Come Hell and High Water – Scientists indict state capitalism
Late last year, the research journal Science published a surprising article called “Looming Global-Scale Failures and Missing Institutions” (9/11/09). In it, an international team of eminent biologists, climatologists, ecologists, and economists reviewed the long list of current global problems and came to an ominous conclusion: “Energy, food, and water crises; climate disruption; declining fisheries; increasing ocean acidification; emerging diseases; and increasing antibiotic resistance are examples of serious, intertwined global-scale challenges spawned by the accelerating scale of human activity. They are outpacing the development of institutions to deal with them and their many interactive effects.”
The article was accompanied by an illustration with arrows showing the many connections between “Global drivers,” like rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, increasing per capita resource use, and nuclear proliferation on one hand, and “unwanted outcomes” for the climate, ecosystem, human health, and the economy on the other.
For dispassionate scientists, these are fighting words. The article amounts to an indictment of state capitalism by an important part of the professional class engaged in the hard sciences. Their conclusions are highly relevant for a left that has spent years striving to draw attention to these issues.