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Economic planning is needed to solve the climate crisis

November 19, 2011
Saturday, May 30, 2009 – 10:00
By Tim Dobson

In Australia and the rest of the capitalist world, production is decided by privately owned businesses on the basis of the “profit motive”. That is, companies decide what and how much is produced based on what will achieve the greatest profit and consequently the most money for the company owners.

This explains why, in the middle of a climate emergency, the coal industry is expanding rather than being phased out: there is a lot of profit to be made from coal and the “logic” of the market is that profit alone should dictate what is produced.

In contrast, Resistance says production should be made on the basis of the needs of humanity and the planet, not profit. In a democratic, planned economy, the big decisions wouldn’t be made by individuals or individual businesses, but by society as a whole.

In this way, a planned economy is more rational because it reflects the interests and opinions of the majority in society, rather than those of wealthy individuals.

A planned economy would not expand the coal industry: it would phase it out and create a sustainable economy, precisely because it is in the interests of humanity to do so.

To see that this is possible we only need to look at Cuba, a relatively poor nation but also the only sustainable country on Earth, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Cuba lost nearly all of its oil supply and had chronic food shortages. The solution of Cuba’s socialist government was to empower people in the production of their food.

The fact that Cuba has a planned economy made this possible, and the massive expansion of permaculture and urban food gardens enabled Cuba to deal with the food shortages and move away from an oil-based farming system.

The Cuban government’s response to the crisis was successful because it put human need before profit. Resistance believes that the same approach is needed throughout the world, including in Australia, if we are to avert a climate crisis.

From GLW issue 797

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