Monbiot: Capitalist Climate Change will Kill Us by Irrecoverably Depleting Topsoil

George Monbiot
George Monbiot Explaining his Climate Change Theories. Screenshot from Novara Media

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; Guardian contributor George Monbiot insists we must ditch Capitalism to save the world from climate change, but he doesn’t like any of the alternative economic systems.

Dare to declare capitalism dead – before it takes us all down with it

George Monbiot
Thu 25 Apr 2019 15.00 AEST

The economic system is incompatible with the survival of life on Earth. It is time to design a new one

For most of my adult life I’ve railed against “corporate capitalism”, “consumer capitalism” and “crony capitalism”. It took me a long time to see that the problem is not the adjective but the noun. While some people have rejected capitalism gladly and swiftly, I’ve done so slowly and reluctantly. Part of the reason was that I could see no clear alternative: unlike some anti-capitalists, I have never been an enthusiast for state communism. I was also inhibited by its religious status. To say “capitalism is failing” in the 21st century is like saying “God is dead” in the 19th: it is secular blasphemy. It requires a degree of self-confidence I did not possess.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to recognise two things. First, that it is the system, rather than any variant of the system, that drives us inexorably towards disaster. Second, that you do not have to produce a definitive alternative to say that capitalism is failing. The statement stands in its own right. But it also demands another, and different, effort to develop a new system.

Capitalism’s failures arise from two of its defining elements. The first is perpetual growth. Economic growth is the aggregate effect of the quest to accumulate capital and extract profit. Capitalism collapses without growth, yet perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamity.

This drives us towards cataclysm on such a scale that most people have no means of imagining it. The threatened collapse of our life-support systems is bigger by far than war, famine, pestilence or economic crisis, though it is likely to incorporate all four. Societies can recover from these apocalyptic events, but not from the loss of soil, an abundant biosphere and a habitable climate.

So what does a better system look like? I don’t have a complete answer, and I don’t believe any one person does. But I think I see a rough framework emerging. Part of it is provided by the ecological civilisation proposed by Jeremy Lent, one of the greatest thinkers of our age. Other elements come from Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics and the environmental thinking of Naomi KleinAmitav GhoshAngaangaq AngakkorsuaqRaj Patel and Bill McKibben. Part of the answer lies in the notion of “private sufficiency, public luxury”. Another part arises from the creation of a new conception of justice based on this simple principle: every generation, everywhere, shall have an equal right to the enjoyment of natural wealth.

Read more:

Monbiot’s reference to top soil for some reason reminded me of my favourite scene out of the movie “Under Siege“, in which the antagonist who has hijacked a nuclear warship is trying to convince the authorities that he is crazy, by making wild claims about topsoil and other fringe eco themes;

Update (EW): The Guardian has published responses from readers to Monbiot’s article.

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Luca Bertagnolio
April 26, 2019 11:05 am

If only this pathetic idiot would read the work of Julian Simon, he would spare us from the ridiculous claims he makes in this piece…

Reply to  Luca Bertagnolio
April 26, 2019 12:06 pm

It’s only another ‘weirding’ from weird Monbiot.

Reply to  Vuk
April 26, 2019 10:36 pm

“perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamity”

What a weirdo.

Reply to  Luca Bertagnolio
April 26, 2019 1:47 pm

They only keep Moonbat around to make the other Eco-Nuts look good?

Evan Jones
Reply to  Luca Bertagnolio
April 27, 2019 7:20 am

Simon was a student of Herman Kahn. (HK personally trained me in economics, demographics, and nuclear strategy.)

joe - the non climate scientist
April 26, 2019 11:07 am

this claim has been made repeatedly for the last 200 years by every wacko

McKibbin, etc

Reply to  joe - the non climate scientist
April 26, 2019 1:10 pm

not forgetting Jeremy Lent, one of the greatest thinkers of our age. 😉 starts with a recommendation from Moonbat himself. One man fan club?

Reply to  Greg
April 26, 2019 5:45 pm

…. and McKibben, a great thinker who thinks that 350ppm is Utopia and 400ppm causes hurricanes, as long as he gets paid.

Way to go George. How’s that destruction of the English countryside going? Any time soon you might stop promoting it?

April 26, 2019 11:19 am

He’s probably contemplating communist, socialist et al ecosystems, which are infamous for scorched Earth, human, child policies.

Reply to  n.n
April 26, 2019 1:08 pm

My friend an inscrutable den..r tells me that during the London extinction protests GM chained himself to a lamppost in front of ministry of Environment, apparently p(i/a)ssing dogs loved it. I don’t believe a word of it.

Reply to  n.n
April 26, 2019 2:14 pm

Appears that he ignores communist China which is currently responsible for the world’s largest emissions of CO2 and can continue to increase emissions thanks to the Paris Accords.

Reply to  Taphonomic
April 26, 2019 7:31 pm

China is actually at the core of all of the globe’s major pollution emission classes at this time, with Russia not far behind and differing only in the scale and quantity, but not lacking for filth quality. But China is a communist and brutal authoritarian country that does not give a damn about the environment, it’s to busy trying to imitate actual capitalism in parody, so they get a free-pass and environmental tick-of-approval from the greens who will never under any circumstances attack China – only the much cleaner West, who is actually taking the right actions already, may be relentlessly attacked as environmental vandals.

Fifth-column much?

Reply to  Taphonomic
April 27, 2019 10:48 am

Can you not read? He clearly states he doesn’t believe in communism either.

Reply to  n.n
April 26, 2019 7:23 pm

“He’s probably contemplating communist, socialist et al …”

The term ‘proto- communist’ covers it fairly well.

April 26, 2019 11:27 am

Monbiot is wrong in the first of his “defining elements” about capitalism. It doesn’t require perpetual growth; it merely requires that the company continue making a profit, i.e., it continues to manufacture, sell, and deliver the product for less than what they charge for it. Expanding the product’s market share certainly IS growth, but Coke and Pepsi have been battling for a finite soft-drink-consuming population for nearly a hundred years now, and both seem to be doing well without one crushing the other out of existence.

It’s amusing that socialism, with its multiple failures everywhere it’s been tried on a large scale (seems to work OK with small populations, not so much with large ones) is always excused as not have been run “by the right people,” but capitalism is just plain evil — and proclaimed so by people who have gained the most from it.

No Name Guy
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 26, 2019 11:37 am

Correct. Capitalism doesn’t require perpetual growth. However, one element of the current system, pushed more by the left / Keynesian economics bunch is fiat currency, which since its credit based, DOES require perpetual growth…at least of the money supply.

Reply to  No Name Guy
April 26, 2019 1:02 pm

Correct, it is not productive capitalism which requires continual growth but the banking system. This is because the banking system does not produce anything but scims unbelievable amounts of wealth from the rest of functional society.

A debt based economy requires ever more debt since creation of debt is what they DO. If they stop creating more debt they have cease to “produce”. More debt requires more people endebting themselves for longer and longer term credit.

“Liberation” of women was one part of this because it nearly doubled the available work force ie those eligible for credit. Women were “liberated” to participate in debt bondage.

Reply to  Greg
April 26, 2019 4:44 pm

Wrong one at least two counts, but these are the big ones.
1) Banks don’t skim “unbelievable amounts” of wealth from any one. Banks provide a service that people are willing to pay for. There are many banks and they compete with each other for people’s business by keeping prices low and services high.
2) Nobody forces people to take on debt. The idea that evil bankers are some how conning people to take out loans that they can’t afford is one of the oft repeated tales from those who’s understanding of economics stopped in 2nd grade. Please tell me how banks make money when a debtor can’t afford to make his payments?

There is no such thing as debt bondage. Never has been, never will be. Perhaps if you stopped reading bad fiction and started studying a little finance and economics, you would look a little bit less like an ass.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 12:30 am

You notice that all the crazies forget in capitalism you have to actually sell something to another party that must willingly enter the transaction. The key point is both sides must agree and by that profit form the transaction … you can argue about the split but both sides end up agreeing on the transaction.

Every form of socialism ultimately ends with transactions by force where one of the two parties loses out. It usually ends up at some catch cry idea that the idiot actually said, the idea that just because you are born you are entitled to some percentage of the Earths wealth. It’s sounds like a great idea to peddle to the downtrodden and poor but at it’s core it is the most stupid and corrupt idea ever thought up.

The problem is it isn’t fair or equitable on those with the real skills and exceptional goods to sell and so they simply leave the system. It is why socialism always fails unless it sits as a safety net under capitalism. Unfortunately for some the lesson needs to be lived to see the problem and the Venezuelians are just the most recent students.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 12:54 am

Yeah, you are wrong about banks. The banking system, world wide, is based on a 300+ year old English system, The Bank of England, of interest bearing debt. No wealth is created for those other than those who control the banking system. The Bank of England was originally setup to fund war(s).

