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The economy for faith healers
by Tomasz Konicz
Thursday Jul 9th, 2020 7:40 AM
Due to the sharpening contradictions of late capitalist socialization, barbarism, not reason, is increasing. Reason is not advancing in the overall historical movement, as once postulated by Hegel. Only the overcoming of this false whole, which is decaying openly, would offer humankind a chance of survival.
The economy for faith healers

A polemical overview of the adaptation achievements of capitalist ideology in times of the manifest climate crisis.

by Tomasz Konicz

[This article published in June 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.exit-online.org/textanz1.php?tabelle=aktuelles&index=7&posnr=733.]

"Ideology does not overlap social existence as a removable layer,
but dwells within him." Adorno, Negative Dialectic

In the face of the climate crisis, humanity's confidence in capitalism as the best of all possible worlds is melting away even faster than the icebergs and glaciers of the Arctic. It is "an alarming result" that a comprehensive global survey of confidence in the capitalist economic order has revealed, a spokeswoman for the "communications company" Edelman declared in January 2020.1

In the annual "Trust Barometer, " 34,000 people from 28 countries are asked about their trust in the capitalist economy. A majority of respondents2 expressed a predominantly negative opinion on the market economy for the first time. Germany is in line with the global trend critical of capitalism. The system has more disadvantages than advantages - this opinion was shared by 55 percent of the survey participants in Germany. Only 12 percent of Germans said they would benefit from a growing economy.

The survey left it unclear what the German citizens surveyed actually understand by capitalism, as around 75 percent also stated that their own employer was their "most trustworthy partner". For the study's authors, however, this ambivalence was no reason to dispense with the explicit warning of a crisis of legitimacy for capitalism. People are looking for answers to the "big questions" in the face of the climate crisis and "technological change," according to a company spokeswoman: "However, because the economy has not yet provided sufficient answers, more and more people are questioning the capitalist system itself."

This increasing "search for answers", which is causing alarm bells to ring at the communications company Edelman, is a reaction to the worsening socio-ecological systemic crisis, which is taking place in the interaction between the inner3 and outer4 barriers to the developmental capacity of the capitalist world system. In other words, the inability of capital to effectively counter the production of an economically superfluous humanity while at the same time ecologically devastating the planet.

Despite all the constant ideological propaganda, it is now dawning on the majority of the world's population that the social system in which they are forced to live is the cause of the increasing, simply catastrophic phenomena of crisis5 , which are becoming more intense6 every year.

This looming crisis of legitimacy of the capitalist world system increases the market demand in the media industry for new patterns of legitimacy and for new ideological narratives with which the system could be justified. The manifest climate crisis, in which capital burns entire continents for the sake of boundless self-proliferation7, is also a great time of new ideas and patterns of argumentation to legitimize the wrong whole in spite of all catastrophes. The present manifest time of crisis is thus also the great time of the faith healers of capitalism.

Dare more capitalism

What can still avert the crash into the climate catastrophe that is threatening to happen due to the obligation to exploit capital? The ruling ideology has an answer: more capitalism, of course! The business columnist of the most popular German information portal, therefore, asked himself8 in mid-January whether capitalism would still "save us."

There is no longer any attempt to divert attention from the causes of the climate crisis in view of the obvious connections and facts. Of course, "capitalism is to blame," explained columnist Henrik Müller in his article, since without the "unleashing of productivity and the pursuit of profit in ever-wider parts of the globe" the "planetary gas shell would probably not have warmed up "to the extent" that it does now. What to do? Logic would dictate that serious thought be given to social alternatives, to ways of transforming the system.
But a professor of economic journalism is not to be misled by such logic. Müller, therefore, sees the very system that leads humanity to the edge of the ecological abyss as the panacea for itself. Capitalism, he says, is "the best hope in the fight against climate change. Neither "individual moral behavior" nor politics is capable of saving the world's climate, the professor declared in self-censorship of thought characteristic of business journalists, who are not allowed to dawn on any alternative courses of action beyond the health food store or the ballot box.


