In Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond has given us a provocative and fascinating history lesson in what could happen to our society, should we fail to learn from and apply the lessons of past failed societies. But when he addresses our contemporary environmental crisis, he forgets his own lessons, and is severely handicapped by his own reluctance to break with outmoded cultural “core values.”
Diamond repeatedly documents the class conflicts inherent in many of the societies that collapsed. An entrenched ruling class exploited the masses, enriching themselves while plundering the resources. Yet he never connects the dots when attempting solutions to modern day environmental problems like climate change and global warming. Like many Americans, he studiously avoids the entire discussion of class when it comes our current society.
Inherent in capitalism is a ruling class that puts its interests before the interests of society as a whiole. Worse, the short-term profit motive is allowed to override virtually all other concerns. This comes in direct conflict and is contradictory to the long-term planet-wide solutions needed to reverse global warming.
So then, what other choice do we have than to consider a true ecosocialist alternative? If the capitalist economists have a better plan to save the humans, where is it?