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 8:51 am

Nonsense on stilts. Nobody borrows money unless they believe that they can use that money to make themselves better off.
Banks create a tremendous amount of wealth and they provide services that people are eager to buy.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 10:19 am

“MarkW April 27, 2019 at 8:51 am

Nonsense on stilts. Nobody borrows money unless they believe that they can use that money to make themselves better off.
Banks create a tremendous amount of wealth…”

Bullshit on stilts! Banks do not create wealth!

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 10:56 am

I think you might be missing the point. Where does money come from? How is it created, and how is it destroyed?

Back in the old days (pre-19771) money was,more or less, linked to gold, which meant that it had to reflect, to some extent, reality. Banks would take saving from sensible, productive people, and then lend that capital I to the economy to create wealth and increase in value etc.

Now, post gold standard, banks create new money instantaneously as they lend it to you: every single £, $,¥ etc came in to existence the moment it was lent, at the stroke of a key as it were. However, note that the interest payable on that loan is NOT created, hence the constant need for new growth, to allow borrowers to repay (and therefore destroy) the capital, and along with it the interest payment on top.

Mad system – god knows why it all still works. (MAD =Money As Debt).

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 12:33 pm

Screaming the same disproven claim over and over again may make you feel better, but it isn’t convincing.

Banks create wealth by accumulating capital and lending it back out again.
Your ignorance of basic economics is utterly astounding.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 7:28 pm

Patrick, do you keep all of your money at home, or do you deposit it in a bank?
If you deposit in a bank than you agree that banks provide a service that people such as yourself find valuable.
Do you have a credit card? If so, then you are using a service of banks that you find valuable?
Have you ever take out a loan to buy a car, house, or anything else? If so, then you are using a service of banks that you have found to be valuable.

If you didn’t find any of those things valuable, why did you do it? Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to use banking services?
All of those services provide value and as a result, create wealth.

That’s the how the real world works.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 7:35 pm

UBrexit, banks do not create money. Every time a loan is made, a debit is created that equals the value of the loan. When a bank accepts a deposit and then loans out a portion of that deposit, no new money is created.

For example, what would happen if every depositor of a bank up and demanded their money back? You know the answer as well as I do. The bank could not give every depositor their money, because the bank no longer has their money. If new money were being created, the bank would still have all the original deposits and could easily give the depositors their money.

They dollars that appear in your bank statement are not dollars, they are in reality, nothing more than entries in a ledger. The banks gamble that they can keep enough money on hand to take care of normal transactions. The banks can borrow from the Fed if for some reason they miscalculate and come up short of their reserve requirements. For really serious runs, the banks have deposit insurance with the FDIC that they can draw on.

Once again, banks don’t create money.

D Cage
Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 11:31 pm

Not true. Banks provide a service we are forced by law to use. By choice I would not trust any money to a system that uses Windows for its computing as it is intrinsically insecure and every single bell and whistle added above the raw operating system requirement is a security risk. Physical access to my money now requires an 80 mile round trip. So much for environmentalism.
Banks also no longer check that account name and account number match in the UK so the intrinsic risk in multiplied many times over. For this we pay obscene salaries to what have degenerated into low grade gamblers who when they lose we have to bail out but when they win they take the money. Even if not in debt bondage we are in bondage to a greedy and amoral clique.

Rhys Jaggar
Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 11:31 pm

People here talk about Monbiot as a wacko, but I promise you this, friend: if you thinking banking service quality is high and charges low, you need chains in a lunatic asylum.

Banking industry has consolidated hugely the past forty years, leaving bloated, inefficient, too-big-to-fail behemoths wanting bailouts. The parasites were the biggest beneficiaries of 2008 crash, getting trillions in cheap credit from Government, then not using it to stimulate the economy, rather simply feathering their own nests.

The mutual model for lending worked brilliantly for a century until spivs and carpet baggers set out to wipe the model out.

Mutuality returned greatest interest direct to savers whereas IPOs of such vehicles destroyed saving rates to enrich Wall St/City parasites. Mutuals were almost all financially healthy due to good creditworthiness checks on borrowers.

Mutuality is not communism, it is saver-owned capitalism. The savers are small-scale participants pooling interests (the interests being seeking a satisfactory rate of return on saved capital) rather than vampire squid bloodsuckers.

Profits are used for three and only three purposes: building fiscal resilience (appropriate Tier 1 ratios); reinvesting in the core business of attracting savers and providing loans; and returning capital to savers/investors in the form of interest. There are no dividends to shareholders.

Services become poor and charges high when consolidation replaces competition with back-scratching cartels.

You do not hear of this in the media, because the media is also a concentrated cartel who promote the interests of other cartels….

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 1:20 am

“D Cage April 27, 2019 at 11:31 pm

Not true. Banks provide a service we are forced by law to use. By choice I would not trust any money to a system that uses Windows for its computing…”

Banks used to use OS/2 for their server and desktop platforms. Banks *STILL* use IBM MVS/CICS in their backend systems. The COE of ANZ back in 1999 wanted to migrate all that backend processing away from IBM/MVS to Microsoft NT4 at the time.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 1:32 am

“MarkW April 27, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Screaming the same disproven claim over and over again may make you feel better, but it isn’t convincing.

Banks create wealth by accumulating capital and lending it back out again.
Your ignorance of basic economics is utterly astounding.”

Where am I screaming? I will say this, your lack of knowledge of the origins of the banking system (And wealth creation lol) is way beyond my ignorance of basic economics.

Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 8:50 am

Patrick, once again you provide no arguments, no evidence, you just keep repeating the same disproven claims. If that’s truly the best you can do, then why bother?

Let me ask you something? Does knowledge of the origins of carriages help in fixing a modern automobile?

Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 8:51 am

D Cage, I’m not familiar with the laws in the UK, but I can assure you there is no law that forces people to use banks in the US, yet almost everyone does.

Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 8:53 am

Rhys, your complaints are with government not banks.
Funny how you want everything to be run by the government, yet you are always complaining about the incompetence of government.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2019 4:55 am

Not true. Banks provide a service we are forced by law to use.

care to cite the actual words of said laws. Thought not. There are no such laws (at least here in the states). If you don’t wish to use a bank no one is forcing you to. Of course that likely means you’ll never own a nice home or brand new automobile as you’ll be living from payday to payday from your low paying cash only job. but it can be done (I know a few people that do it).

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
May 1, 2019 10:28 am

No citations D Cage? Not surprised.

Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 26, 2019 12:59 pm

“Capitalism” is just the name for how economic systems, in fact, all surviving systems operate. Successful systems concentrate flow into efficient channels to maximize the through-put. Systems adjust when there are blockages and redistribute the flow. The problem with “capitalism” is the darker side of human nature (greed and corruption), but these aren’t restricted to capitalism. In fact, transparency reduces these sins and is more likely to occur in a capitalist system than any other. The problem must be controlled by ethics and morals not the means of production and a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 26, 2019 9:24 pm

“…seems to work OK with small populations…”

By small populations, do you mean tribes of 30 or so people? Barter works fine for such small populations & is practically indistinguishable.

spangled drongo
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 27, 2019 9:15 pm

Monbiot, like so many lefties, doesn’t have a clue. Like a lefty friend who looks me in the eye and mutters, “you realise that if you are a wealthy capitalist you have simply ripped people off”, to which I endlessly reply, “that’s funny, I’ve never been able to achieve that. I always found I had to do more and charge less to make a sale”.

Dave Fair
April 26, 2019 11:33 am

Breathtaking economic and environmental ignorance.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Dave Fair
April 26, 2019 12:21 pm

Politics aside, Monbiot is exactly bass- ackwards with his topsoil claim. The creation of topsoil requires carboniferous matter. The more CO2, the more carbon sequestration by plants and the more topsoil is produced as cast- off vegetative matter is turned to soil.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 26, 2019 1:13 pm

More CO2 = more plant growth, and eventually more rich topsoil.

Sounds good to me.

But don’t tell Trudeau or AOC, they’ll want to bring in a topsoil tax.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 26, 2019 6:26 pm


Reply to  John F. Hultquist
April 26, 2019 7:40 pm

CO2 is (allegedly) associated with increased humidity, which increases rainfall, which increases country rock leaching, which increases rate of regolith formation, while CO2 also increases runoff, which transports regolith to valley floors and on to fertile flood plains.

CO2 is fricken awesomes!

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 27, 2019 1:22 am

The new thing is eco-composting to replace cremation of human bodies. Takes 30 days to turn a body into about a cubic yard of good compost. Topsoil problem solved!

