It's only ever the excuse that changes

We’ve another of those calls for global economic management and control. For the transfer of rich country resources to poor. A reminder that it’s only the excuse that changes in this matter:

As our climate emergency unfolds with the economic and ecological instability that it wreaks, we need to again consider a host of new pan-national institutions to tackle this threat. The effects of the climate crisis will be most extreme for people in the global south. It requires massive investments, as much as an additional $2.5tr per year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which current financing and institutional arrangements appear unable to fulfil.

We would need to ensure financial stability and a mechanism for the transfer of resources through an international climate stabilisation fund – a sort of IMF targeting the climate crisis. This agency would put in place new fiscal arrangements to regulate global financial markets and corporate elites, especially those that have made vulnerable island and developing countries into tax havens or exploited natural resources. These nations now require the means to transform their futures. This body could seek to coordinate tax policies and disburse lost taxes to provide direct support to climate-exposed territories: encouraging productive diversification and tackling interconnecting inequality and displacement caused by climate change.

The argument being that post-WWII we put in place those global economic regulators. Bretton Woods, the IMF, the World Bank and so on. Now we should do so again. Simply because it’s obvious that there should be global economic regulation from the centre.


Except that’s to miss the point of the past 40 years. We did indeed have those global institutions. And the poor countries didn’t grow. Then we started - this global neoliberalism - to use market processes and the poor countries did grow. We are enjoying that delight of falling global inequality as a result. The progressive eradication of absolute poverty. We actually have, in place right now, the correct economic policies that is.

But, obviously, because it is just obvious that there must be a Fat Controller, we must reinstitute the failed policies we’ve proven wrong just because. Thus this current call. Climate change is only the excuse here.

It’s also an appallingly bad excuse as the IPCC’s own economic models show. Whatever it is that we do about the point, even if we do nothing, those models insist that doing it within a globalised and free market economy produces better results than inside a more regional and planned - socially democratic even - one.

But, you know, that urge to plan everything just never does leave some people. Thus the flailing casting around for an excuse for it. Even when the very idea has been proven to be empirically, let alone theoretically, wrong.