Business as Usual

When I was tutoring last night, I hit upon an analogy between slaveowners and climate change deniers (which effectively includes most companies and investors seeking “Business As Usual.”) In both cases, they could not see their own ends coming, no matter how obvious it got.

Cotton and tobacco exhausted the land; it could have been left fallow or planted with cover crops, but no one did this. As a result, there was a constant need for new land to ruin. The various congressional compromises got them that land, right up to Texas, but the end of cheap arable land where slaves could be held was nigh. The slaveowners couldn’t accept it. There would always be more land! They thought of elaborate schemes in which they could conquer Latin and South America and create a slaveholding paradise free from Northern interference and moral censure. But it was not to be. War was the only thing that could move them from their checked position.

Just so, the deniers want to keep making money up until the very last second when we are all dead. They may be in bunkers or orbiting Mars, and they will have their carbon-generating paradise without censure — even if this is all a pipe dream. The only question is, now that the world is gone, who will give their money faith and credit? What will they buy? Whom will they hire?

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