Thomas Homer
April 26, 2019 11:34 am

The Social Security system in the U.S. necessarily requires perpetual growth. What is George Monbiot’s plan to phase that system out?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Thomas Homer
April 26, 2019 11:36 am

Kill off the old folks? Tax illegal aliens more?

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Thomas Homer
April 26, 2019 12:39 pm

To some degree, ALL retirement programs that are not fully funded require either perpetual growth or a raise in taxes/fees paid into the system.

Social Security would be much more sound if there were a requirement that you paid INTO the system at least a certain amount of what you take out of it (the difference would be assumed to be growth in investments until you retired). It would also be more secure if there were no upper limit to the taxes paid into the system (so higher salaries pay more instead of capping) and capping what can be taken out (Social Security should provide enough to retire on for a basic lifestyle and nothing more). There are a lot of simple adjustments one could make to Social Security to keep it solvent. Certainly if you (or your spouse) never paid into it, you should not be taking out of it.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 1:45 pm

Social Security would be sound if Congress hadn’t treated it like a go-to source for funding when nothing else was available. Right now I believe it’s mostly made up of IOUs from the government.

Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 26, 2019 2:43 pm

Social Security was designed as a coerced pyramid scheme. All pyramid schemes eventually collapse. Roosevelt knew that.

“This is the same old dole under another name. It is almost dishonest to build up an accumulated deficit for the Congress of the Unites States to meet in 1980. We can’t do that. We can’t see the United States short in 1980 any more than in 1935.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s initial reaction to “social security”

John Endicott
Reply to  damp
April 29, 2019 5:09 am

Yes, it was a pyramid scheme, however when first created the scheme was actually viable – however overtime conditions changed: in 1940 there were 159.4 workers to each beneficiary and beneficiaries were fewer and didn’t live as long, many didn’t even live long enough to collect. By 2013 the worker to beneficiary ratio had dropped to 2.8, beneficiaries are more numerous and live much longer with fewer failing to live long enough to collect.

old construction worker
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 28, 2019 1:36 am

Do you mean there is no” Lock Box”. LOL What kills social security in inflation but the governments loves inflation.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 6:48 pm

a basic lifestyle

A “basic lifestyle” of the 1930s would be considered near-abject poverty — the lowest, most hopeless form of poverty that exists.
These would all be gone: indoor plumbing, autos, electric gadgets, cell phones, polio & other vaccines, and many more . It is a long list.
Next try to describe what a basic life style will be like in 75 years.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Thomas Homer
April 26, 2019 6:36 pm

US Social Security system is usually not described as a creation of capitalism regardless of adjective.
Still, I hope there is a fix because they promised us old folks too much while failing to factor in the long lives that capitalism has provided.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
April 26, 2019 9:04 pm

This Social Security discussion reminded me of an analysis I did using my wife’s actual social security contributions doubled to account for employer contributions. I then used the return on an index fund to calculate the growth of her contributions as if it were a privatized system. Then I compared its income to social security payments and found that her annual income could be up to five times larger plus upon death a substantial estate would remain for her heirs. As an added bonus to the well being of others, money in this privatized system would be available for investment instead of being accumulated as IOUs in the so-called trust fund, now projected to be empty by 2036.

John Endicott
Reply to  Michael Combs
April 29, 2019 5:23 am

Indeed. The thing with the “IOUs” is that they’re in the form of interest bearing government bonds – an extremely conservative/risk adverse investment – which means that money doesn’t grow much (or at all in years of high inflation).

On the flipside a privatized system would have much more risk involved with any investments. In bad bear market years, the fund could actually loose considerable amounts of money – which wouldn’t be so bad if the fund has enough money to ride out the bad times but since the trust fund has no “lock box”, and thus is currently stacked with “IOUs” (and the entity that those IOUs came from doesn’t have the money to pay off those IOUs all at once) it doesn’t have the money to take the privatized gamble.

The ideal system would be a diversified system, a good portion in “safe” government bonds (to ensure enough funds to cover short-term “bad” years) and some portion in “riskier” market vehicles (like index funds) for longer term growth.

April 26, 2019 11:38 am

Capitalism has been sending money to these 3rd world crap holes for years….

There’s a reason they are not as “modern” as we are……….none of our “advancements” were a secret

Dave Fair
Reply to  Latitude
April 26, 2019 11:47 am

Socilamismo O Muerto!

Reply to  Latitude
April 26, 2019 7:54 pm

For the most part, the West even built their cities for them during the colonial era and via aid programs. But it’s somehow all our fault that they can’t now rebuild the cities themselves?

The key obstacle is one of prevailing local culture.

You can throw all the money you want at it but if the local culture remains backward and does not embrace adaptation of ideas and viewpoints then a city will remain backward and undeveloped and the country will remain a broke shishhole, as the left forever fail to recognize and apportion blame the real obstacle to a better life – namely, the backward local social culture.

So the greenies instead try to hobble them further, via filling them up with backward retrograde proto-communist ‘progressive-lefty’ culture instead, thus damning them to another century or so of misery, poverty and cultural and generational failure, while railing against the one thing that could help them out of the morass – adapting and developing a proper Western capitalist based culture of investment for development to make a profit, and afford a modern city, trades, production and commercial services.

Reply to  Latitude
April 26, 2019 10:45 pm

Actually the net arrow points in the other direction.

April 26, 2019 12:07 pm

Slight correction – the battleship seized in “Under Siege” is not nuclear-powered. Oddly for a ship cruising to its decommissioning, it is still carrying shells for its guns, the CWIZ is still loaded, and nuclear-tipped and conventional cruise missiles are on the ship. But the movie only works if those weapons are aboard.

Serge Wright
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 26, 2019 5:02 pm

Slight correction,
“The move only works with the Erika Eleniac cake scene” 😉

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 26, 2019 5:37 pm

“Crimson Tide” portrayed a nuclear “boomer” submarine with a cavernous, empty, echoing bilge area where the captain strolled his pet terrier.

Henry Galt
April 26, 2019 12:09 pm

The ‘system’ is a non-thinking organism. It reacts. Caesar would manage a single step out of the senate after proclaiming a radical change to the ‘system’ and he would be toast. Same today. The ‘system’ sloughs off dead cells without thinking. The organism survives until it doesn’t.

Monbiot is a dead cell.

Joel Snider
April 26, 2019 12:12 pm

Lotta upper-eye showing in this nutcase.

Reply to  Joel Snider
April 26, 2019 1:22 pm

It is quite funny but if you mess around with stills long enough you can always find an silly expression.

It’s a visual equivalent of quoting someone out of context. Unfair and underhanded ( but funny).

James R Clarke
Reply to  Joel Snider
April 26, 2019 2:20 pm

Nature is essentially a capitalist system. Or more accurately, capitalism works the same way nature works. Look around. Every living thing is concentrating on its own survival and expansion. That is primary. Nature rewards the most competent and destroys the least competent at procreation and survival, just like capitalism does with wealth.

Socialism, on the other hand, rewards the incompetent, making it very ‘unnatural’.

Capitalism works so well precisely because it is modeled on how the natural world works. Socialism fails precisely because it goes it goes against nature, especially human nature.

Monbiot is completely wrong when he proclaims that the problem is with capitalism, and not just the adjectives that are put in front of the word. The adjectives completely change the meaning of capitalism. For example, crony capitalism is not capitalism at all. Crony capitalism is a way of avoiding capitalism, as are most of the other adjectives we put in front of the word.

Reply to  James R Clarke
April 26, 2019 4:47 pm

Crony capitalism is virtually indistinguishable from socialism.

nw sage
Reply to  James R Clarke
April 26, 2019 6:47 pm

Capitalism is a success simply because is is the most efficient way – so far – of implementing the Law of Supply and Demand [think of it as a law of nature in the same way as the law of gravity is a natural law]. Capitalism also works best when everyone, not just elites, are free to own anything and therefore to buy and sell anything whenever they can, without restriction. Anything that restricts the Law of Supply and Demand such a monopolies and governments that pass laws that act as monopolies restrict the efficient use of capital and resources.

Reply to  nw sage
April 27, 2019 12:38 am

It’s a success because sides agree on any goods/service transaction and both have the right to not trade. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc got rich by selling stuff to people who willingly brought the goods and service.

Now try comparing good/service transaction in any alternative political system and who wins and what rights you have?

Reply to  nw sage
April 27, 2019 8:55 am

Stable monopolies are impossible without the help of government.

old construction worker
Reply to  nw sage
April 28, 2019 1:49 am

Law of Supply and Demand such a monopolies and governments that pass laws that act as monopolies restrict the efficient use of capital and resources. How true. A good example is what is happening to Tesla Motors.

