Book Review: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’

Go Lean Commentary

The biggest threat to the Caribbean’s future maybe the biggest threat to the planet: Climate Change. How is it possible that anyone would deny this?

Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” may help us to understand the dissenters viewpoint. The Maslow Hierarchy identifies these 8 levels of needs:

Level 1 – Biological and Physiological needs
Level 2 – Security/Safety needs
Level 3 – Belongingness and Love needs
Level 4 – Esteem needs
Level 5 – Cognitive needs
Level 6 – Aesthetic needs
Level 7 – Self-Actualization needs
Level 8 – Transcendence needs

In addition to the abundance of published materials on Maslow, the book Go Lean…Caribbean qualifies the same 8 levels of needs (Page 231). This definition of needs also applies to the subject of Climate Change and the foregoing Book Review of the new publication by author Naomi Klein entitled This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. This source book relates that the systems of capitalism run conflict with the ideals of fighting Climate Change. This commentary asserts that those who dissent are limiting their advent of Maslow’s Hierarchy to Level 1 and/or 2, while advocates to cure/mitigate Climate Change are navigating above Level 3, all the way to Level 8.

The profit motive is powerful; according to the foregoing article/book review, the practice of capitalism dictates seeking the shortest path to profit. Many are spellbound by profit, to make millions or simply to maintain jobs, to the point that they will sacrifice the higher level needs to only ensure Basic (Level 1) and Security/Safety (Level 2) needs.

This short-sighted view “cuts off the nose to spite the face”; it sacrifices the long-term for the sake of the short-term.

The book review follows:

Book Review: Heather Mallick, Columnist
Title: Naomi Klein has written the book of the modern era
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate – gives the reader the tools to discuss the coming disaster intelligently.

Capitalism vs the Climate 2The planet is headed for a climate catastrophe, and soon. Make that now. Your reaction will be either a quick calculation as to whether you’ll be able to die in time to skip the whole thing, or an appalled realization that your children are in for pain and your grandchildren for a terrible fate.

But your starter task should be reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Meticulously researched and briskly rational in tone, her just-published book is one of the basic texts of the modern era, by which I mean since the Scotsman James Watt invented the coal-fired steam engine in 1776. Hasn’t perdition come quickly on its wee cloven hooves?

Until then power came from water wheels. With Watt’s device, owners could build factories near the urban poor, hire cheaply, cut prices and stabilize production that used to depend on the whims of weather. Ironically it’s weather that will finish us off now. Capitalism is magical until it isn’t. Skip ahead 240 years and here we are, basically doomed by its profit formula.

Klein’s book is an essential purchase in that it tells you precisely what you need to know to discuss the climate dilemma intelligently: it covers historical context, environmental science, fossil fuel finance, our current version of capitalism, political history, climate change denial, environmentalism’s failures, suggested quack-scientific remedies that will “block” the sun, green energy and how people are working locally to blockade carbon extraction because nothing else is being done. It is factual rather than emotive.

Fascinatingly, it portrays fossil fuel corporations as victims of their own nature. Programmed like computers, they could not reverse themselves even if they wished to. Only governments can do it. Even then, international free-trade agreements allow corporations to sue nations to stop this, the very reason smart Germany has just objected to Canada’s new European trade deal. Stephen Harper knuckled under to corporations but the Germans are smarter than that.

This magnificent textbook has already been attacked by people who didn’t read it, apparently for the high school reason that Klein is too famous, or that the book is too hard on the West. But science has spoken. There are 2,795 gigatons (a gigaton is 1 billion metric tons) of fossil fuel reserves already claimed by industry that will be extracted and burned. “We know how much more carbon can be burned between now and 2050 and still leave us a solid chance (roughly 80 per cent) of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius,” writes Klein. “That amount is 565 gigatons.”

That’s 2,795 vs. 565, not even faintly close, and humans haven’t agreed even in principle to slow down. “2 degrees now looks like a utopian dream,” Klein writes, and 4 degrees is reliably said to be “incompatible with any reasonable characterization of an organized, equitable and civilized global community,” a.k.a. life as we sort of know it. Many experts say we’ll go far beyond 4 degrees.

The joy and genius of capitalism is how it takes the shortest path to profit, but it is as bad as communism at trashing earth, water and air. Something has to reshape capitalism or we are fried. Humans want to fob the problem off on other humans, which is not how it works on this pretty blue ball spinning through the sky. We may not suffer equally but we’ll all suffer.