After the options for action were implicitly limited to "morality and altruism," it is now solemnly declared that it is not "morality and altruism" that is called for, but "profit-seeking, risk prevention and regulation" in order to turn a "moral problem" (as if Australia's fire disaster, for example, had been caused by a moral deficit) into an "economic problem" (which climate change has been from the beginning and continues to be). The "much-maligned capital markets" in particular would play a central role here, Müller explained in view of the last elite meeting in Davos.

Mr Blackrock, take over!

In the opinion of the professor, the elites would fix it. The head of the world's largest asset manager, Larry Fink, had written a letter. In it, Fink warns that all those "companies and countries" that "neither adapt to the needs of their stakeholders nor address sustainability risks" would be punished by the financial markets with a "growing skepticism" that would manifest itself in "higher capital costs." Companies that would "clean up" would now find it easier to make money, as Mr. Blackrock, who manages seven trillion dollars of investor money, would reward them with a lower cost of capital, while dirty people would face competitive disadvantages. This would lead to the "greening of capitalism" as a business with ecologically harmful goods, and services would become a risk ("stranded assets"), according to the professor of business journalism in the best of all possible worlds.

The climate problem is "at the heart of capitalism," the system is "mobilizing its defenses." Investors and financial market regulators are now exerting pressure because the climate crisis is affecting people and nature and what a horror! - threaten financial stability. Capitalism is good at adapting, Müller said. Since capitalists prefer to invest their "money" where it yields "the safest possible returns," they would now "defend themselves" against climate change, as it creates "fundamental uncertainty." Hooray, everything will be fine. Why demonstrate, organize? Mr. Blackrock, who loves to write, will fix it.

These remarks make it clear how ideology works. They are not flat lies, but half-truths or distortions of social reality, which are spread - often unconsciously - for legitimacy. Of course, capitalists want to invest their money "safely," but at the same time, they must achieve the highest possible returns if they do not want to be lost in competition with other capitalists. This market-mediated compulsion to make more money out of money constitutes the capitalist system's compulsion to grow. And it is precisely to this that capital cannot adapt itself, because it cannot adapt itself to itself. Capital as a social production relationship is precisely money, which must become more money through investment.

Müller thus presents only those aspects of the financial sphere that fit into his argumentation. Still, in his apologetics of capitalism, he ignores the compulsion for growth and exploitation as the essence of capital. And it is precisely to this, the need of exploitation, that capital cannot adapt itself, that is, overcome it without negating itself.

This can also be illustrated concretely: The investments made by the financial sector are ultimately linked to the production of goods, where the exploitation of wage labor generates added value. For this reason, the actions of many dominant financial players, whom German business journalism stylizes as salvationists in the climate crisis, are characterized by blatant schizophrenia, as the example of JP Morgan9 shows. In internal assessments, the economists of the major bank now warn that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. So how does JP Morgan adapt to this "fundamental uncertainty" (Müller)? Is the "much scolded" financial industry pushing the economy towards an ecological turnaround?

At the same time, the bank is the world's largest financier of fossil energy projects, according to the British Guardian. Since the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement alone, JP Morgan has provided oil and gas companies with around 75 billion euros to promote fossil fuels. While the economists of the significant bank warn of the end of humanity, more money must be made from cash through financial investments - which blatantly illustrates the destructive, fetishistic momentum of capital.

The mad idea ventilated by Müller, according to which parts of capital could somehow cancel or revise the self-destructive tendencies of capital, is not new.

After the options for action were implicitly limited to "morality and altruism," it is now solemnly declared that it is not "morality and altruism" that is called for, but "profit-seeking, risk prevention and regulation" to turn a "moral problem" (as if Australia's fire disaster, for example, had been caused by a moral deficit) into an "economic problem." Climate change has been an "economic problem" from the beginning and continues to be. The "much-maligned capital markets" in particular would play a central role here, Müller explained because of the last elite meeting in Davos.

Mr. Blackrock, take over!

