Even if my blog is far from being popular, one or the other of its readers might have wondered about my silence over the past few weeks. Well, fact is that I’m still in sort of a post-election trauma that starts to change over to a state of perpetual depression.
Considering all the shitty “promises” that the new Coalition government has already turned into action, I’m seriously wondering where this all leads to and what there can be done under a morally wrong and corrupt political system.
Yesterday, I was at a divestment forum organized by 350.org and while it was very encouraging to see so many citizens willing to stand up against climate change, I couldn’t help thinking that we, who do care, are actually paying at least triple for the inaction of others.
First, we pay taxes as all other citizens are forced to do. However, in the case of Australia and under the current government these taxes are used to dismantle the environment and not to protect it. What means that if we care for the environment (and hence our well-being) we have to spend additional money to mitigate the damage done on it by the system. So far, that seems quite simple and probably normal for most of us, even if it’s morally wrong.
Now, the point I have been mulling over again and again comes here: while we invest our money in order to save part of what others (the mass or the lion share of voters) destroy, those others invest their money where it brings most profits for them (as we have heard yesterday, highest profits come from unethical investment). The consequence is that while we spend our savings on the protection of common goods, those “others” increase theirs to have it for future private use, such as adaptation to climate change.
In other words, while some of us try to protect something that can’t be protected without assignment of property rights, few smart and morally corrupt persons keep theirs to adapt to the damage of climate change instead of mitigating it. That can be in many forms: better selection of the location of their home, more money to spend on air conditioning, better insurance against natural hazards etc.
I guess readers get my point and it’s needless to say that while some of this world’s citizens are doomed to suffer or drown where they were born due to their country of origin and inhumane asylum policies elsewhere, all the Tony Abbotts and Rupert Murdochs will have enough money and friends to move and live wherever they are safe from natural disasters or the burden of a changing climate.
Do you think it will hurt those guys if the costs of veggies at the supermarket will double within five years? No, it won’t, because your money works for them!
Climate change has one explanation: lack of property rights for (clean) air. Or in other words, too many actors are allowed to pollute for too little money or at no cost at all. As long as this won’t be changed, private investments in climate change mitigation are an ethical correct decision but from an economical point of view provide others with comparative financial advantages. This in turn will make them even more powerful and provide them with the means to win more political discourses (the past elections have shown that even in countries like Australia, money and not facts or ideologies win seats). It’s a vicious circle and unless we break it, things will get worse.
Consequently, no matter what economists say, climate change mitigation must happen by the ballot paper and not only with the money of a few good souls on earth.
 Abbruchstimmung (ger.) = atmosphere and/or mood for demolition/breakup
 In opposition to what economists said yesterday I believe that it’s exactly that one of the fundamental principles of economic theory best illustrated in Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” that explains why private investment will not work as long as there is no (or not enough) legal framework to protect the environment and as long as it’s treated as a common good.