The Green New Deal proposes a wholesale reworking of the American economy to aggressively combat climate change. To support its ambitious environmental policy—100% clean renewable energy by 2030—the plan contains an equally ambitious economic agenda—most notably guaranteed income and housing for all Americans.
This coupling of environmental and economic policy is necessary, its advocates argue. Bold action on climate change will necessarily mean drastic changes in the economy, destroying existing industries and creating new ones. Without an equally drastic expansion of the social safety net, the risk for individuals in this transition would be unacceptable. Thus, the Green New Deal has economic and environmental reform as equal pillars of its plan.
This argument has come under intense scrutiny, mostly from the center and right, where even ambitious environmental policy is largely divorced from sweeping economic reforms—proponents of a carbon tax, for example, argue that it can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions without any significant reworking of the economic system.
But one could equally ask, from the perspective of the left, does the Green New Deal go far enough? Does it address the fundamental assumptions inherent in the US economy that have led to the situation where drastic action on climate change is necessary? Or is even the Green New Deal still just fiddling at the margins, avoiding a comprehensive critique of the link between capitalism and climate catastrophe?
Political Animal Press author, Victor Wallis, argues in Red-Green Revolution that capitalism itself must be overturned if the world is to pull itself back from the brink. “Ecosocialism” is the only answer to the existential dilemma facing America and the world.
Ecosocialist politics is based on recognizing that a sound ecological policy cannot be achieved within a capitalist framework.
Professor Wallis joined the WhoWhatWhy podcast to discuss his work:
He has also spoken with Christian Stache for Die junge Welt, a translation of which is available here, and provided readers of Political Animal Magazine with a short introduction to his thinking on ecosocialism, and capsule introduction to socialism and capitalism more generally.
Wallis also has a new book, Democracy Denied, collecting his lectures from a recent tour of China. It is available from Africa World Press.