. That is not to say that other countries should follow their exact footsteps, however there is a need for radical changes within the system. It’s impossible to say what those changes could be, however they should be centered around the science and protection of natural capital and the global implementation of sustainable energy to power the worlds infrastructure.
- More pressure on businesses and government – Whilst concepts and solutions to some of our current problems are tested and thought about, there should be more pressure put on businesses and government policies by the public. As mentioned above, large environmental groups and organizations are limited in both resources and members… If you’re a concerned citizen of the world join in with campaigns and be a part of the revolution! Even start your own…