photo credit : jo


The Great American Pipedream
How Carbon Pricing Will Deepen Social Inequality And Harm National Security
Part 2 in a series "Let The Poor Pay For Climate Change"
by Jo Abbess
8th April 2008

The Great American Dream - a well-paid job and a house in the suburbs and a nice, big throaty automobile - is rapidly becoming unattainable by even professional middle class (medium salaried) people.

It's all going up in smoke - puffed away by some rich men's pipes. Big Energy wants to retain control of profitmaking enterprises - and for that they're prepared to sacrifice the American Dream by insisting on setting a Price for Carbon - a strategy that will not only burn the Economy - but also threaten Social breakdown.

The Property Bubble shouldn’t have burst. Bricks and mortar in free-standing dwelling units were supposed to be the last bastion of wealth, since the forces of globalisation removed all forms of industry to cheaper, more Carbon-intensive economies.

This citadel was kept raised by the creation of massive quantities of debt, negative digital money handed out to everyone in the food chain to support and make thrive the phantom value of Real Estate.

Putting everyone in hock to Big Money was seen as an acceptable strategy to keep the Economy rolling. Personal debt was considered a natural growth area, now that massive mounting national debt was becoming accepted as normal. The theory went : if a nation can continue economic growth with massive trade imbalances and gigantic international debt, then increasing personal debt can also be sustainable.

What the great purveyors of Capital paid no heed to can be compared to this image : once the wave has crashed on the shore it will spread more and more thinly until there is no place it can go, and then it starts to retreat.

By allowing market conditions to put people in the debt trap, there was an inevitable point at which mortgaged securities would fail. Home loan foreclosures are an inevitable consequence of continued pressure on the disposable income of the middle-wealthy and the poor.

The Credit Crunch is something that was predicted well before it happened, but banks and other lenders continued to throw virtual money at people in order to maintain growth in returns on investments, and thereby artificially inflate the supposed value of homes.

Well, the Property Bubble has now well and truly burst, and all those asset-backed securities are getting written down big time.

And now it’s the turn of Big Energy to turn the screws. As one of the last profit-making sectors of the Economy in the industrialised countries, Energy is being seen as the bedrock for economic growth. Stocks and shares in Energy have been rising, and market traders view Energy with glee. The price of crude oil has been exponentially growing since 2002 or thereabouts for example, although it could well plateau for a year until the Post-Kyoto Kyoto-Two agreement is inked and signed.

We all need Energy. We all use it every day. And most Energy is Carbon-based. So Big Energy cannot fail to make money, as we are all dependent on Carbon Energy. And when the issue of Carbon Emissions comes into the field of view, well, Big Energy can ride the storm of Carbon Control by one simple move : make the Customers pay.

If you are American, you can forget the idea of meritocracy, or the land of opportunity for all. Only a very few people have ever been made truly independently wealthy in the United States, and the number is diminishing because of the financial climate.

If you have an average salary, or less, even if you work two jobs, you will become progressively poorer because of Carbon Pricing.

No matter if you have a pension plan. All the money for pensions are invested in the stockmarkets, and all the bets are on Big Energy, because there’s nothing else left of any value, so you will be paying for your own pension when you pay your rising energy bills. So you will be less well off.

No matter if you are a small- to medium-sized business enterprise : unless your trade is entirely Carbon-free your turnover will decrease and your profits will become vanishingly small.

And those people who are now homeless because of the Credit Crunch ? You people get to become poorer as rents increase to pay your landlord’s oversized mis-sold mortgages. And as energy bills increase to cover the Carbon pricing you feel a further pinch. And your wages will not keep pace with inflation, as food and fuel and all manufactured products rise in price because of underlying increasing energy costs. And you may well be unfortunate enough to get laid off, and there will be a rapidly diminishing safety net for you, even though your compatriots are paying more in taxes. How safe will your community be ?

It is time to understand that environmental damages cannot be paid for – they need to be stopped, but money cannot buy this.

The only way forward without mass impoverishment is to institute personal Carbon Allowances – rationing of Carbon Emissions will share the burden of the Carbon Cuts required.

When you hear people praising the simplicity of Carbon Taxes, bear this in mind – you will be paying for it as Big Energy passes on the costs to you, the Consumer.


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