In the opinion of the professor, the elites would fix it. The head of the world's largest asset manager, Larry Fink, had written a letter. In it, Fink warns that all those "companies and countries" that "neither adapt to the needs of their stakeholders nor address sustainability risks" would be punished by the financial markets with a "growing skepticism" that would manifest itself in "higher capital costs". Companies that would "clean up" would now find it easier to make money, as Mr. Blackrock, who manages seven trillion dollars of investor money, would reward them with a lower cost of capital, while dirty people would face competitive disadvantages. This would lead to the "greening of capitalism" as business with ecologically harmful goods and services would become a risk ("stranded assets"), according to the professor of business journalism in the best of all possible worlds.

The climate problem is "at the heart of capitalism," the system is "mobilizing its defenses." Investors and financial market regulators are now exerting pressure because the climate crisis is affecting people and nature and what a horror! - threaten financial stability. Capitalism is good at adapting, Müller said. Since capitalists prefer to invest their "money" where it yields "the safest possible returns," they would now "defend themselves" against climate change, as it creates "fundamental uncertainty." Hooray, everything will be fine. Why demonstrate, organize? Mr. Blackrock, who loves to write, will fix it.

These remarks make it clear how ideology works. They are not flat lies, but half-truths or distortions of social reality, which are spread - often unconsciously - for legitimacy. Of course, capitalists want to invest their money "safely," but at the same time, they must achieve the highest possible returns if they do not want to be lost in competition with other capitalists. This market-mediated compulsion to make more money out of money constitutes the capitalist system's compulsion to grow. Capital cannot adapt itself to this because it cannot adapt itself to itself. Capital as a social production relationship is precisely money, which must become more money through investment.

Müller thus presents only those aspects of the financial sphere that fit into his argumentation. Still, in his apologetics of capitalism, he ignores the compulsion for growth and exploitation as the essence of capital. Capital cannot adapt itself to that compulsion - without negating itself.

This can also be illustrated concretely: The investments made by the financial sector are ultimately linked to the production of goods, where added value is generated by exploiting wage labor. For this reason, the actions of many dominant financial players, whom German business journalism stylizes as salvationists in the climate crisis, are characterized by blatant schizophrenia, as the example of JP Morgan9 shows. In internal assessments, the economists of the major bank now warn that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. So how does JP Morgan adapt to this "fundamental uncertainty" (Müller)? Is the "much scolded" financial industry pushing the economy towards an ecological turnaround?

At the same time, the bank is the world's largest financier of fossil energy projects, according to the British Guardian. Since the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement alone, JP Morgan has provided oil and gas companies with around 75 billion euros to promote fossil fuels. While the economists of the significant bank warn of the end of humanity, more money must be made from money through financial investments - which blatantly illustrates the destructive, fetishistic momentum of capital.

The mad idea ventilated by Müller, according to which parts of capital could somehow cancel or revise the self-destructive tendencies of capital, is not new. For a time, the insurance industry was considered a natural ally of the ecological movement, as it was particularly hard hit by the destruction caused by increasing extreme weather events, as Spiegel-Online reported in an article published in 200710. Top managers in the insurance industry wanted to put climate change "at the top of the agenda" and advocated "reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions."

The results of these public demands by the insurance industry for consistent climate protection are well known. Not only have CO2 emissions continued to rise briskly worldwide since 2007, but the industry itself continues to participate in climate-damaging projects because more money has to be made from money. For example, Allianz supports coal production11 in Poland, a country that is one of Europe's biggest climate sinners alongside the Federal Republic of Germany.

In general, the idea that a high-ranking economic functionary could, using a letter or an expression of opinion, order a fundamental reorientation of the exploitation dynamics of the entire capitalist world system, as it were, by way of a Uka, is based on an absurd overestimation of the power resources of the upper management caste, whose subjectively existing subtlety of action consists only in the optimization of the objectively given dynamics of accumulation - with which Müller unintentionally promotes a personification of the subjectless rule of capital, which is in vogue in many acute crisis ideologies (if at all, then the bourgeois state in its role as "ideal total capitalist" would have the function of enforcing the ecological turnaround to preserve the system).

