2/24/2019 0 Comments
It was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who leveraged the age old adage "never let a serious crisis go to waste". The origins of this phrase came from those who saw crises as opportunities to boldly do what you would never do in "normal" times. Unfortunately, this phrase has also been the philosophical foundation of, what Journalist Naomi Klein refers to as "Shock Doctrine Economics" --- a process that exploits desperate situations to advance a profit agenda at the cost of those dealing with the disaster. Such examples include the gentrification of the 9th Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina made it impossible for people with little means to stay there. Or the selling off of public assets in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. With more disasters on the horizon because of climate change, is it possible to flip the script on this process and re-imagine old systems to create new tools for the greater good? This conversation is trending and has picked up it's own name: "Empowerment Doctrine Socioeconomics". Here are some possible suggestions of how it could work:
Flip The Prison Industrial Complex. When a country that has 4.4% of the entire world's population, yet 22% of the world's prison population, and spends more on incarceration than education, yet the crime rate has been going down since the late 1970s, something is incredibly, systemically wrong. That is the United States in 2019. Since climate change is going to require the building of mega-projects and labor on massive scales, why not create a pathway to sentence abatement through a paid "green labor force" option for non-violent offenders? It would kill the Prison Industrial Complex and address climate change at the same time. Here are some mega projects in Africa that could be implemented around the world...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsb1LFUrSPA
The Black and Brown New Deal. While the Green New Deal proposal does provide financial support for those who will be impacted first and hardest by climate change, namely communities of color working class families, it could go further. Tech companies testing new technology for climate change adaptation should be testing these products out in communities of color first. Making arrangements in these communities would mean testing and investing in the communities, should these technologies take off.
A Vice Tax For Meat. I know there is a giant lobby in place that would fight this tooth and nail. That's fine if they want to argue this point while we all live underground, but here is something to consider right now. Reducing our red meat habit is the single most powerful thing any of us can do to reduce carbon emissions https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth.... while at the same time improving the overall health of billions of people. https://www.foxnews.com/health/10-benefits-of-eating-less-meat. Since many countries subsidize their farmers, we should subsidize poor meat producers in emerging countries to grow hemp. Just a thought.
Teaching Ubuntu. Business schools would do well to expand their curriculum to include the socioeconomic impact of Ubuntu as a socioeconomic system, especially in times of need. Ubuntu is a philosophical construct from Southern Africa that says "we are all connected", thus we must create systems that reflect this thought. Simply put, the scarcity model of individualism may be the last idea you want to promote in a time of climate change desperation. Without the idea of shared purpose, connectedness and the greater good, teaching students that it's all about the individual could ignite fear and anxiety which could send a society into chaos. https://theclimatelemon.com/individual-collective-fixing-climate-change/
Some sections of our society would look at these bold ideas as "too radical" and "dangerous". But we have to constantly remind ourselves that it was their ideas and their defense of those ideas that have brought us to this moment in time in the first place.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org