Tag Archives: capitalism

Capitalism’s bullets in Latin America: invisible empires, state power and 21st century colonialism

By Benjamin Dangl, June 13, 2014. Source: Toward Freedom

Photo by AP

Photo by AP


The notorious US private militia group Academi – previously known as Blackwater – trained Brazilian security forces in North Carolina in preparation for the current World Cup in Brazil, as reported by sportswriter Dave Zirin. Zirin pointed to the 2009 diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, which revealed that Washington viewed the expected World Cup-related crises as opportunities for US involvement. Zirin wrote that for Washington, “Brazil’s misery created room for opportunism.”

Capitalism’s bullets follow the World Cup just as they do Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed with the US. Five years ago this month, protests were raging in northern Peru where thousands of indigenous Awajun and Wambis men, women and children were blockading roads against oil, logging and gas exploitation on Amazonian land. The Peruvian government, having just signed an FTA with the US, was unsure how to deal with the protests – partly because the controversial concessions in the Amazon were granted to meet the FTA requirements. According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, on June 1st, 2009 the US State Department sent a message to the US Embassy in Lima: “Should Congress and [Peruvian] President Garcia give in to the [protesters’] pressure, there would be implications for the recently implemented Peru-US Free Trade Agreement.” Four days later, the Peruvian government responded to the protest with deadly violence, leading to a conflict which left 32 dead. Continue reading

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Filed under Corporate Globalization

Pablo Salon: How to overcome the climate crisis?

By Pablo Salon, March 15, 2013. Source: Climate Space 2013

logo_finall_ok_1There is no single answer, no single campaign nor single approach.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that avoids catastrophe, we need to:

  • Leave more than two-thirds of the fossil fuel reserves under the soil;
  • Stop the exploitation of tar sands, shale gas and coal;
  • Support small, local, peasant and indigenous community farming while we dismantle big agribusiness that deforests and heats the planet;
  • Promote local production and consumption of products, reducing the free trade of goods that send millions of tons of CO2 while they travel around the world;
  • Stop extractive industries from further destroying nature and contaminating our atmosphere and our land;
  • Increase significantly public transport to reduce the unsustainable “car way of life”;
  • Reduce the emissions of warfare by promoting genuine peace and dismantling the military and war industry and infrastructure.

In other words we need to come out of the endless growth paradigm that is the basis of the capitalist system, and seek for a new kind of society that is grounded on care for each other and nature. A society that seeks happiness for all and not profit for a few. A society based on a different concept of prosperity and well-being. A bio-society for life that includes humans and nature.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions, UNFCCC

REDD-Monitor open thread: Capitalism, climate change and carbon trading

By Chris Lang, 28th August 2011

REDD-Monitor open thread

In this open thread are six links covering two themes, followed by a seventh as a postscript. First, the global economy is in serious trouble. Second, runaway climate change seems to be getting ever nearer. While neither of these are strictly REDD issues, I think they are both relevant to REDD (for reasons that I hope I don’t have to spell out).


1. Nouriel Roubini, “Is Capitalism Doomed?”, Project Syndicate, 15 August 2011.

Nouriel Roubini is Professor of Economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business and is known as “Dr. Doom”. He is one of the few economists that predicted the financial crisis of 2007-2008. In his book “Crisis Economics”, Roubini and his co-author Stephen Mihm argue that the meltdown was not a black swan, or an unpredictable exception, but an inherent part of capitalism.

Here’s what he writes in a recent piece on the Project Syndicate website:

Now a combination of high oil and commodity prices, turmoil in the Middle East, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, eurozone debt crises, and America’s fiscal problems (and now its rating downgrade) have led to a massive increase in risk aversion. Economically, the United States, the eurozone, the United Kingdom, and Japan are all idling. Even fast-growing emerging markets (China, emerging Asia, and Latin America), and export-oriented economies that rely on these markets (Germany and resource-rich Australia), are experiencing sharp slowdowns.

2. Carlo Rotella, “Can Jeremy Grantham profit from ecological mayhem?”, New York Times, 11 August 2011.

Every three months, Jeremy Grantham of investment firm GMO puts out a quarterly letter. April’s letter was titled, “Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever”. This, according to the New York Times is the gist:

“The prices of all important commodities except oil declined for 100 years until 2002, by an average of 70 percent. From 2002 until now, this entire decline was erased by a bigger price surge than occurred during World War II. Statistically, most commodities are now so far away from their former downward trend that it makes it very probable that the old trend has changed — that there is in fact a Paradigm Shift — perhaps the most important economic event since the Industrial Revolution.”

Grantham is, as the New York Times puts it, “the public face of a company that manages more than $100 billion in assets, the very embodiment of a high-finance insider in blue blazer and yellow tie”, but he “has serious doubts about capitalism’s ability to address the biggest problems facing humanity”.

He describes himself as an environmentalist. The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment supports the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Wildlife Fund and “other such organizations”. So that’s all right, then.

“We’re all involved in environmental causes,” Grantham said of his family. “We can’t recall some single moment of conversion. We found our separate ways to it.” His wife, Hanne, sits on the board of the E.D.F. [Environmental Defense Fund] One son, Oliver, buys forests for Harvard Management Company; another, Rupert, manages forests in Massachusetts; his daughter, Isabel, helps run an E.D.F. program that recruits summer interns from top business schools to improve companies’ energy efficiency.

3. A Visualization of United States Debt

What the US debt looks like as piles of US$100 bills:

The debt currently stands at US$14,654,237,323,627 – but by the time you click on the link, it will be somewhat higher.

To read the rest of the post, please got to REDD-Monitor

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, REDD, UNFCCC