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  • Writer's pictureCambridge Society For Economic Pluralism

CSEP Forum Discussion: Can Capitalism Solve the Climate Crisis?

CSEP Forum Discussion in collaboration with the Climate Society on Tuesday, 14th November!

Date and time

Tuesday 14th Nov, 2023



Lightfoot Room, St John's College

We are excited to announce our next event of the term, which is in collaboration with the Climate Society. It will be a forum discussion on the topic 'Can Capitalism Solve the Climate Crisis?' and will include considering the role of government policies and the unequal impact of climate change on developing vs developed countries.

The event is taking place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 14th November in the Lightfoot Room, St John's College.

We can't wait to see many of you there!

CSEP Committee 2023-24

Event Review:

The Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism and the Cambridge Climate Society held a joint forum on the climate crisis and capitalism at St John’s College.

The debate was wide-ranging, from questions over whether capitalism and the profit motive were reconcilable with ecological limitations, to those of precise government policy- subsidies to public transport, recycling schemes and much more.

One of the key themes running through the discussion was how to ensure that a transition to ecological sustainability remained distributionally just. Both within nations and between nations, one fear raised was that attempts to move to a green economy could be frustrated by existing inequalities. As a global society, we have to find ways of alleviating the potentially unjust sides to climate policies, protecting the poorest from income shocks due to price rises from carbon taxes, and ensuring that poor countries endowed with large stocks of natural resources do not see their development impeded by movements away from high resource consumption.

Another element discussed was the dichotomy between green growth and degrowth. Can global consumption continue to increase despite ecological boundaries due to improved efficiency in resource extraction, recycling and production itself? Or, is there something fundamentally incompatible with higher consumption and higher growth on a resource-limited planet? And if that is the case, what steps can we take to ensure a fair standard of living to all the globe’s inhabitants, within our ecological boundaries?

Within the break-out groups and the wider forum, there was no uniformity, with the lively discussions indicative of the heterogeneity of opinion. Nevertheless, whilst the questions of capitalism remain ever debated, the enthusiasm and informed interest of participants is a very positive sign. In this age of worry for humanity’s future, we need policy-theorising and economic analysis more so than ever before and this forum was a fantastic example of the positive contribution that such discussion can make.

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