China powers up on coal. Yuck

China already has 2,000 coal plants spweing pollution and greenhouse gases, and are planning 500 more. The toxic clouds these plants produce are so massive they can be seen from space and in some cities it’s so bad cars need their headlights on at noon. Renewable energy doesn’t exist.

Under socialism, it’s important the government makes the right choices. In China now, in regard to the environment, that’s not happening, even though the government just released a report warning of major problems to come, like severe water shortages, from climate change. Citizens are starting to rebel against such rampant environmental degradation and despoliation. You would too if you live in a city choking in coal haze and pollution.

All of which is just another example of how environmental issues and climate change are creating political stress and probable rebellion.

In China, many of the private companies are controlled by the government, and the system is still at least nominally socialist. So, the government could mandate clean energy if they wanted to, and under socialism such changes could happen much faster than under capitalism. But the government lacks the will. But you can’t create your energy from coal, dump pollutants into rivers, ignore the environment, then wonder why the climate-change-induced water shortages are happening. But that’s just what they’re doing. The blowback will be environmental, political, and massive.


  1. Socialist countries have an even worse tradition of pollution than do capitalist ones. OTOH, ancient Greeece, by the late 5th centure BCE, was already an environmental disaster from too many people putting too much pressure on marginal lands. Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” does not suggest that environmental degredation is anything other than a human problem, not solely a capitalistic one.

  2. “Enlightened government” is not something we’ve seen much under socialist governments. Or, for that matter, Capitalistic ones, outside the post-war western European governments.

    The real problem is development. Developing countries will trade environmental quality for job every time, regardless of the legal or economic structure. Period. I guess that means that everybody’s greedy for more consumer goods, regardless of economic structure or ideology, which doesn’t auger well for socialism.

    An interesting counter-example might be in some of the indigenous populations remaining in the Americas. Specfic areas to examine would be the Yucatán in Mexico and Guatemala (Maya), Ecuador and Perú (largely Quechua) and Bolivia and northwestern Argentina (Aymara), all of which has large numbers of relatively unassimilated indigenous folk. In South America many continue to operate outside the formal economy and have little interest in joining it. (The formal economies of those countries, BTW, are a long way from being what any economist would recognize as capitalistic.) The Maya have a long and sad history of being brutalized by the mestizo and European culture as outsiders. However, they might be valuable models of alternative development, although “development” is also not likely to be a word most would apply to the indiginous life style!

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