E J Zuiderwijk
April 26, 2019 12:13 pm

If you base your ‘solution’ on the writings of Naomi Klein, then I’m afraid you have completely lost it.

Reply to  E J Zuiderwijk
April 26, 2019 1:21 pm


Rod Evans
April 26, 2019 12:21 pm

There is something quite insane going on in Mombiot’s mind. Consider what he is advancing, i.e. capitalism is bad it takes us in the wrong direction and will end in disaster, he wants to destroy it but has no idea what to replace it with. His thinking is akin to a passenger on a flight up t 30,000 ft deciding he is morally opposed to flying on Green environmental grounds, he decides to shoot Captain Capitalist and the first officer Mr Economy to stop the plane, fully aware there is no one left who can fly it.

Reply to  Rod Evans
April 26, 2019 4:56 pm

If Monbiot is the only passenger, then I’m having trouble seeing the problem.

Reply to  Rod Evans
April 27, 2019 9:56 am

I’d suspect you’re over rationalising there ?

Monbiot is getting older, and closer to the elimination phase of life. And he sees that despite his best efforts he has made virtually no impact on life in general. Must be a pretty tough position to be in for a guy who imagines himself to be a Prophet ?

As ‘Times Scythe’ swings into view, he has but one option, to ramp up the crazy. Combine that with a failing news organ for which he can write, and the crazy goes from pushing a shopping cart to making a noise 🙂

April 26, 2019 12:23 pm

WUWT seems very drawn to climate crazies. (^_^)

I never know what the breaking-stupidity of the day is, until I tune in here.

I’m thinking that a site name change might be in order — from “WUWT” to “WTFUWT”

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 26, 2019 1:19 pm

Cheer up, it’s only harmless entertainment
comment image

Dave Fair
Reply to  Vuk
April 26, 2019 1:34 pm

Would you by a black-market medication from this guy, Vuk?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Vuk
April 26, 2019 1:39 pm

My wife says he looks like Poison Ivy’s husband.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Vuk
April 27, 2019 7:39 pm

He’s put some effort into it at least. Though I’m not sure what he’s selling.

What are those symbols either side of the sign? They’re new to me.

David Borth
April 26, 2019 12:36 pm

Poor George. He has had to replace peak oil with “peak soil”.

Soil conservation has been a thing for quite some time. In the 1960’s, my father implemented terracing on the Kansas plain and introduced new tillage practices to save it – all being driven by the capitalist notion of profit.

Rod Evans
Reply to  David Borth
April 26, 2019 2:24 pm


J Mac
April 26, 2019 12:38 pm

Capitalism destroys topsoil?
Much to the contrary, capitalism promotes conservation of topsoil! Capitalism has driven the advent of low till/no till soil preparation and planting methods. Reduced tillage reduces soil erosion and enhances soil biota health. It reduces fuel usage per crop acre. As low till/no till methods have been embraced more widely, crop yields have continued to increase!

Monbiot does not know what he is running his mouth about!

Reply to  J Mac
April 26, 2019 1:07 pm

exactly….cap says most product…least overhead….

socialism…..says doesn’t matter…gov will make up the difference

Reply to  J Mac
April 26, 2019 4:49 pm

People who own the land, take care of it.

Not everyone is a stupid as those who hang around socialists.

Hoyt Clagwell
April 26, 2019 12:43 pm

It’s not that capitalism is a failure, it is that so many poorly educated people are failures at engaging in capitalism. If you don’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission, the failure doesn’t lie in the car.

J Mac
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
April 26, 2019 5:31 pm

Just so, Hoyt! Just so….

Stu gouin
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
April 26, 2019 7:40 pm

That truth is so hard , it should be carved in stone

Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
April 27, 2019 8:57 am

I am so stealing that.

Anna Keppa
April 26, 2019 12:45 pm

When was the last time you heard of a massive famine anywhere in the industrialized or even developing world?

Most famine in the last fifty years occurred in already-poor and arid areas, and were caused/exacerbated by civil war.

If capitalism is depleting soil, world agricultural output would not be increasing, as it is even in formerly famine-ridden countries like China and India.

April 26, 2019 12:52 pm

How does such a stupid person get into a position to influence so many people to do the wrong things?

Reply to  Gary
April 26, 2019 5:57 pm

He’s not stupid. Quite the opposite, he’s a paid liar, paid to parasitize fellow humans for himself and the people that feed him. Unfortunately, we can’t have that aspect of Darwinian evolution back.

…… nor the crossroads gibbet, complete with eye-pecking out crows.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 27, 2019 12:44 am

Yeah, murder is too good for some people.

April 26, 2019 12:52 pm

I like Moonbat. He’s not a bad Zoologist.

I don’t like him, however, when his mind strays to politics. Then he is completely Moonbat.

His fellow Zoologist Matt Ridley wrote a book, The Rational Optimist which pointed out that man is an evolutionary free trader. The great fisherman who couldn’t make good bone hooks teamed up with the lousy fisherman who made great bone hooks and they did a deal.

Then the bone hook maker figured he could sell his bone hooks to other fishermen and so began ‘specialisation’. The bone hook maker never had to fish again and fishermen never had to make another lousy bone hook.

It’s free trade and specialist production in a nutshell from whence everybody benefits.

The concept of socialism is borne from philanthropy and social responsibility and, of course common sense.

Make enough bone hooks and catch enough fish until you can afford to donate a few bone hooks and fish to those who will use them responsibly. Give them to the idiots and they’ll waste them, give them to achievers and the entire community benefits.

What we now describe as a welfare state was borne of pragmatic philanthropy. Far from perfect but I suspected it worked far better in bygone eras before entertainment and the arts evolved into a full time job, or politics became a career choice, for that matter.

Politically, Moonbat ignores all this whilst Matt Ridley recognises it, and raises the question; which is man more genetically inclined toward – DNA imprinted, predisposed, pragmatic trade or, an ideological ‘vision’ of a utopian instruction that we must all be equal, skills and ability notwithstanding?

Sorry, bit of a rant. George isn’t much of a journalist and he’s even less of a politician, but I do think he’s a good Zoologist, if only he would stick to what he’s good at.

Reply to  HotScot
April 26, 2019 9:52 pm

The concept of socialism actually came from Karl Marx, who couldn’t make a living spreading his whacky ideas. So he came up with an organised explanation for why everybody should support him.

BTW, Westerners think that socialism is where you share with your neighbours. Russian school children actually know that socialism is a system where your neighbours have to share with you.

Reply to  Hivemind
April 27, 2019 9:02 am

One trouble with many academics is that they can’t understand why the rest of the world doesn’t value them as highly as they value themselves.
From this they conclude that the system must be broken and that it’s up to them to fix it.

April 26, 2019 12:54 pm

Capitalism isn’t a “system”. It’s just the way humans interact naturally. Leftists always think there are competing systems. Systems are designed by man. Capitalism is an act of nature.

Reply to  Adam
April 26, 2019 2:24 pm

The Chinese have centuries of experience with capitalism. The Indians (not native Americans) are even better at it”s use.


Reply to  Adam
April 27, 2019 12:51 am

Capital does not exist in nature, therefore neither does capitalism. It is a purely human system.

John Endicott
Reply to  Loydo
April 29, 2019 5:36 am

Sorry but capital does exist in nature. Capital is simply assets. Gold and other precious metals (natural substances) are capital. plants (natural substances) are capital. The earliest forms of “capitalism” was barter. I have the skills to fish you have the skills to grow corn. I trade you my capital (fish) for your capital (corn).

April 26, 2019 12:55 pm

As a man who hade to live in the totalitarian “socialist” state for a quarter of century, I must say that the free society (inevitebly associated with the privat ownership and “capitalism”) is an environmental (and societal) paradise compared with the situation under communist rule. If someone had told me then that in the future the worst “pollutant” would be CO2 and capitalism would be consiered as a failure, I would have had considered him an insane person. I would recommend all the critics of the “evil” capitalism to experience some time in the “non – capitalist” state with corresponding level of medical care and environmental and societal standards.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Milan
April 26, 2019 1:26 pm

“This time we will get it right.”

Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 12:59 pm

I must admit, I have pondered myself over what happens to our form of capitalism if certain conditions continue:

1) Let’s say productivity, that is the amount of product produced per unit worker continues to go up. So if today we say an average worker is 100% productive (just by rule), then each year they gain say 5% additional productivity (yeah I realize that is too much but I am just making a point). In 20 years they are 250% productive.

2) Let’s say all markets on the planet have been reached and exploited, so that all there is left is to replace worn out goods, provide service, and supply food and medicines.

3) Let’s say population is now under control and there is zero growth overall (it gets worse if population contracts).

4) And lastly, say there is 100% employment at 40 hours per week just to make the math easy.

