Friday, 18 December 2009 - 10:18 AM GMT
"It's news to me that 'not many Greens think too much of Monbiot'. Care to cite some evidence of it? His books sell well, don't they?"
I wouldn't call middle-class Guardian readers as being Green. If protecting your profligate lifestyle with how-to books, Green discussion in a cheese and wine party and spending a lot of money replacing your non-Green life with an expensive one whose creation cost more energy than it saves is classed as being Green then I am something other than Green.
You can label my lifestyle as Green not because I chose to live like this but because I cannot afford a middle-class lifestyle and have pared my lifestyle down to the barest minimum. The likes of Monbiot just want to replace their wasteful middle-class lifestyles with what they imagine to be a Green lifestyle.
The energy put into manufacturing a Prius is greater than any saving the car might make in fuel costs. And, I am always being overtaken by one in the fast lane travelling at 90mph, which immediately negates the energy saving features of the car.
"Is he also so witless as not to realise that the City employees he's looking at have family and other dependents whose lives would take a turn for the worse if the breadwinner jacked it all in to lead a simpler life?"
A simpler life requires less expenditure. The point of a simpler life is to avoid spending money on stuff you really don't need. Which comes first the job or the lifestyle? They seem to come hand in hand. Television is full of junk lifestyle prorgrammes, programming people to spend money on junk. Where else do people get the money from but a job that does their head in. If people thought about what was really important in life then they might spend less and require less money.
"He also seems unaware of the 'tournament effect', whereby people will put up with misery temporarily if there's a chance that by doing so they will advance to a better life - in much the same way that the tournament poker scene is full of 'nearly men' who are still waiting for their big pay-day."
Putting up with less for a simpler life gets some people to where they want to as well. That would hardly be a tournament. I still believe people are conned into wanting more. After all, if we didn't spend spend spend then governments wouldn't be able to cream off taxes and bankers wouldn't be able to act as middlemen and cream off during financial transactions. Seems to me that we are sold a lie to keep politicians and bankers rich but never you nor I.
"Or indeed the scene in Hollywood where thousands of aspirant actors and writers serve doughnuts and coffee waiting for their big break. It's a feature of all work environments with a highly assymetric pay-off."
Sounds like a really sad life to me. Little more than a Big Issue seller or a beggar in the street. Still, if that is the system you subscribe to then I am probably never going to change your mind.
"but if George's concern really is for the poor and disadvantaged, he could do far more good by working against the things that cause much more misery in this world - like Tribalism, religious fanaticism, corruption, despotism and, yes, socialism (famines in Zimbabwe, North Korea etc)."
Unfortunately, we can't live in a fare world, can we? In your tournament based, devil take the hindmost world there will always be poor people. Unless you want everyone in the world to have equal amounts of everything. But that smacks of socialism and I hate that too. It drags us all down to the same level, the gutter. There simply isn't enough to go round.
"Instead he picks the western middle-class way of life as his bogey-man and I think this says more about him and those of his ilk than it does about the real threats facing humanity."
Well, there is a limit to everything. Population size, resource levels, land etc. Approaching 3 billion Chinese and Indians who want all that you have. Doable? I don't think so. Even your lifestyle requires two planet Earths used exclusively for human occupation.
You will have to accept less if you want a world of equals, without disaffected Muslims etc. A lot less and that is the real point of "Going Green".
PS "Tribalism, religious fanaticism, corruption, despotism and, yes, socialism" - All on our doorstep. Charity needs to start at home.