Müller thus shares the apologetic belief in the omnipotence of the capitalist with the abridged or supposed criticism of capitalism, which the late capitalist world can only understand as an eternal world conspiracy. Thus, German economic journalism seems to tend towards a certain shortened apologetics of capitalism, which reproduces the widespread, often drifting into conspiracy fears, shortened criticism of capitalism in a mirror image.

Reformist Projections

The idea that powerful actors from the financial sphere will be able to bring the "dirty" fossil economy to its senses was expanded by the daily newspaper12 (Taz), close to the Greens, during the disputes over Siemens' business with the operators of Australian coal mines. There were climate-friendly "institutional investors" such as "pension funds, church funds or insurance companies" who thought in the long term, demanded a gradual ecological change and which even Siemens boss Joe Kaeser could no longer ignore.

According to the report, "such as Axa, Union Investment, the pension fund of the Church of England or Caritas" had joined forces to ally "Climate Action 100", for example, which now manages a total of 35 trillion dollars and holds "shares in Siemens, BASF, Heidelberg Cement, Daimler, BMW, Eon, RWE, VW, and Thyssenkrupp". Withdrawal of the capital of these institutional investors would be "a clear public signal, also to other companies that have climate walls in their portfolio," according to the Taz. But at the same time, the Taz had to admit that these institutional investors could hardly withdraw their capital, since "the idea of such investors" was precisely to "stay in the company to have a say".

Being part of it is everything! Therefore, one must participate to be able to intervene in a creative way, according to the logic of the Taz. It almost seems as if the billion-dollar pension funds are taking a walk through the capitalist institutions of transnational corporations to transform them all the more thoroughly from the inside, ecologically, by insisting that "companies like Siemens are gradually changing."

This argumentation in the daily newspaper thus resembles a reformist projection. The reformist walk through the institutions, through which the Federal Republic was to undergo a fundamental ecological transformation, forms the core of the political project of the Greens. The naive idea of a transformation of capitalism through industrious - and lucrative - participation, which already embarrassed itself in the red-green Schröder-Fischer government era with its war of aggression against Yugoslavia in violation of international law and Agenda 2010, is here simply projected onto the economic sphere. Thus, the powerful players in the economy appear to the green middle-class journalist as potential partners who actually wanted the same thing.

Such views in the Greens' house paper ultimately offer a depressing picture of the impending misery of opportunistic climate policy by a future government led by the Greens, where people still believe in the powerful goodwill of the huge players on the markets, which a government has to help to break through. Ultimately, an opportunistic ideology shines through here, which, by fading out concrete contradictions and conflicts, hallucinates a common interest, a "common good," in which any progress in climate policy would be sacrificed to the desired consensus - in stark contrast to the confrontational policy of Bernie Sanders and the American Left, who intend to enforce their Green New Deal, which could also be just the first step of a system transformation, in an explicit fight against powerful capital interests ( the Green New Deal cannot form a "new accumulation model")

But what about the powerful, billion-dollar pension funds that, according to the Taz, were thinking long-term and were now trying to bring top managers like Joe Kaeser to ecological sanity? These institutional investors are in a severe crisis13 as they are barely able to meet their obligations to their clients. This is a consequence of the historically unprecedented low-interest rate policy that was imposed as a support for the economy in response to the last surge in the crisis - the bursting of the transatlantic real estate bubble in 2008. Cheap money may have stimulated the economy, but it has put insurance companies and pension funds in an increasingly precarious position. They are no longer able to generate the corresponding long-term contractually agreed returns on the capital markets. Billions of holes are already gaping here.14

Therefore, pension funds are forced to take higher risks and become more involved in the stock markets to generate the necessary returns. For example, Handelsblatt cites Japan's largest fund, the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), which has "assets of around 1.2 trillion euros ... is one of the largest pension funds in the world". Because of the ongoing phase of low-interest rates, this fund has "reduced its government bond quota from around 60 percent to 35 percent and increased its equity quota from 24 to 50 percent". More money has to be made from money, millions of pension claims depend on it - it is income for broad sections of the population that depend on it, not just the profits of a small clique of super-rich and managers.

