[Marxism] The petition, Christine Lagarde, and the environment

Joseph Green jgreen at communistvoice.org
Wed Dec 21 11:12:14 MST 2016

There is currently a petition being circulated to have Congress "Demand that 
IMF Chief Christine Lagarde resign or be forced from office following her 
conviction in a French government corruption case". I'm not sure whether 
anyone really believes that the problem with the market fundamentalist IMF is 
that Lagarde is its chief, or that Congress is better than Lagarde. But 
there's no harm in denouncing a bit of corruption. That aside. No doubt many 
of those who are pushing the petition are supporters of the carbon tax. Yet 
they are silent on the fact that Lagarde and the IMF are major backers of the 
carbon tax, and no doubt the IMF and the World Bank will have a much greater 
impact on how the carbon tax is implemented than ecosocialists and leftists. 
What's the point of denouncing the IMF if one has the same policy as the IMF? 
What's the point of having a petition on Lagarde if one doesn't denounce 
Lagarde's policies? To implement Lagardism without Lagarde?

The IMF and the World Bank are committed to the use of carbon pricing as the 
main tool for dealing with global warming and as a replacement for a system 
of comprehensive regulation. Lagarde says so -- down with all those pesky 
regulations that might otherwise proliferate! The IMF is more committed to 
the carbon tax, while the World Bank would be happy to accept cap and trade. 
But the important thing for them is to back carbon pricing, not a system of 
comprehensive regulation and planning. In my opinion, these market measures 
help pave the way for climate disaster. This is a false path, a market 
fundamentalist path, for the environmental movement. 

Now perhaps some pro-carbon tax activists have a rationale for why it is 
supposed to be correct to be on the same side as Lagarde and the  IMF on the 
issue of global warming and the carbon tax. But it isn't discussed. It isn't 
good form to mention it. There may be indignation about Lagarde and the IMF 
and the World Bank and the Washington Consensus, and the horrors their 
neo-liberal policies have caused to entire countries such as Greece, but 
there is silence on how it could be that Lagarde and these institutions are 
supposedly correct about carbon pricing. How can it be that market 
fundamentalism is a disaster for the people, but supposedly wonderful for the 

Or if activists disagree with the way Lagarde and the IMF  would implement 
the carbon tax, well, there isn't much discussion of it. (To be precise, 
everyone puts forward their own version of the carbon tax, whose supposed 
simplicity is belied by so many different versions, but they do not compare 
them to Lagarde's version.) If the carbon tax were being honestly discussed 
in front of the working class and progressive activists, there should be lots 
of discussion of whether the carbon tax proposal being put forward differs 
from that of the IMF and the World Bank, and why one could imagine that one's 
idea of a carbon tax, and not Christine Lagarde's, is likely to be 
implemented. But one looks in vain towards the main propagandists for the 
carbon tax for such a discussion. Occasionally one finds such things as James 
Handley of the Carbon Tax Center lauding the stand of Christine Lagarde 
("Carbon Tax Convergence, as IMF and IPCC Chiefs Speak Out", October 8, 2015 
By James Handley). But in that article there is no criticism of Lagarde and 
the IMF, only celebration.

In the absence of a discussion of Lagarde's  and IMF policy on the 
environment, or any other major issue, the critique of Lagarde may reduce to  
shouting "The King is dead! Long live the King!" Only market fundamentalists 
could be enthusiastic about that.

Joseph Green
mail at communistvoice.org

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