The past couple of decades of globalization have been a disaster for planetary ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and most middle-class citizens, but a gravy train for big investors, investment bankers, and managers of transnational corporations.
In what scientists have called "The Great Acceleration," the engine of global capitalist economic development since 1950 has now engulfed nearly the whole world and accelerated at an ever-faster speed, overwhelming our small blue planet's finite natural resources and limited ability to withstand pollution in a last great fire sale of global upper and middle-class overconsumption.
TORONTO - By the time you finish lunch on Thursday, Canada's top paid CEOs will have already earned the equivalent of your annual salary. It may be hard to swallow, but according to an annual review by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, by 1:11 p.m. on Jan. 2, the average top paid Canadian CEO will have been earned as much as the average full-time worker's yearly income. The review found the average compensation among Canada's top 100 CEOs was $7.96 million in 2012. This compared with the average annual Canadian worker's salary of $46,634.
A shadowy but extraordinarily powerful legislation-mill and stealth-lobbying outfit, ALEC specialises in quietly shepherding right-wing legislation through America’s statehouses - a process that, until recently, went all but unnoticed by the national media. In recent months, however, ALEC has found itself the subject of a great deal of unwanted attention.
Conservative groups may have spent up to $1bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change, according to thefirst extensive study into the anatomy of the anti-climate effort. The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires, often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change.
When it comes to shipping coal, it looks like the Vancouver Port Authority is taking a page out of the U.S. coal lobby's books. In an effort to combat negative public opinion about coal and the proposed expansion of coal exports through Fraser Surrey Docks, the port authority has hired public relations firm Edelman Vancouver to revamp its image. Edelman is the largest public relations firm in B.C. and the company has a history of both pushing coal exports and disregarding public opinion.
Tanuro is most successful in his challenge to mainstream greens. He rebuts the common view that pollution is caused by humanity in general — “it would be infinitely more accurate to refer to capitalist climate change instead of ‘anthropogenic’ climate change.”(43) Then, in an effective argument that mostly avoids abstract economic theory, he demonstrates the practical impossibility of stopping the climate crisis by carbon taxes, emissions trading, green subsidies, or any other means short of radical social change.
In 2014, England will follow the example set by Wales and Scotland and introduce a carrier bag charge. If the Welsh and Scottish experiences are anything to go by, the policy will drastically reduce the number of bags in circulation, keeping unnecessary waste out of landfill and removing a little polythene from the diet of our cities' seagulls. Like recycling, re-using carrier bags has become something of an iconic "sustainable behaviour".
I grew up around the North American Free Trade Agreement. It was all grownups talked about in Detroit: the Sound of NAFTA. Although not much rhymed with that phrase, the hills were indeed alive with the sounds of grouchy tool and die workers, complaining that all of our jobs were going to Mexico. As a kid, I found it hard to see what was so exciting about jobs. My dad worked in a tool and die shop with bad ventilation and no heat, and every winter he would come down with a case of bronchitis that was one order of magnitude worse than the last. But it didn’t matter what we thought, anyway.