It therefore takes a great deal of imagination to declare these ailing "institutional investors" to be the pioneers of ecological capitalism, who would, for example, reject lucrative Siemens deals with Australian coal mines in favor of ecological sustainability. They must by hook or by crook increase their returns. But this example also illustrates the interaction between the internal and external barriers of capital, between economic and ecological crisis: The increasing social and environmental contradictions, the resulting sharpening of "constraints" - they continue to narrow the maneuvering space in climate protection.

Good things take time!

The time factor is playing an increasing role in the legitimization of late capitalism apart from the hallucination of some powerful capital market players - from Blackrock to the insurance industry to pension fund managers - who are a kind of privatized substitute state. Through a selective perception of the climate crisis in terms of time, certain short-term tendencies can be isolated, absolutized, or reinterpreted to be able to construct corresponding apologetic narratives.

As a commentator for the Süddeutsche Zeitung15 (SZ), for example, what do you do when the kids start to whine because they see no progress in combating the climate crisis and do not want to die in the impending apocalypse? One urges the young, impetuous blood to be patient. Good things take time, after all. , the Süddeutsche Zeitung finally wanted to see "initial progress". Prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg complained at Davos's last elite meeting that "practically nothing" has happened in the climate issue in recent months because global emissions of greenhouse gases have continued to rise.

The window of opportunity for realizing ambitious climate protection may be closing. This could be "naturally particularly frustrating for the kids," especially when one considers "how much has been talked about climate protection in this time since the Fridays for Future demonstrations began." After all, Greta could not complain about "not being heard," the SZ schoolmaster said, even if this listening was "not acting."

Nevertheless, one could not claim that "practically nothing" had happened, this was a "very pessimistic view" that ignored all the "remarkable things" that had occurred in the past years, "especially considering how little had been done in the three decades before." Admittedly, the recent commitments by states and the EU to stricter climate targets have saved "not one gram of CO2", the renowned newspaper admitted, but on the other hand, one must bear in mind that "climate protection does not fall from the sky either." This must first be "painstakingly negotiated."

The call for patience is based on the simple narrowing of the time horizon - and contradicts itself. On the one hand, the SZ is acting as if the problem of climate protection had only been on the political agenda since the Fridays for Future movement's climate protests began. It simply speculates on the lack of history of the late-capitalist public, whose time horizon is now only a few weeks due to culture-industrial continuous sound reinforcement and unceasing spectacle production. Nothing is duller than the news of the day before yesterday. Concerning the young climate protection movement, it can be argued that its object only becomes an object of politics with its emergence - and consequently, one must be patient with the political process, the climate policy "painstakingly negotiated".

By simply narrowing the time horizon, the disastrous long-term result of capitalist climate policy, which has been unable to prevent the extreme rise in global CO2 concentration and has thus literally achieved "less than nothing," can be made to disappear. But at the same time, the SZ itself reminds us how "little had happened in the three decades before" in terms of climate policy. For thirty years, the capitalist political caste has been trying to find effective climate protection measures in an almost unmanageable summit and negotiation marathon - and no climate protection has yet fallen from the "sky" of the political Olympics. Their call for patience is led ad absurdum by the SZ itself regarding the evident ineffectiveness of capitalist climate policy for decades. One could instead ask, for what should we wait? Or are three decades of patient waiting not long enough?

Everything is fine

In the end, the SZ tells the Klimakids that there has been no successful capitalist climate policy in the past 30 years and that this is not the case at the moment either - but one just has to be patient, because soon everything will be much better. Scout's honor! The self-doubt and scruples, the bad conscience, so to speak, in this listlessly written apologetics should be noted. However, the right margin of the Federal Republic of Germany's published opinion, however, is unaware of such scruples.