So in 20 years, you need to produce the same amount of stuff (for replacement) but you are 250% more productive, so you need only employ 40% of the workforce… What do the rest of humanity do? Apparently they live off of the government?

Or you can reduce everyone’s work-hours to 16 hours per week, but now how do they pay for stuff they need? So you have to raise everyone’s pay by 250%?

So as a capitalist society approaches these limits of market, employment, productivity, and population, it is going to need to adjust. It will be much harder for a small competitor to ever get started without the advantage of starting in an untapped market. Large corporations could end up dominating everything.

Then you have to think about AI and a robotic workforce… They do not get paid at all…and so as they replace real workers, what do those real workers do in this future scenario? What happens when we are able to replace a large part of the blue collar workers? Blue collar workers are often not able to adapt to a white collar job even if there are some available. Meanwhile, corporations that use a robotic workforce make larger profits but employ less people. Again, I think adjustments will need to take place, and I am unable to imagine what direction those will take us – the obvious path is to take corporate profits and use those to supply a basic income…now THAT doesn’t sound like capitalism to me.

Its still a long ways off, and I;ll be dead by then, but I am left wondering…

Dave Fair
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 1:29 pm

Robert, you make a similar mistake as that made by the UN IPCC: Predicting future economic and technological developments.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
April 26, 2019 3:34 pm

Eric…. Human productivity is far from being the only constraint.

That is like arguing that human speed of travel will continue to increase infinitely, so we will all travel to the moon, or Saturn, for picnics.

There are physical constraints and resource constraints.

Theoretically, with robot builders we could all live in 50-room mansions, but where are we going to get the land to put them on? Where are we going to get the energy to power the robots and mine, transport and refine the raw materials?

Reply to  PeterW
April 26, 2019 5:00 pm

You are assuming that as things get cheaper, people will continue to buy the same status symbols.

You are also assuming that more wealth must mean more physical things.
Look at your phone, it’s a tiny fraction of the size of phones 50 years ago, does so much more, and is worth many times what the phone of 50 years ago was worth. Look at TV’s, they’ve gotten smaller and are yet much more valuable, and both of them use less power.

Where are we going to get the raw materials. Same places we always have, though we might need to start mining old waste dumps as well.
Where are we going to get the power? Who knows, current supplies are hundreds of years from running out and who knows what forms of power will be invented in the next few hundred years.

Reply to  MarkW
April 26, 2019 10:41 pm

Phones are involved in the transfer on information, something that has no physical size in any practical sense.

Cars have not decreased in size to any significant degree, because the people who use them require a certain physical space in order to travel comfortably.

The average house is larger than it was 50 or 100 years ago, mostly because as people become more affluent, they decide that each member of the household should have a seperate bedroom.

I produce food. While you *can* dehydrate and reconstitute a good steak, the increasing market as Asia becomes more affluent, is fresh red meat. More people are buying beef and lamb because they like the flavour.

In each of these cases, people are making choices based on comfort, convenience and pleasure. Because affluence means that they CAN.

Incidentally, phones have become larger as people have spent more time looking at screens – because there are physical limitations on the ability of the human eye to resolve tiny images.

Not everything is about status.

And yes, to a certain degree I assume that human nature is not going to change. If your status symbol is not big enough to be seen, how the hell us it going to impress the neighbours? (However you define them)

Reply to  MarkW
April 26, 2019 11:05 pm

The argument is not that we are going to run out of raw materials or energy in any absolute sense.

It is that both of these things have their own costs, of which human labour is only a part. Robots may well become sufficiently versatile to replace humans in a great many areas, but that does not imply that they are free, or that they will make the other essential inputs in our production systems even close to free.

I’ve seen a hell of a lot of technical innovation in my own industry – agriculture – and the agricultural industry in this country is known as an early-adopter of such tech.

Yet technology is far from universally adopted. You can find helicopters and horses on the same mustering crews. The majority of shearing is still done by sweating men with mechanical handpieces. Many vegetables are still picked and sorted by hand.

The technology to do all of these things exists, but it isn’t cost-effective for many of us.

50 years ago (nearly) I can recall thinking that I didn’t need to worry about getting old, because at the rate of scientific discovery, that issue would be solved by the time it was a concern for me. How’s that looking?

We can describe the aging process at a genetic and molecular level, but we still can’t stop it. We can analyse the flu virus down to the last atom, but we can’t kill it reliable and effectively.

We still may. I hope we do, but we need to accept that technology has its limits.

Reply to  MarkW
April 26, 2019 11:08 pm

Oh and as I said elsewhere, TV screens and phone screens are increasing in size.

Trends do not inevitably head in just one direction.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 9:09 am

Peter, Peter, Peter. Stop and think for a minute.
1) Phones, phones allow people to communicate. However the ease of communication and what can be communicated has increased by huge amounts compared to the rotary phones are grandparents used.
2) Cars may not be smaller, but they are hugely improved over what was available 50 years ago and are hence many, many times more valuable.
3) While it is true that houses had been getting bigger, it’s also true that this trend stopped several decades ago. For several reasons. Family sizes have been shrinking and people decided that they had enough room and decided to put further investment into the things they put in the house rather than the size of the house itself.
4) As you point out, automation hasn’t taken over everything. Yet. There are many things being automated today that couldn’t have been automated even 10 years ago. This trend will continue.

Productivity increases are continuing. The result of this is things get cheaper and people get wealthier. That is not something you should spend your time worrying about.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 3:11 pm

One of your errors is to assume that all “stuff” is equal and that only volume matters.

As a farmer, I know that volume is only part of the equation, and that VALUE is a greater consideration. Value is driven by demand and availability , and as a producer I am constantly adjusting my production to maximise its value.

Your vision of the future in which we have nothing but more and more of the same stuff produced more cheaply, ignores such factors.

Meanwhile, Monbiot ignores the fact that land is a more or less finite asset, and a valuable one. A good capitalist does not destroy his asset because that destroys his wealth. Capitalism is based on looking toward the future (if I accept this expense NOW, I will have more in the FUTURE). If I don’t have this expectation, this cost-benefit relationship with my enterprise, why should I care that it degrades, as long as I get paid my wage.?

If I don’t look long term, why would I even bother to but land when I could live very comfortably (and unproductively) on the money it would require to do so.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 26, 2019 4:56 pm

1) As productivity goes up, one of two things (actually it’s usually a combination of both. Wages go up or prices go down. In either situation people don’t have to work as much in order to afford what they want and need.

2) Can never happen. Not everything that is consumed is a physical product. It can be something as ethereal as music or a live production of your favorite play. There are always services such as restaurants or health clubs.

3) You are assuming that there is something vital about a growing population. There isn’t.
What happens in your scenario is that people get wealthier and prices go down. As a result they don’t have to work as much in order to earn what they want and need.

Thanks to growing productivity the average workweek has dropped from around 100 hrs a week to 40 or less. The average work week will continue to drop while average standard of living increases. Just as it has for the last 3 or 4 hundred years.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 11:31 am

“You are assuming that there is something vital about a growing population. There isn’t.”

I have to take issue with that statement: why do you think successive governments have encouraged endless immigration? If the population falls, the economy contracts, and the sky falls almost immediately. Deflation is death to the debt-as-money insane system we are currently enjoying. Did you know that, all things being equal, prices of goods should fall, not rise continuously? If so, why is there ALWAYS AND FOREVER inflation, not deflation? If the system stops growing, it fails almost immediately. A recession = 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth, and that happens once every 7-10 years, and politicians lose their jobs over it – it’s that serious a problem.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 27, 2019 7:56 am

I suppose you could say that capitalism is the problem in that humans have trouble adjusting to the the rapidly changing technology that was spawned by it. What’s worse than this? These advanced technologies in the hands of dictators.
They’ll be struggles of course, but free societies will find a way.

April 26, 2019 12:59 pm

Are your sure his name is Monbiot and not Moonbat? Just askin’. I doubt sincerely that he has even the faintest clue about how soil comes into being. It isn’t just something you buy at the local hardware store when the sales are advertised.

He has no plan. He can only rage, rage against the dying of this fad.

April 26, 2019 1:08 pm

Okay, I’ll modify this movie script once again…..

Famous movie lines updated to green scam era……

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Soil.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in soil. Think about it. Will you think about it?

April 26, 2019 1:12 pm

War, famine, pestilence, economic crisis

The trademarks of a dying publication and cause.

Did Jim Jones have a newsletter?

Shoki Kaneda
April 26, 2019 1:15 pm

Sure, he looks stable. We should do what he says.

April 26, 2019 1:32 pm

He is not the first to notice the importance of top soil, but he ignores the initiatives on the way to addressing it.

