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