In the AfD-related press, at Springer-Verlag, the sledgehammer has always been a popular argument. Facts and contexts can finally be worked on until the desired, alternative "truth" is constructed. In the case of the climate crisis, the answer, according to the newspaper Die Welt16, can simply be that everything is under control. According to a commentary published in early January, Germany has achieved a "climate success" that has dealt a "low blow" to Green "attitude politics." The "first significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Germany" was not due to small-scale "state dirigisme" or "left-wing politics," but to a "cold, economic concept."

Dare more capitalism - with this, business journalism believes that Springer has found the patent remedy to the climate crisis. What had happened? Last year, emissions of greenhouse gases in the Federal Republic of Germany fell significantly for the first time in a long time17. This prompted the proclamation of the end of the climate crisis. European emissions trading is named as the market-driven patent remedy for overcoming the climate crisis.

This jubilant report from the climate front not only narrows the time horizon to one year to ignore the miserable climate policy record of the Federal Republic of Germany in recent decades, which acted as a climate policy brake on the EU18, it also puts an end to "business as usual".
This jubilant report from the climate front not only narrows the time horizon to one year to ignore the miserable climate policy record of the Federal Republic of Germany in recent decades, which acted as a climate policy brake on the EU18, but also ignores the "business model" of the world export champion Germany, which consists of exporting high-powered combustion engines of fossil fuels to the whole world. Time is running out - thus, building on the ideological groundwork of the culture industry, time must be completely reified, its processual character taken away, it must be broken down into isolated, small particles, to eradicate any historical consciousness that would provide an overview of the unfolding disaster of capitalist "climate policy".

The Süddeutsche Zeitung could not shake three decades of failed climate policy with its belief in capitalism as the best of all possible worlds. The world needs only one year of regionally limited reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to proclaim the victory of capital over the climate crisis. This temporal "snapshot," which the world isolates here to spin the narrative of a capitalist overcoming of the climate crisis, is thus accompanied by a geographical narrowing. Global emissions are continuing to rise - and the fight against the climate crisis must be waged globally, which is what a crisis-ridden, late-capitalist world of increasingly competing nation-states is not capable of doing.

A clear empirical indication that the climate catastrophe could be averted or at least mitigated would simply be the rapid decline in global emissions of greenhouse gases. Since capitalism, with its compulsion for growth and exploitation, is fundamentally incapable of doing this, the "Journal" (Karl Kraus) is moving towards chronological and geographical cherry-picking to be able to construct the corresponding "narratives".

This selective perception on the part of the Springerzeitung, which ignores lines of development and removes isolated events from their context, clearly shows that ideology is a necessarily false consciousness inherent in social conditions. In capitalism, politics can ultimately only be formulated on a national level, as the domestic conflicts within the EU since the outbreak of the euro crisis, for example, make clear. Yet it is precisely the socio-economic crisis spurts of recent decades that have driven the pressure of competition between state subjects to extremes, thus undermining a globally coordinated fight against the ecological crisis. However, what is needed is the promotion of global, closely coordinated projects in the climate struggle, which can only be fully realized beyond the realm of capital and nation, within the framework of a post-capitalist transformation.

If the climate crisis is too hard, you are too soft!

Instead of searching for system alternatives against the capitalist climate crisis, however, voices are heard in the published opinion that preach a hardening. This narrative points out the hardships that people on the periphery and semi-periphery of the capitalist world system have to endure.

Climate change is a "luxury problem." Spiegel-Online19, for example, informed its readers that people from the periphery paid little attention to the accelerating climate change and sometimes made it appear as a whim of spoiled Western youths. Dissenting voices that would undoubtedly be found in the regions concerned were not taken into account. Young people in Europe diligently demonstrate for the climate, but this was hardly the case in countries such as "Ghana, South Korea, Indonesia and Nepal," where the Western protests were little known or were seen "rather critically," declared SPON.
The argumentation that shines through here, which is also found in many variations in Netz, thus plays off capitalist misery - for example, in West Africa, where climate change ranks "rather tenth" - against the capitalist climate crisis. The consequences of the economic crisis, the global production of economically superfluous humanity, must be used to ignore the climate crisis. Given the abundance of disasters and catastrophes of capitalist socialization, the "luxury problem" of climate - which always assumes naturalization of capitalism could also be ignored.