A big wheel is already rolling. There is produce we can’t buy as drought crisps farmland in California, a state that hasn’t even banned private swimming pools. We are seeing the hottest summers on record and abnormally harsh winters, violent storms, more smog alerts, nations like the U.K. and cities like New York hit by flooding, Brazil hit by drought.

Author: Naomi Klein

Author: Naomi Klein

We may blame China and India, accusing them of blithely polluting as we claim to virtuously filter North American effluent. But we outsourced our pollution to Asia. As Klein reports, “The rise in emissions from goods produced in developing countries but consumed in industrialized ones was six times greater than the emissions savings of industrialized countries.” China will stop polluting when we stop buying their cheap stuff. Are you going to stop? Are you?

Klein’s question is this: do you go along to get along or do you fight back? This Changes Everything is basic reading and no one will take you seriously until you’ve read every single page.

Heather Mallick’s column appears Monday and Wednesday on the op-ed page and Saturday in News.
The Star
– Toronto’s Daily Newspaper – Book Review – Sunday September 28, 2014

Video: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate – Book Trailer –

The Go Lean book also details the impending crisis of Climate Change and then declares that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”, calling for the establishment of a regional administration to monitor, mitigate and manage the threats of Climate Change. The Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean region is at the frontline of the battleground of Climate Change, and that there is the need to save life-and-limb due to increased occurrences of devastating hurricanes, flooding, forest fires, droughts, rising sea levels, and alterations in fish stock.

This Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The prime directives of this agency are described as:

  • Optimize the economic engines of the Caribbean to elevate the regional economy to grow to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establish a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance and industrial policies to support these engines.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the CU to serve as the regional administration to optimize economy, homeland security and governance engines for the Caribbean, especially in the fight of Climate Change battleground frontline status. But the needs of the economy, capitalistic principles and Climate Change mitigations do not have to clash/conflict; they can co-exist.

This is the first pronouncement (Page 11) of the opening Declaration of Interdependence that bears a direct reference to this foregoing article and source book:

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

The source book also relates to the concepts of capitalism. Though it is the surviving system from the 20th Century debate versus Communism, it is far from being a perfect commerce system. But it can be managed and manipulated for the Greater Good. This point was also pronounced  on Page 13 of the Declaration of Interdependence in the Go Lean book:

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean roadmap is designed to deliver many empowerment activities to elevate Caribbean society. These activities will carefully balance the needs of the Caribbean and the needs of the planet: we need jobs, yes, but we do not need to increase our carbon footprint.

The issues of Climate Change have been repeatedly addressed and further elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries: Climate Change May Affect Food Supply Within a Decade Cooling Effect – Oceans and the Climate Climate Change May Bring More Kidney Stones Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought Floods in Minnesota, Drought in California – Why Not Share? Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights Go ‘Green’ … Caribbean

The Go Lean book declares that we must adopt a community ethos, the appropriate attitude/spirit, to forge change in our region; then details the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to better impact the region’s resources and eco-systems, especially in considering the preparations and consequences of Climate Change:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices / Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 24
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating 30 Member-States into a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Vision – Foster Local Economic Engines for Basic Needs Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Prepare   for Natural Disasters Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Page 76
Separation of Powers – Interstate Commerce Administration Page 79
Separation of Powers – Meteorological & Geological Service Page 79
Separation of Powers – Fisheries and Agriculture Department Page 88
Implementation – Assemble Regional Organs into a Single Market Economy Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up – Unified Command & Control Page 103
Implementation – Industrial Policy for CU Self   Governing Entities Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Wall Street Page 200
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street Page 201
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Fisheries Page 210
Appendix – History of Puerto Rican Migration to US & Effects of   Hurricanes Page 303
Appendix – US Virgin Islands Economic Timeline with Hurricane Impacts Page 305

The foregoing book review and the source book discusses the threats of Climate Change on the planet. We have no option to ignore these debates. We are involved whether we want to be or not – we are on the frontlines of this battle. Apathy is not an option!

Change has come to our region; more devastating change is imminent. There is the need for a permanent union to provide efficient stewardship for Caribbean economy, security and governing engines. There must be that constant balancing act between capitalism and the planet. The Go Lean…Caribbean posits that these problems, these agents of change, are too big for just any one member-state to tackle alone, there must be a regional solution. This multi-state technocratic administration of the CU may be our best option.

The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap, to embrace the mitigations for the impending changes to the planet due to Climate Change. We can still make the Caribbean a better homeland to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Video: Bill Maher Interviews Naomi Klein on Climate Change Issues (Posted 09-26-14) –

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