Economy

“We must get out of the market economy” – LeVif/L’Express on PC

“We must get out of the market economy” – LeVif/L’Express on PC
Written by on100dayloans

Ecologist co-president Jean-Marc Nollet is releasing a program book these days, which will be presented during a lecture tour. He wants to use it to “win the cultural battle” and ensure the ecological transition. Just that.

He regrets having “unnecessarily fueled this frenzy”, especially when, in a televised campaign debate, he offered a puppet to Charles Michel: to get out of the polarization and the culture of “buzz and clash”, encouraged by social networks, Jean-Marc Nollet publishes Conquests. Paths, adversaries and alliances for the ecological transition (1). Over the course of some 250 pages, the Carolorégien draws up an alarming report on the current environmental situation, sets out 23 proposals (to be read on levif.be) – not all of which are on his party’s program -, denounces through subtle games of words its adversaries (“terrorists”, “inactivists”, “technolaters”, etc.) and the alliances to be forged – he writes “lianer” – with certain sectors of our society to “ensure the habitability of the earth”. For Le Vif, he reveals the main lines.

He regrets having “unnecessarily fueled this frenzy”, especially when, in a televised campaign debate, he offered a puppet to Charles Michel: to get out of the polarization and the culture of “buzz and clash”, encouraged by social networks, Jean-Marc Nollet publishes Conquests. Paths, adversaries and alliances for the ecological transition (1). Over the course of some 250 pages, the Carolorégien draws up an alarming report on the current environmental situation, sets out 23 proposals (to be read on levif.be) – not all of which are on his party’s program -, denounces through subtle games of words its adversaries (“terrorists”, “inactivists”, “technolaters”, etc.) and the alliances to be forged – he writes “lianer” – with certain sectors of our society to “ensure the habitability of the earth”. For Le Vif, he reveals the main lines. You borrow the concept of “terrorists” from the French philosopher Yves Citton to evoke some of your opponents on the populist right, but aren’t you one yourself, you who compare the Earth to the Titanic a few hundred meters before its accident? “Terrorists” are those who live on terror. They feed it, even arouse it. We don’t live on terror, we live on the Earth. The object is to preserve its habitability. The “terrorists” are based on a lie where any foreigner is a threat, a potential terrorist, we are based on science and the limits it determines so that our planet remains habitable. That’s all the difference. They are sounding the alarm for the wrong reasons, you for the right ones? We exercise a function of alarm clock, around scientific data, and we assume. We know that the best antidote to fear is action. We have a function of alarm clock, them, of cluster bomb: division of society, scapegoats, etc. You deplore the fact that we don’t talk enough about the collapse of biodiversity, while global warming is the top concern in public debate. But your party itself does more about climate than biodiversity, right? The impoverishment of biodiversity and climate change are the two faces of the ecological crisis. The two feed each other. In the history of political ecology, we have historically spoken more of biodiversity than of climate. It is to rebalance things that I devote twice as much space in this book to the first rather than to the second, yes, if you will. I want to point out this imbalance which has no place to be. If we look at the figures, they are objectively even more alarming on biodiversity than on the climate. You say you want to “leave the market economy”. Does this mean that political ecology, yours in any case, is necessarily anti-capitalist? The economy must be reinstated, on a broad social base, and respecting the limits of the planet. I have always been challenged by this notion of market economy, as if the market was for itself the only thing to run, regardless of the consequences. In this paradigm, “sky is the limit”, whereas for us ecologists, the Earth is the limit. We must get out of this logic of the market, redefine what must depend on it, and what must be protected from it, in a plural and sustainable economy, in which there is a role for the State, a role for associations, a role for municipalities. Our anti-productivist critique targets both capitalism and communism: I do not ignore the environmental abuses committed by communist regimes. You are proposing carbon pricing, it is a market instrument, that, the “price signal”… We are not in an absolute refusal of everything and all tools! We just want to put things back in their place. In an area like energy, we have clearly let the market deregulate everything, and I am happy that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) has joined the proposal of the Federal Minister for Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten ( Groen), to lock in prices. It’s quite interesting to see that in three major recent crises (the financial crisis, the Covid and the war in Ukraine), each time, governments say to themselves that we must regain market share. The flaws in the system are recognized by their warmest liberal supporters… Corporations have surprised you with how quickly they have become green. So it’s good that the market economy isn’t so bad? Many companies are moving faster than the economic system, and certainly much faster than the financial system. Today, the main obstacle to the transition is this financial system, its investments in carbon support. So we should be proud to see a number of entrepreneurs anticipating. More and more of them are coming to see us and asking us for long-term visions to get out of speculation and set up a sustainable course with a partner State. I had a lot of dialogue with Jacques Crahay, the former boss of the Walloon bosses, and in his image, many companies are changing faster than the conservatives think. When you ally yourself with someone, it means that this someone is not yourself. Saying that you want to sign an alliance with the working classes, in particular, that all the same means that they are not yours… I consider that our responsibility, as ecologists, is to open the doors and the windows of the political world, not to consider this question of alliances as a political or electoral question. The characteristic of ecologists is to ally with people who are not from the seraglio. We will win the balance of political power if, culturally, we have been able to “vine”, I insist on this image of the creeper, a climbing plant that is both flexible and solid and which, by intertwining, forms a network of more denser, to the point of becoming hegemonic. Ecology needs a “binding” strategy. What are the “operating methods which are to be questioned” that you mention, in view of this alliance with the popular classes? Binding was not enough. Why? We have remained too much in modes of discussion, transmission, intellectual and written exchanges. In popular circles, we have experts from experience, people who experience the difficulties we point to on a daily basis. To win the cultural battle, you have to succeed in this alliance…

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