Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Apres Moi Le Deluge - Do The Rich Think They Have An Escape Plan?


therealnews |  And the role of finance in deciding who gets to run as a heck of a lot more powerful than any Russians.
RANA FOROOHAR: Yeah. That’s, that’s absolutely true.
PAUL JAY: So very dangerous times. And now we haven’t even talked about in this whole conversation the issue of climate change. There was a time in ’07-’08 when even finance seemed to get what a danger this was. Then the crash comes. And now it’s, like, it’s not even on the political agenda.
RANA FOROOHAR: Well, you know, the only, I would argue the only reason finance cared about climate change in ’07-’08 is that we were having an oil boom. And whenever oil prices go up, finance gets more interested in green technologies because they suddenly seem to make sense economically. If you think about wind, you know, I don’t know the exact figures, but wind power, say, costing, you know, the equivalent of $40 a barrel of oil, or whatever the equivalent would be. Those technologies become more cost effective as the price of oil soars. And so that’s why you saw a lot of interest. But then when oil, which is very cyclical, right, very volatile, when it tanks you see all the money flow out of the sector, out of the clean energy sector. And I expect that’s how it would be now.
It’s too bad, because, you know, we haven’t really talked about what are the alternatives to this financial, financialized capitalism. One of the kind of amazing, like, duh, low-hanging fruit things that we could do is have a green stimulus program. Joe Stiglitz has talked about this, many others have talked about it. It would be the easiest, quickest, smartest way to actually create some real growth in the economy, transition off of fossil fuels. You know, just, just implementing the best technologies available today in all homes and schools, institutions, would create so many jobs and so much growth that it could really help jumpstart the economy in a true ground-up way.
PAUL JAY: There’s no better example of the complete irrationality of this system that that would even make Wall Street money. I mean, capitalists would make money out of a new green economy. But the politics of it is you’re going to have to take on the Koch brothers. There’s a lot of money being made now in war. I should say getting ready for war, and wars. And as rational as that is, and it wouldn’t even be anti-capitalist. Like, you could have a big green economy. People could make money out of it.
RANA FOROOHAR: And in fact, China—
PAUL JAY: You can, you can, and China’s to some extent doing it.
RANA FOROOHAR: China’s, is starting to try and do this. I mean, I have a lot of, you know, issues with China, policy-wise. But one thing that they’ve been very smart on is making these green technologies, green batteries, solar panels, wind, making these strategic sectors and really connecting the dots between workers, businesses, funders, job creators, et cetera.
PAUL JAY: So get into the heads of these people who are making these decisions.
RANA FOROOHAR: Do I have to?
PAUL JAY: They have kids. They have grandkids. They got to live in this world. I know they’re making an orgy level of money. But they’ve made it. And I know I’m not suggesting that there’s ever an end of wanting to make money. I’ve asked people who have ridiculous amounts of money, why are you still trying to make more money? And it comes down to because that’s who I am, and what else am I going to do. I mean, there’s some that decide to start giving it away and do philanthropy. And, but even then are still very concerned about making more and making more. But more importantly, how do, do you ask, how do these people go home at night and not be concerned about climate crisis, and war, and financial meltdown? How do we not worry about that?
RANA FOROOHAR: You know, I think it’s, it’s a worry that if it exists, it gets kind of tucked in the back pocket some, somewhere. One thing I’ve been hearing from a lot of very wealthy people these days, since the election, actually, is that they all have escape plans. You know, I mean, there was a very interesting story, actually, in the New Yorker by Evan Osnos who I knew, actually, when he was a reporter in China. And he covered the ways in which rich people are buying up ranches in New Zealand and creating bunkers in the Bahamas, or wherever they’re going, thinking that they’re somehow going to be able to avoid the apocalypse when it comes. There’s actually a business that operates in New York. It’s a boat that will come, you can apparently pre-buy, this sounds like the biggest scam in history to me, but you can pre-buy tickets if there’s some political crisis or some danger moment, and they’ll come and pick you up and whisk you up the Hudson.
Now, you know, which rich people think there’s going to be their seat waiting when there’s a real problem, I don’t know. But I think that that that goes to this idea that the wealthy have come to believe, frankly like, you know, the French, perhaps, in the 18th century that—