I am worried. As interest in UBI increases, never a mention of my main reason: to guarantee security as growth is limited to ecologically sustainable levels. But recently I was met with hostility, not apathy. This only made sense if connecting the two was somehow improper. I have, on Facebook, seen comments such as “This concern with the environment is a millstone round our socialist necks.” If not balanced by redistribution, which is why we seem socialist, the Basic Income becomes a recipe for growth, hastening ecological damage. That is worrying enough, but hostility is something new.
What makes this especially galling is that in Doughnut Economics Kate Raworth approvingly cites the universal, unconditional Basic (or Citizens’) income several times, but not where it is most needed – the chapter on being agnostic on growth
I have just read two articles which increase my concern. The first, in the Guardian over 3 years ago becomes more relevant as time passes. It outlines the psychology of why so few people pay any attention to the eco-threat which should frighten them, as it does me.
Climate denialism has also played a part. Just as the tobacco industry kept the link with cancer at bay for several decades of profit, denial of evidence – retreating glaciers and successive record temperatures – made sense as a temporary measure. But smoking only threated a few million individuals.
As it happens, one of the worst perpetrators of climate denial, Rex Tillerson, appears to have switched sides. As Secretary of State, he now advises President Trump to support the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Unfortunately, Trump actually believes the lies. The Guardian article shows why this matters far more than it should.
But I did hope that Tillerson’s new stance was a hopeful sign – until I read this article in the Climate News Network. It appears that most captains of industry still believe the lies.
At best theirs is a high risk strategy – they are aware of the danger, but they merely judge that the pretence that the energy and water vapour in the atmosphere are not rising, can safely be prolonged a little longer. I also hoped that the 2015 ‘Paris’ agreement was a sign that they agreed that the time had come to heed eco-limits. But they are still hemmed in by the Tragedy of the Commons. No tramsnational corporation can deviate from the expansionist strategy which has served them well, until they are sure that all competitors will do likewise.
But as the article makes clear, the neoliberal decision makers have well and truly defused the movement to heed ecological limits.
So it is a last straw to discover that this movement in not just being suppressed by the neoliberals, but is also attacked by someone who supports the UBI because he believes in social justice.
Without the UBI in place, social justice will get short shrift if climate change is real.