Activists are directing school children to the streets to protest for more action against CO2 and their fear of global warming/climate change. In their desire to feel good about saving the planet, they ignore what is being done, and they march rather than picking up shovels and hoes and literally caring for the earth under their feet.

Overlooked is our potential to enhance the performance of the biosphere in capturing CO2 and greening the land. The soil itself is second only to the oceans, and the plant biomass is an additional sink for CO2. Below is an overview of the win-win proposition for humans to sequester carbon in the soil and restore its health and productivity at the same time. H/T Mark Krebs for suggesting this topic and providing resources from his own research and teaching. The full story is at

Reply to  Ron Clutz
April 26, 2019 9:56 pm

Activists always find that it is easier to protest over a cause, than to actually get off their sofas & do something about it.

April 26, 2019 1:33 pm

First get rid of capitalism, after that we will think of something else, something better. Sure, George, there must be something that hasn’t been tried yet in many thousand years. We can try anarchy again.

John Bell
April 26, 2019 1:39 pm

That guy is REALLY off his rocker, but provides entertainment by making hilarious claims.

Dave Fair
Reply to  John Bell
April 26, 2019 1:43 pm

People listen to him and actually believe this stuff.

George Carlin had it right. Take the average person. Remember, half of the people are stupider.

Reply to  John Bell
April 26, 2019 3:35 pm

Monbiot announced last year that he had prostate cancer. Twice as many people died from that disease 30 years ago, which is all the more remarkable given that populations have aged quite a bit since then.

Most of the work on this cancer has and is being done in the US, the UK, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries. These are capitalist countries, for the most part. Does Monbiot consider himself a hypocrite for bemoaning capitalist societies while at the same time utilizing the life-extending technologies developed therein?

Joel O'Bryan
April 26, 2019 1:45 pm

Oh Noes!!!! We’ve past Peak Soil!!

Dave O.
April 26, 2019 1:48 pm

Agricultural commodities are in such surplus and prices are so low that many farmers can’t afford to produce them. I guess that’s one “disadvantage” of capitalism – perpetual surpluses.

April 26, 2019 1:48 pm

Why isn’t this guy institutionalised yet?

Reply to  Joey
April 26, 2019 8:20 pm

Because ‘psych-wards’ were mostly closed or limited in their use in the late 1980s and 1990s, due to hand-wringing media exposures about how bad they were at making crazy people somewhat sane. So with no better idea, they let all the crazy people out to live with the saner people and legalized drugs and gave them access to the internet, and said it would all sort itself out, with sustained doses of hopium.

As a result the world and internet seems to get crazier every year.

Ian W
April 26, 2019 1:49 pm

We appear to be seeing a lot of peremptory demands from the Guardian ‘because climate change’. May I suggest that if the Guardian is so concerned about climate change it should with immediate effect stop its print edition and provide only electronic copy.
Think of the saving in transport and processing of wood pulp into paper, then printing and distribution of the printed copies, special aircraft fly at night to distribute newsprint. So go on Guardian – go green and stop all paper editions. Because climate.

Reply to  Ian W
April 26, 2019 2:03 pm

This amounts to concentrated ad placements for events week. It goes hand in hand with the street stunts in an orchestrated program.

On a much larger scale we saw the same thing across large, medium, and small news outlets across the U.S. leading up to the Paris Climate Agreement meetings. Paid news placements feed the publishers of all sizes.

Pity the readers and science minded. They are pawns in a money game.

Joel O'Bryan
April 26, 2019 2:58 pm

Probably the best distinction I have ever heard that is easy for anyone to understand, even the stupid people like Monbiot.

Capitalism – economic system where you go to a grocery store and the bread is waiting for you.
Socialism – economic system where you stand in line at the grocery store doors waiting for the bread to arrive.

How can it be any clearer?

Steve O
April 26, 2019 3:32 pm

Isn’t it Central Planning that’s turning topsoil into fuel? That’s not something capitalists would do on their own.

Reply to  Steve O
April 27, 2019 2:01 am



Reply to  Steve O
April 27, 2019 4:54 am

I like the way Steve O thinks!

Paul of Alexandria
April 26, 2019 3:38 pm

“Capitalism collapses without growth, yet perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamity.”
The Free Market (“Capitalism” is a term invented by Marx, if I remember correctly) is self-limiting. If soil, energy. or any other resource gets scarce the price goes up and people explore or invent alternatives.

Also, is it really necessary to point out that soil is pretty easy to make? A little dredging, a little composting, and Voila.

April 26, 2019 3:42 pm

I keep seeing futuristic predictions that robots will take over the “jobs” and we will all become couch potatoes.

That requires a narrow view of work , restricting it only to that undertaken in a formal, hierarchical relationship between the party paying the “wage” and the party doing the “work”.

A less blinkered view will understand that their skills and effort are a tradeable commodity like any other. People who want to gain benefit by trading one commodity or means of exchange for another, will find ways of doing so.

Those who find such ways will be watched and imitated by others. That is…… if regulators do not try to stop us “for our own good”.

Dave Fair
Reply to  PeterW
April 26, 2019 11:28 pm

That’s what socialism does best, Peter.

Reply to  PeterW
April 27, 2019 1:04 am

This is where robotics lead us:

John Endicott
Reply to  PeterW
April 29, 2019 5:49 am

A less blinkered view will understand that their skills and effort are a tradeable commodity like any other.

the “problem”/fear is that the robots will be able to do the same skills with less effort. How tradable is your skill to make widgets if a machine can make widgets just as good or better than yours at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time?

April 26, 2019 4:14 pm

This dude is a just tad unhinged.

Reply to  Jimmy
April 26, 2019 5:03 pm

You have an Olympic class skill at understatement.

Curious George
April 26, 2019 4:21 pm

I wonder if Guardian contributors include or included Nicolas Maduro, Kim Jong Un, and Pol Pot.

April 26, 2019 4:29 pm

Moonbot rides again, this time tilting at topsoil. Shutting down the Grauniad would save a lot more Greenhouse gas and topsoil.

April 26, 2019 4:31 pm

tsk tsk, you climate deniers make me laugh.
It’s clear that we have only 12 years left to save the top soil. The top few millimetres of the soil is screaming, the Arctic is screaming, the walrus’s are screaming.
In fact, the Antarctic is screaming, the polar bears, emperor penguins, natterjack toads and AOC are screaming.

Only a denier can ignore all this screaming

What’s so difficult to understand?

April 26, 2019 4:37 pm

Capitalism expands not because of capitalism but because of people.
People want more and they use capitalism to achieve a better life for themselves and their children.
Of course socialists like MoonBat can’t stand the thought of other people prospering.

The other thing I love is when those who have no knowledge of how capitalism actually works start spinning fanciful theories regarding it’s alleged failings and how super smart people such as themselves are capable of designing an economic system completely without flaws. If only we would turn over all power and wealth to them.

iain russell
April 26, 2019 5:06 pm

I just luuurve the privileged white haut bourgeoisie condemning gazillions of PoCs to starvation, death camps and misery. Moonbat, this is YourLife!

David E Long
April 26, 2019 5:09 pm

As I read Monbiot’s comments I imagined the reaction of some poor third-world citizen, sitting by his dung fire in his hut, upon hearing that some spoiled westerner says we have enough of everything and therefore need no more growth.

Reply to  David E Long
April 27, 2019 11:22 am

Economic growth in the first world is focused on producing luxuries now that basic needs have been met. That’s the difference.

April 26, 2019 5:28 pm

This Moon-bat dude is waaaay off the reservation.
And so was Tommy Lee Jones’ character in Under Siege. But please allow a minor clarification: BB63, “Mighty Mo”, the USS Missouri, was shown in this movie as nuclear-armed, but she was not a nuclear-powered warship.
In the last class of WWII battleships, Mighty Mo was indeed that. But nuclear armaments were aboard for only a short portion of her nearly 50 years of service.
For those not familiar with WWII history, the Missouri’s most famous duty was as the site of the signing of surrender documents by Japanese government representatives in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945.

Mike Ozanne
Reply to  TomBR
April 27, 2019 12:29 am

Where fastened to the bulkhead was the ensign flown by Commodore Perry’s flagship when he first entered Japanese waters in July 1853.

comment image

CD in Wisconsin
April 26, 2019 5:29 pm

There is something very disconcerting about a person whose eyes are as big as saucers when he/she talks.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 27, 2019 4:58 am

Thyroid issues, perhaps?

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 27, 2019 8:05 am

Yeah makes me think of Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks

April 26, 2019 6:14 pm

Sawing away at this log so please excuse my insistence. The Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion, etc. have smoked out the red politics which were always present in the Environmental movement. We’ve long known that but now it’s obvious to everyone. It’s both the economically illiterate “Great Leap Forward” and the “Cultural Revolution” We are lighting warning fires on the mountain tops. The barbarians are truly at our gates.

