Naomi Klein (Photo: Ed Kashi)Naomi Klein, author of the groundbreaking books, No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, is back with a new groundbreaking work, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. The book resets the debate over global warming by focusing on how it is integrally related to the current economic system that spans the globe.
Naomi Klein is out to change hearts and minds around climate change.
Her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate out now from Simon & Schuster, is a broad challenge to those who want a livable planet: We need to come up with a livable economic system too. Deeply researched and personally reported, Klein’s third book takes us from the tar sands in Alberta (“Earth, skinned alive”) to the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf of Mexico (“a miscarriage”), from climate denier conferences to a meeting of would-be geoengineers, as she traces the path of destruction that capitalism and a mindset she terms “extractivism” – that is perhaps even older – have left on the Earth.
At one point, Klein concedes, it might have been possible to stop the climate crisis with a few regulations here, a carbon tax there. But we’re too far gone for that, and nothing but a full-on change in how humans relate to the Earth and to each other will save us now.
The good news is that Klein has written an immensely hopeful book, a book about people who believe they can make change and who are doing it in the face of a political and economic system that would seem to doom them to failure. She doesn’t define what comes after capitalism, leaving that to the social movements she describes being born all over the world, but sketches its broad outlines, letting us know what this new climate justice movement is against – but also what it is for – and making a case for a broad redistributive justice movement that would include already-existing movements for racial justice, feminism and decolonization.
The problem is, capitalism is stupid … in that it doesn’t actually think.
Truthout’s Sarah Jaffe caught up with Klein on the eve of the People’s Climate March and of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York to talk about why liberalism is not enough, why billionaires can’t save us, and what we need to do to save ourselves.
Sarah Jaffe for Truthout: You’ve written two other books, No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, that helped to name and understand a particular historic moment. How was this book a direct outgrowth of your previous work, and how has your worldview changed in the years since those other books?