Monbiot focusses on Neoliberalism: the justification of a global grab of power, public assets and natural resources by an unrestrained elite

Lord Stern has described climate change as “the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”

George Monbiot continues:

“In return for 150 years of explosive consumption, much of which does nothing to advance human welfare, we are atomising the natural world and the human systems that depend on it. “The world is in the grip of Neoliberalism, an extreme political doctrine, whose tenets forbid the kind of intervention required to arrest it and appears to be little more than a justification for plutocracy, the ideology used, often retrospectively, to justify a global grab of power, public assets and natural resources by an unrestrained elite.



“The doctrine was first applied in Chile in 1973. The result was an economic catastrophe, but one in which the rich – who took over Chile’s privatised industries and unprotected natural resources – prospered exceedingly. The creed was taken up by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It was forced upon the poor world by the IMF and the World Bank. By the time James Hansen presented the first detailed attempt to model future temperature rises to the US Senate in 1988(3), the doctrine was being implanted everywhere”.

Those on the PCU mailing list will agree with him that “Neoliberalism protects the interests of the elite against all comers” but most will not side with his decision to support the expansion of the nuclear power industry.

As he says, we should ‘abandon the four-fifths or more of fossil fuel reserves that we cannot afford to burn’ – we add, for more than one season. And many will agree that:

“The struggle against all the crises besetting us cannot be addressed until the doctrine is challenged by effective political alternatives”.

To this end a democratic mobilisation against plutocracy is getting under way:

 Chilean student outriders: ‘Our future is not for sale’


  •  this should start with an effort to reform campaign finance: the means by which corporations and the very rich buy policies and politicians;
  • a petition will be launched later this month.
Monbiot advocates a new politics – a more fiery version of the Green Party Manifesto?
  • one that sees intervention as legitimate,
  • that contains a higher purpose than corporate emancipation disguised as market freedom,
  • that puts the survival of people and the living world above the survival of a few favoured industries.


 Read the article here, or the fully referenced version at



Posted on December 6, 2012, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Parliamentary failure, Party funding, Vested interests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. AG by email:

    So Monbiot thinks that the workers need to rise up and throw off the shackles of the awful plutocrats who uncaringly bleed them dry and live off the fat of the land? He seems to be calling for a return to 1381 and the peasants revolt.

    I have to admit that I have come round to believing (like him) that nuclear power is the way forward – or stop handing out flu jabs in the developed world and close down all medical research.

    Nothing would do the planet more good than removing mankind from it – but that is a little nihilist!!

  2. JN by email:

    I suppose a plutocrat would say that Monbiot is just responding to all of us jumping in the car, turning on the central heating, or booking a holiday. It is mass consumer demand that is destroying the planet, when harnessed to high carbon technologies.

    To make a transition needs rapid build up of new capital in the shape of new technologies, products, markets to replace the old; just what capitalism is good at doing.

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