The topsoil crises has been around for over a hundred years. And yet food production keeps increasing. Monbiot may have been born yesterday but the rest of us were not.

John Anthony
April 26, 2019 6:16 pm

Naomi Klein , Peak Soil and George Monbiot.
Recipe for madness!

Steve O
April 26, 2019 6:21 pm

“Dare to declare capitalism dead – before it takes us all down with it.”

Well, if you’re wanting something less able to provide for the general physical needs and welfare of people, then any other system you choose will be better.

April 26, 2019 6:25 pm

Re. both Gary, April 29th and . Robert of Texas, the 26th. both are very thought provoking. I tend to think along similar lines..

One problem which needs to be sorted out is unemployment. Officially here in Australia our unemployment rate is about 5.3 % but this is considered to be a joke, as with just two hours work per week you are no longer considered to be unemployed. The rate is probably closer to 12 %, but that figure is not of course politically acceptable.

Possible solution, make it via taxation that its uneconomical to have both partners working in one household, while in another household neither partner is employed. one breadwinner, and that perron can be of either sex, so the problem is solved, in fact such a drastic change would cause a shortage of labour, hence wages would rise. It would also get over the child minding problem with their very high costs .

Ironically thinking back to the 1950 tees, that was the way the very long lasting Menzies Government governed. They had almost no income tax for the majority, they did have Purchase Tax, today’s GST/VAT taxes. But if you did not replace the item because it still worked OK, then you did not pay that tax. But have two working in the same household and income tax came in.

At present both political parties are bemoaning the fact that we have “Wage stagnation” plus the high cost of living. No mention as to just why is the cost of living is so high. A little bit like Faulty Towers, “Don’t mention the renewables””, plus there is some price gorging by the owners of the power sector, which today is split into many separate parts , each wanting a maximum return.

There is nothing basically wrong with Capitalism , but the recent Royal Commission into the Financial Industry, mainly the Banking Sector clearly shows that it can be, and is misused. But we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Regarding the apparent fear of a ever rising growth rate. I would think that replacement of existing goods would be sufficient to keep most industries happy, especially as the trend today is to throw out perfectly good equipment to have a so called “Better one”.

Reducing the hours worked day, and/’ or changing the working week to 4 days instead of 5 would solve any tendency to overproduce. But for that to work we must also reduce the very high “”Cost of Living”.

As for such things as immigration, well with high unemployment why do we need more peoples ?


Reply to  Michael
April 27, 2019 9:15 am

In the US, if you start taking SS, even if you’d rather keep working and would be better off if you kept working. You are no longer counted as unemployed.

Reply to  Michael
April 27, 2019 9:19 am

If you create an artificial employment shortage, that increase in wages that has you drooling, would result in everything that is made getting more expensive. That increase in price will more than compensate for any increase in wages.
Secondly, you are assuming that the second worker in one house is equally skilled with the unemployed person in the second. Complete and utter bullocks. The reality is, the first person is employed and the second isn’t precisely because the first has better skills. By forcing the better skilled person out of the labor force so that a person with lesser skills can be employed, you are ensuring that the quality of these now more expensive goods will go down as well.

Basically your solution is a recipe for disaster. You are as nutty as Monbiot.

April 26, 2019 6:27 pm

“Monbiot shows his commitment to recycling by submitting the same rubbish article he’s been writing for the last fifteen years.”

April 26, 2019 6:49 pm

Confucius answered Moonbat’s question 2500 years ago:

“Better a diamond with flaws than a pebble without.”

Walter Sobchak
April 26, 2019 6:55 pm

“Societies can recover from these apocalyptic events, but not from the loss of soil”

Wrong. Soil is not a naturally occurring substance. Farm land is created. It is a process that takes years. Land that is potentially usable for crops must be enclosed, cleared, drained, tilled, worked with vegetable and animal matter, amended, fertilized, irrigated, and plowed, and planted. Crops must be rotated, and continuous work and attention must be applied.

The alternative is slash and burn (swidden) agriculture. Farmers must move every few years in that type of system and it is not capable of sustaining large populations.

It is possible to abuse and destroy the investments of previous generations. But, American farmers have proven by their ever increasing productivity that high level agriculture productivity are possible over long time horizons.

Further, even land that has been abused to the point of desertification can be redeemed and be productive again. That is what Israel has famously done.

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 27, 2019 6:31 am

To your last point, Oklahoma as well, in the recovery from the ‘dust bowl’.

Walter Sobchak
April 26, 2019 6:56 pm

I need to add that it was for George Monbiot that the term moonbat was coined.

James Clarke
April 26, 2019 7:03 pm

Have you ever noticed that politicians and pundits on the left almost never make anything better?

Gordon Dressler
April 26, 2019 7:54 pm

Excerpt of the Monbiot quote given in the above article: “Capitalism collapses without growth . . .”

Really, George? You got any evidence to go with that sophomoric, unsubstantiated statement?

As some evidence of the falsehood of that claim, I offer you the facts that capitalism in the US survived, WITHOUT COLLAPSING, the Great Depression and the Great Recession, each lasting about a decade.

Separate from those facts, capitalism survived World War I and World War II . . . periods one would not associate with continued economic growth . . . in the US and other world countries using this economic system during these times. Of course, the two alternative economic systems, communism and socialism, did not fare so well during these periods.

Reply to  Gordon Dressler
April 27, 2019 9:26 am

“communism and socialism, did not fare so well during these periods”

There is no period during which communism and socialism have fared well.

Donald Kasper
April 26, 2019 9:27 pm

It is interesting to watch how income inequality and other problems which as all caused by limited resources, are conflated to political and economic organization like democracy and capitalism. Regardless of the political system and economic system, there are no infinite resources.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
April 27, 2019 9:28 am

Income inequality is caused by a disparity in skills and drive.
No matter how much stuff there is, there will always be people who either work harder, work smarter, or both.
These people will always succeed, unless the government imposes a system that doesn’t allow anyone to succeed.

John Endicott
Reply to  Donald Kasper
April 29, 2019 6:05 am

It is interesting to watch how income inequality and other problems which as all caused by limited resources

Unless the resources you are talking about is skills and abilities, then nope. Imagine a genie gave you one wish and you wished the worlds wealth to be evenly divided among the worlds population. Once the genie granted your wish, inequality would immediately vanish. for all of a few seconds. almost immediately inequality would begin again. as some individuals would use their skills, abilities, and ambitions to better their lot/increase their wealth while others would sit on their laurels (lacking useful skills and the ambition to gain such skills) and fritter away their wealth. In less than a generation, inequality would be significant again.

April 26, 2019 9:37 pm

Monbiot is a liberal without critical facility, but with the ability to articulate anything that comes into his head.
Capitalism started a very long time ago when our ancestors moved beyond having a rock as a hand axe to chipping a blade. Then he made a spear out of it and then made it more effective with a special spear thrower. The came the bow and arrow.
Increased productivity.
Then came agriculture.

Peter Wilson
April 26, 2019 9:40 pm

There are many fantastical imaginary worlds – Middle Earth, the Marvel Universe, Westeros, etc. But none of them are as far removed from the reality of the actual physical universe we inhabit as the one George Monbiot so passionately believes in. A padded room is the most suitable accommodation for one so utterly deluded

April 26, 2019 10:51 pm

Leftists insanely think everyone has a “right” to equal outcomes, which is achieved though theft from from those who are hard working, virtuous and productive and handed out to those who are lazy, unethical and unproductive, only after the ruling class keeps 50% of the stolen funds as their vig…

Sure, for a time, some immoral people can survive under such tyranny, but eventually the ruling class runs out of people to steal from and the whole system collapses..

Capitalism is the most moral and ethical economic system as it is solely based on two parties cooperating together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement without coercion or the initiation of force.

The sole role of the government is simply to protect individuals’ natural rights to life, freedom from government oppression (aka liberty), and property (both physical and intellectual).

Reply to  SAMURAI
April 27, 2019 12:42 am


Unfortunately peddling lies and snake oil to the poor and disadvantaged is what the left does.

April 26, 2019 11:37 pm

So Saint Monbiot defends Austerity… I am also seeing him starting a Temperance Movement…

Mike Ozanne
April 27, 2019 12:32 am

I have the patriotic duty to point out that however much of a w*nkstain Mr Monbiot is he has never confused a 1960 anti-Nazi showtune written by two Jewish guys with the Horst Wessel Leid….

John Endicott
Reply to  Mike Ozanne
April 29, 2019 6:13 am

I’ve heard that referenced before, who did confuse the two?

