UN Says Capitalism Must End to Save the Planet- Another Yawn

A new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General claims capitalism, as we know it, is over. The team from the BIOS Research Unit in Finland were asked to provide research that would feed into the drafting of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which will be released in 2019.

“Research” of this quality makes me happy that the Trump Administration cut $285 million cut to the U.N. budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The United States contributes more than $1 billion to the budget of the U.N. If they’re going to keep producing shoddy research like this, we should be cutting our contribution to the U.N. budget even more.

In it’s most basic form, the “study” is the same Malthusian tripe we’ve been hearing for centuries, resources are becoming more scarce, our population is too high etc., capitalism is to blame,and we will soon see the fire and brimstone to prove it. These arguments may seem plausible on their face, but there is precious little empirical evidence to support them.

There is, however, a good deal of empirical evidence to show that things are far better in capitalist economies than elsewhere.

The paper cites pollution as a key side effect of capitalism, but according to this map from the World Health Organization, it’s the United States, and not Europe, Venezuela, China or any nation in Africa that has the most pristine air. The United States has been tremendously successful at reducing air pollution and that’s largely due to the fact that as countries grow richer, they place greater priorities on clean air.

The paper also attempts to tie civil unrest and crime to ecological, rather than political phenomenons, but to do so mixes correlation with causation. Global unrest is an institutional problem, not an ecological one. As a general rule, rich countries are clean countries, and poor countries have higher levels of pollution, unless of course the countries are so poor that they don’t have any industrialization.

The map below shows murder rates per 100,000 residents, does it look like the more capitalist countries are topping the charts? Obviously not. Bad institutions lead to higher crime rates and less environmental protection, not the other way around.

In essence, the report is riddled with so many contradictions it would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.

Institutions such as the U.N. were valuable in the wake of World War II and during the Cold War, but it is fair to question how much value the organization absent a threat from a foreign power. It appears the U.N. has succumbed to the curse of all bureaucracies that have fulfilled their initial purpose and is now grasping for purpose in a safer, cleaner world.