Paul Mason spoke at the Journalism Festival Internazionale about the end of capitalism in the town hall square in Ferrara packed with mainly young people. Rivista Italiani has interviewed the well known British economist.
Is this your first time in Ferrara at the Festival of Journalism?
Yes this is the first time in Ferrara and the first time I’ve been to the festival. I am totally blown away by the number of young people that are here, a lot of people sit on the floor.
You have mentioned climate change as one of the main causes of the end of capitalism. Many environmental activists ask to stop subsidising to the carbon industry. What do you think of the request of stopping governmental subvention to the oil industry ? Is it technically possible?
Climate change the number one threat, but there are many people more expert than me on the dynamics of climate change. I am trying to bring my expertise to the problem of economic transition. The economic transition from the current market system to one where the market, the state and a free economy, the really shared economy of goods produced collaboratively, is the project. I would prefer to do that project consensually, slowly and gradually, but climate change makes it difficult to do that, in one respect: if we don’t decommission the carbon industry it can destroy the world.
I’m not the first person to say this, the governor of the bank of England Mark Carney pointed this out this four trillion dollars worth of stranded assets that exist inside the hydrocarbon companies and are a problem. I would say the state may have to simply take control and decommission them and may have to manage down the economic problem created for markets thereby.
I don’t know how that happens I think we should just start putatively designing a solution for it because the lobbying power of these companies is large and they are a dying elite, they are a dying model, and dying thing sometimes lash out irrationally. I don’t have one answer, I think we need a big act towards the hydrocarbon industry to stabilize it and to rapidly decommission it, this is what we will have to do.
Will Europe ever return to economic growth?
I am very clearly pro-growth, so I reject the anti-growth strategy of the deep greens. However, in my model of transition more and more is done outside the market, so it does not appear as GDP on the traditional measure. You may find that the GDP growth never returns to its full extent. This is why my book is called Postcapitalism because I think there are limits to capitalism, not just environmental limits, but actual economic limits. The information brings a new limit, free stuff, cheap stuff, the destruction of jobs, where jobs are not recreated . However I believe that the two toughest challenges in this transition are going to be energy and raw materials. Energy: the answer is renewable, you still print solar panels, that’s economic growth. For raw materials the ultimate solution is a circular economy, it’s a total recyclability. It doesn’t mean that there is no usage of raw material but it just means you radically reduce it. I think if we do these two things we then have to ask: who can do it? Only states can do this. Through our own behaviour of individual, we can change perception, we can make a small difference, but it’s really important for states to take seriously total renewability of energy and maximum recyclability of physical products.
::autore_::by Massimo Predieri::/autore_:: ::cck::1562::/cck::