The kids in the West are simply too spoiled, not tough enough so that they get ideas in their heads because they don't know the real hardship of life anymore - this is the reactionary, culturally pessimistic complaint, which always contains a threat.

It is a kind of education in hardship preached here. This increasing hardening against the evident climatic upheavals is accompanied by desensitization that makes it difficult for the subjects concerned to recognize social and ecological crisis tendencies in time. It was precisely this education to harshness - concerning the hardships of the struggle for survival on the periphery of the late capitalist world system - that Adorno identified in his famous essay "Education after Auschwitz" as a central element of fascist achievement. The harder survival becomes in large parts of the crisis-ridden capitalist One world, the more strongly this logic of hardening is imposed, leading to corresponding crisis ideologies of the New Right.

This brutal form of argumentation, which is supposed to cause resentment, is based on blatant falsifications and manipulations that can be found on the net and circulate above all in the New Right. Often, photo-montages are used, in which a Greta Thunberg having breakfast is contrasted with starving African children20 to stylize climate protection as a "luxury problem" of spoiled middle-class brats and to construct a causal link between climate policy and capitalist misery.

The implicit impression is thus created that it is climate protection itself that prevents capitalism from having its blessing effect in Africa. The ideological subtext that exculpates the capitalist misery in the periphery can be summed up roughly as follows: If only it weren't for these effeminate climate kids, the economy would also be buzzing heavily south of the Sahara and the children in Africa would not have to starve.

Learn to live with fire!

The appeal to just pull yourself together and not complain, because the children in Africa have it much worse for the time being, often merges into the whole adaptation discourse. In this discourse, the climate crisis is defined as a kind of Darwinian challenge to the adaptation performance of market subjects. One simply has to learn to live with the changing climate, so the argument, which can tie in with the whole neoliberal discourse of the last decades. when the crisis-induced increasing social demands of late capitalism were declared unalterable laws of nature, the entire miserable strategies of self-optimization, self-marketing, self-exploitation, etc. have to be adapted as a fiddly self-company.

Social fetishism is at the mercy of the autonomous social dynamics of capital, which creates the omnipresent feeling of heteronomy and produces those neoliberal adaptation strategies of the self-direction of the "commodity labor." This social fetishism is the social foundation of the eco-Darwinist ideology of adaptation, where the market subjects adapt to a dynamic of climate change, which is the consequence of the fetishistic compulsion of capital to grow. Without overcoming the latter, however, the former cannot be kept in check.

In response to the forest fires, which are raging with ever-increasing intensity, it is argued we must adapt to them and learn to live with fire21. This is also sensible from a local, short-term perspective, for example, to take precautions against fire, minimize risks, etc. This pragmatic, locally, or regionally meaningful approach becomes problematic if it is applied to the global, erratic process of climate change.

Now it is merely a question of adapting to capitalist climate change, mostly regarding the great adaptability of capital - which corresponds to a monstrous misjudgment of the dynamics of climate change. Climate change is something to which human society is ultimately unable to adapt - the adaptability propagated in the neoliberal decades is becoming the fate of late capitalist man.

Climate change is not gradual, but instead in leaps and bounds, which would be triggered if climatic tipping points were exceeded - and which would have disastrous consequences for entire regions. The illusion of adapting to gradual, quantitative changes would be bloodily disgraced if the climate system were to undergo a full "qualitative" transformation.
It is not just about disasters such as the rapid rise in sea level, the devastation of entire continents, the threat of famine, or the uninhabitability of large regions22 in the global South, all of which are terrible enough. Ultimately, it is a question of the bare survival of man as a species, the flora and fauna as we know them today, as the famous essay23 "The uninhabitable Earth" pointed out. For example, the acidification of the oceans caused by rising CO2 concentrations would ultimately destroy much of the life in the world's oceans, releasing massive, all-deadening quantities of hydrogen sulfide.

