Should Greta be political?


I have criticised Greta Thunberg for saying “Listen to the Scientists”, who do not give answers. But in this 15 minute interview, she declines to get involved with politics at all.

If she means that she refuses to choose between Socialism and Capitalism, I would agree with her, but am I clutching at straws in wishing she had a deeper understanding of what ‘politics’ ought to mean? My (Chambers) dictionary defines politics as “The science or business of government”. I criticise others who seem to assume that if only enough individuals were to follow ecological rules, without ‘political’ guidance (or compulsion), that would avert the coming ecological catastrophe. Must I repeat the reasons why this is unlikely to happen in time? (It is all here in this weblog).

In 2003, Wolfgang Sachs said

Th World is no longer divided by the ideologies of ’left’ and ‘right’, but by those who accept ecological limits and those who do not”

I wish. Sine 2003 al that has happened is that each side has sharpened their attacks. with one side (the Neoliberals) winning.

Greta, I do suggest an alternative form of politics.

I have been depressed by the lack of interest in my proposal, but I am coming to realize how wrong-headed it may appear to conventional minds. (But that is one of the straws at which I have been clutching: I had hoped that Greta was one of the tiny minority who see it as I do).

However, I do have a possible reason to be optimistic: this video of a discussion on the relationship of the basic income to growth, or de-growth. I confess, that my failing senses made it difficult to follow all contributions, but I am assured by others who watched it that two distinct opinions emerged: Adrenne Goehler saw a basic income as potentially leading to ecologically sustainable de-growth, and Hanna Ketterer who doubted this. My apologies if this is not correct.

In case this becomes a general phenomenon, I think it important to ask Greta which she thinks is more likely.

I see taxes on ecologically damaging activities s the key, but these must seem self-defeating in terms of raising revenue. There may have to be a transition period, but if these taxes are accompanied by a basic income, then money will still be spent on things that do not damage the environment, providing a source for taxation. A basic income not tied to eco-taxes would simply stimulate growth.

Although the basic income looks like a practical measure, its real strength is that it opens the way to a mind set change to a less consumerist lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.