Mike Ozanne
Reply to  John Endicott
April 29, 2019 2:59 pm

That would be NYT White House correspondent and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman… :

Winner of this months “Why is our circulation shrinking” award…

Dr K.A. Rodgers
April 27, 2019 12:32 am

Loss of soil is straight out of the Tim Flannery play book. Neither Flannery nor Monibot know their James Hutton. It was the ‘”problem of the soil” that led Hutton to discover “deep time” and contribute to the founding of geology as a science in its own right.

Rod Evans
April 27, 2019 12:36 am

The COGS desire to return the world to the dark ages (literally) remains a puzzle. People like Monbiot, Caroline Lucas, AOC and GT, etc, all share a vivid imagination that lacks any reality.
I would pay to send George or Caroline Lucas to stay in a Venezuelan slum for a year. Venezuela would be the choice, because it has all the energy available it would ever need, but the socialist regime there, refuses to allow its production. That is exactly what Lucas and Monbiot and other Green Socialists are demanding, “leave the energy in the ground”.
Let us see how they feel about their Green Socialist ideas, after that year without energy or even toilet paper.
Of course it would enable him to explore “peak soil” as he occasionally squats there, contemplating life.

Reply to  Rod Evans
April 27, 2019 5:08 am

No, no. Not the Venezuelan slums. They have some facilities, even if it means having to haul their drinking water from a truck to their squat.

The people you mention should be required to spend a minimum of a year in a rainforest jungle like the Amazon or the parts of Borneo that are still like that, with no supplies of any kind.

I doubt that they will last even two days.

April 27, 2019 12:59 am

That’s 3 Guardian linked articles in 2 days… it really has got under your skin… look: just stop reading it!

Mike Ozanne
Reply to  griff
April 27, 2019 1:55 am

Not inform yourself of the enemies plans, and not impede them. No that would be ignorant and careless.

Reply to  Mike Ozanne
April 27, 2019 9:31 am

griff believes that ignorance is bliss. It’s the motto that he lives by.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2019 6:08 am

griff must be the most blissful person on earth by now.

Reply to  griff
April 27, 2019 2:56 am

Moonbat is embarrassing, isn’t he. He lets the crazy cat out of the bag for everyone to gag at.

Reply to  griff
April 27, 2019 9:31 am

griff is still upset that we are ridiculing his paymasters.

Reply to  MarkW
April 27, 2019 4:55 pm


John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2019 9:09 am

His paymaster aren’t getting their moneys worth so they deserve to be ridiculed just for that alone.

April 27, 2019 3:37 am

He doesn’t yet have an alternative yet but I’ll bet I can guess who he has in mind for being in charge.

Steve Richards
April 27, 2019 3:57 am

In Britain, it is almost compulsory to read the Guardian in school staff rooms and university lecturers offices!

The BBC famously orders many copies of it each day for staff to keep up to date!!

Robert of Ottawa
April 27, 2019 6:00 am

This from a guy who wants to deplete our atmospheric CO2.

April 27, 2019 6:22 am

I do not read the Guardian, and have even avoided the Telegraph since it turned all “girly” (in order to attract the lucrative female advertising revenue presumably) so I did not know much about Monbiot until I turned to Wiki.
Apart from his obsession with climate change I actually found much to like and even admire .
His books on the exploitation of indigenous peoples in Indonesia , Africa and Amazonia must surely deserve respect even if you don’t fully agree with the anti- capitalist conclusions.
There is some similarity to the case of David Attenborough , a much liked and respected figure until the topic of climate change changed his personality completely ( see the note in Paul Homewood’s site )

The topic or subject of AGW or climate change is like a brain rotting disease that is removing from us our best and most admired people.

Pamela Gray
April 27, 2019 7:18 am

Nonsense. Paleologists who study soil layers have told us that during warm periods, soils increase. It is cold periods that decrease soil layers. So plant baby plant!

Pamela Gray
April 27, 2019 7:23 am

“Another part arises from the creation of a new conception of justice based on this simple principle: every generation, everywhere, shall have an equal right to the enjoyment of natural wealth.”

Send the guy our Declaration of Independence. But highlight the part that says, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Just in case he hasn’t read it.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
April 27, 2019 9:35 am

The problem with the notion that future generations have a right to the resources available today is that since there are an infinite number of possible future generations, that’s a recipe for never developing anything. Ever.

We are rich because our ancestors ignored morons like Moonbat and utilized the resources available to them to create that wealth.
Our descendants will be wealthier because we continued that wealth creating trend.
Using the wealth that we leave to them, they will have the resources to solve the problems of their day.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2019 6:10 am

Leaving wealth is a side issue. I have taught my children, with some success but not entirely, that their life, liberty, and happiness is theirs to make or squander. But more importantly, they must be willing to defend the individual right to pursue it free from governmental heavy handed control. If we lose the individual right to pursue, we lose the individual result to have.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2019 9:19 am

The problem with the notion that future generations have a right to the resources available today is that since there are an infinite number of possible future generations, that’s a recipe for never developing anything. Ever.

It’s worse than that. Even is there was only a single possible generational path, if we can’t use the resources because they need to be saved for the future generations, then the next generation can’t use the resources because they need to be saved for future generations, then the generation after that can’t use the resources and so on… Meaning no generation is ever allowed to use the resources because there’s always a “future generation” to consider. That’s a recipe for a stagnating, never progressing society. Had our ancestors followed that idea, we’d never have left the caves/trees/whatever natural habitat we came from. There would be no plumbing, no heating, no AC, no literature, no TV, no houses, no cars, no computers, no iPhones, etc. we’d be subsistence living hunter/gathers living short brutal lives no different than any of the other animals we’d be competing with for our food. We’d be prey as much as we would be predator.

April 27, 2019 8:17 am

Poor George. Increases in productivity drive wage increases, standard of living gains and growth. You can easily have fewer people working and still have economic growth.
Free capitalist societies are well positioned to deal with problems that inevitably arise.
God knows what he’s talking about in regard to top soil.

April 27, 2019 12:33 pm

Capitalism is merely a natural law, similar to the thermodynamic laws whereby low grade wealth(energy) is harvested from stored resources(lowgrade energy) and utilised for benefit.
The harvesting requires the use of energy to upgrade this energy to usefulness as with the second law of thermodynamics; hence the agricultural scene in subsistence farming. So too with manufacturing both requiring that the harvesting wealth(energy) must be less than the useful energy won. Ie: the profit, without which it fails. (starvation at the subsistence level)

How the won energy(wealth) is distributed is NOTHING to do with capitalism. That is a matter of politics. ALL left wing attempts to replace capitalism HAVE to rely on it to provide the wealth(energy) to feed their aspirations.

It is a sad fact that the sins of humanity are being placed upon this innocent natural law; usually, IMHO, by the left wing which carries a great deal of the sin itself, in its aim of world state domination of the means of wealth creation.

The current attack on fossil fuels is a good example of the strategy. BEWARE the sins of the left wing😲😲😲😲. There are enough sins on the right to keep us busy.

Johann Wundersamer
April 28, 2019 3:17 am

Monbiot: Capitalist Climate Change will Kill Us by Irrecoverably Depleting Topsoil

Every archeological site has to get excavated, UNEARTHED :

The planet BUILDS UP TOPSOIL from outer solar dust, in ~2500 years by > 10, 12 meters.

Those Monbiots are just shrill stupid that must hurt all day long.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
April 28, 2019 12:22 pm

Yeah that’s why this building

was excavated rencently by young Greeks in a program to reduce unemployment.
(Sarcasm off)
In case “shrill stupidy hurts all day long”, you must be on opioids.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
April 28, 2019 1:25 pm

MFKB, young Greeks today are mostly academics.

Anyway they don’t need your uninformed ‘sarkasm’.

Johann Wundersamer
April 28, 2019 4:36 am

The embankments of these Celtic-Roman roads were covered by falling dust over the millennia.

to the actual carts tracks on the original stone streets one would have to dig more than 6, 8 meters.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
April 30, 2019 11:27 pm
robert stevenson
April 28, 2019 7:21 am

Naturally occurring climate change which has been happening over millennia is one thing but catastrophic anthroprogenic global warming blamed on CO2 emissions form fossil fuels is a complete nonsense

April 29, 2019 5:41 am

Re. Mark, nothing is perfect, but the present situation is in the long run unsustainable.

More and more on the dole will in the nerd future lead to higher taxes to
pay for them, and of course that will in the long run not work either.

As for the person in the household with neither employed, says nothing g
about their level of skill. Anyway my own life experience is that almost
anyone can be trained to do most jobs,.

The military solved this a long time ago, they simply sort them out and then
train them, perhaps we should use the military instead of all of the so called
experts in the Social Security part of Government.


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