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The multilateral and globalist political environmentalism of the Obama administration — which influenced the Biden-Harris administration “on steroids” version — had little or nothing favorable to the global environment and much contrary to legitimate economic interests of the United States.
Obama’s bad political environmentalism got, like those of Biden, very good press coverage. Positive press for bad policy is propaganda and disinformation. Too many journalists today misinform even without knowing it. One underlying reason is their profound ignorance varnished with a veneer of the widely accepted political rather than scientific “consensus” that “looks good” to repeat and “looks bad” to object to in progressive left-wing circles.
Political environmentalism of yesterday and today
Irrational political ecologists range from those who demand a progressive reduction in the production of goods and services by intentionally and planned impoverishment of the population, to those who demand a “total halt”, and to those who bet on massive government intervention and disproportionate spending to promote “green” technologies without measuring their real economic efficiency.
At the current pace, the Biden-Harris administration with its political environmentalism will replace healthy economic growth — driven by deregulation and tax cuts— with a big green bubble of subsidies, regulations, and spending that will end in a recession that will reveal that it was invested badly and prematurely. But this is nothing new, except that this time it will be by promising to conserve resources that, in reality, may not be needed tomorrow.
In an anthropological sense, all collectivism is inevitably retrograde. In reality, Twentieth-century socialism did not escape from that; however, by means of propagandistic illusionism, it disguised as “novelty” and “progress.” And it will be no different in this century.
Thus, the irrational fear of progress, technology and civilization itself, which is explicit in ecological theory and activism, means that it can include those who take that fear to its ultimate consequences, those who propose to destroy civilization and return to the ecological balance of the most primitive human groups.
Political ecologism collided with a very low electoral ceiling and ended up subsumed in the neo-socialism that calls itself democratic — by strategy, not by conviction —, while transplanting to the old Marxist body various doctrines, previous and later, among which the Malthusianism of the political ecologists stands out.
Indeed, their theorists, for example, present us with the false equation I = PAT as a “matter of fact”, that is, the environmental impact is the result of the number of the population, multiplied by affluence, and by technology, which is completely ridiculous. Archaeological and historical evidence indicates that the introduction of new technologies reduces the environmental impact of production.
It is false that with the same number of inhabitants a poorer and technologically backward society would cause less environmental impact than a rich and developed society. It is obvious that a city of one million poor inhabitants, with blood traction technology, wood stoves, water wells, and latrines would produce greater and worse environmental impact than a city of the same number of prosperous inhabitants, with current state-of-the-art technology. To insist on believing otherwise is to ignore the implications of poverty for those who suffer from it.
The biological reality that political environmentalism ignores
The further a trophic level is removed from its source, the less biomass it will contain. Humans manipulate natural competition in favor of the species we feed on by allowing favored species such as crops and livestock to thrive. By suppressing species that might compete with or attack them, such as weeds and competitors for grass, or predators.
With agriculture and livestock, we create an ecosystem limited to three levels: crops as producers; livestock and humans as primary consumers; and humans exclusively as secondary consumers. Of course, other species are part of this ecosystem, against the intention of their manipulators, but human action will maintain their marginal numbers relative to favored species unless they temporarily lose relative control of the ecosystem.
The human capacity to produce food is such that other species that compete for these resources created by human action in reduced chains end up thriving in greater numbers than they would have in the absence of civilization, for example, urban rats and pigeons. The result of these reduced chains is that very little energy is lost before reaching humans.
Since the biomass of a humanity of 6.4 billion inhabitants can be estimated in the order of 250 million tons, the fact is that in the absence of civilization, or in any planned order that pretends a humanity of equivalent impact on the environment to that of any other primate, the human biomass could barely be around 390 thousand tons — and in the case of complete absence of civilization it would balance out at approximately 240 thousand tons — with which the extermination of 99. 9% of humanity would be the cost of reaching, in one way or another, the final ecological paradise.
Guillermo Rodríguez is a professor of Political Economy in the extension area of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at Universidad Monteávila, in Caracas. A researcher at the Juan de Mariana Center and author of several books // Guillermo es profesor de Economía Política en el área de extensión de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas de la Universidad Monteávila, en Caracas, investigador en el Centro Juan de Mariana y autor de varios libros