Such a catastrophe occurred about 252 million years ago, at the end of the Permian Earth Age, when about 97 of all living things were destroyed, as the essay mentioned above stated:

"Hydrogen sulfide is also what finally cost us 97 percent of all life on Earth during that time [Permian mass extinction 252 million years ago, T.K.]. After all, the feedback loops were triggered, and the circulating currents of a warmed ocean floor came to a halt. Gradually, the dead zones spread into the oceans, killing marine animals that had ruled the oceans for hundreds of millions of years. The gas that the water released into the atmosphere poisoned everything on land, even the plants. It took millions of years for the oceans to recover. "

Due to the sharpening contradictions of late capitalist socialization, barbarism, not reason, is increasing. This would have its endpoint in this gigantic fart that extinguished almost all life. Reason is not advancing in the overall historical movement, as once postulated by Hegel. Only the overcoming of this false whole, which is decaying openly, would offer humankind a chance of survival.

Tomasz Konicz's book "Klimakiller Kapital - Wie ein Wirtschaftssystem unsere Lebensgrundlage zerstört" (Climate killer capital - how an economic system destroys our livelihoods) was recently published by Mandelbaumverlag.24


1. https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/weltwirtschaftsforum/wirtschaft-in-deutschland-buerger-zweifeln-am-kapitalismus-16592016.html ^
2. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/international-business/article-global-survey-finds-majority-of-people-believe-capitalism-doing-more ^
3. https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Die-Krise-kurz-erklaert-3392493.html?seite=all ^
4. https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Kapital-als-Klimakiller-4043735.html?seite=all ^
5. https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Katastrophenkapitalismus-4563390.html ^
6. https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Verbrannte-Erde-im-Murdoch-Land-4621769.html ^
7. https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Arbeitsplaetze-oder-Klima-4633699.html ^
8. https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/kann-uns-der-kapitalismus-noch-retten-a-f70ee45b-fab3-4740-9a06-60678b5b1dcf ^
9. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/21/jp-morgan-economists-warn-climate-crisis-threat-human-race ^
10. https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/klimawandel-in-der-versicherungswirtschaft-mit-den-temperaturen-steigen-die-praemien-a-464060.html ^
11. https://www.zeit.de/2018/07/versicherungen-klimaschutz-allianz-kohlegeschaeft ^
12. https://taz.de/Siemens-und-die-Kohlemine-Adani/!5655255 ^
13. https://www.handelsblatt.com/finanzen/vorsorge/altersvorsorge-sparen/institutionelle-anleger-pensionskassen-sind-in-der-japan-falle/24349076.html ^
14. https://kurier.at/wirtschaft/wegen-niedrigzinsen-grosse-loecher-in-europaeischen-pensionsfonds/400706403 ^
15. https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/thunberg-davos-klimaschutz-1.4765414 ^
16. https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/plus204830102/Deutschlands-CO2-Emissionen-Marktwirtschaft-schlaegt-gruene-Gesinnungspolitik.html ^
17. https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/klimaschutz-co2-emissionen-in-deutschland-deutlich-gesunken.697.de.html ^
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19. https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/klimakonferenz-was-junge-menschen-an-der-klima-debatte-stoert-a-1299552.html ^
20. https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/other/huge-lashback-after-fake-image-of-greta-thunberg-eating-in-front-of-poor-children-is-circulated-online/ar-AAHWA88?li=BBr5PkP ^
21. https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/pyrozaen-wir-muessen-mit-dem-feuer-leben-1.4748575 ^
22. http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/04/will-the-middle-east-become-uninhabitable ^
23. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html ^
24. https://www.mandelbaum.at/buch.php?id=962 ^
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