LETTERS: The spread of neo-liberalism has concentrated wealth in the few

Bear in mind that the terms “facts and evidence” vary according to one’s agenda

To the Expositor:

Re. ‘If renewables are cheap, why is electricity so expensive’ by Shane Desjardins, September 19.

Though weary of debating the closed minded, I continue to be skeptical of suspicious agendas. As the fossil-fuel bubble has burst and the survival of humanity depends on the immediate global transformation to renewables, it is depressing that those entrenched in the old school capitalist paradigm, of progress at any cost, are so determined to fight to the death. Sadly, it’s the poor who suffer the consequences.

Regards, the activities of Michael Shellenberger, the founder and president of Environmental Progress, on his own website, he is described as “one of the world’s leading pro-nuclear environmentalists.” I consider the term “pro-nuclear environmentalist” an oxymoron. In other words, Mr. Shellenberger has an agenda and the global conversion to safe and sustainable energy sources is not it. The main source of confusion that muddies the water, in the search for accurate data on the true cost of any particular energy strategy, is the extent to which these industries receive “unmentioned” government subsidies. As the fossil-fuel and nuclear power generation companies regularly receive billions of dollars in corporate welfare, subsidies and tax breaks, what the alternative solar and wind power industries receive is insignificant in comparison.

One does not have to look far online to find despicable smears of the character of Canadian author and national treasure, Naomi Klein. This determined and prolific journalist has taken her share of flack for many years, now acknowledged as “the leading intellectual-activist in the radical climate movement in the United States and Canada.” As a long-time critic of neoliberalism and an anti-globalization activist, she has not been afraid to attack capitalism, nor distance herself from democratic socialism, with which she clearly identifies. However, despite her detractors, she also has received many awards and kudos, attracting many readers and supporters. (Most interesting was her winning the Warwick University biennial prize for writing for ‘Shock Doctrine,’ the year the book was published in 2009).

Yes, Ms. Klein has made dangerous enemies publishing books, like ‘Shock Doctrine’ or more recently, ‘This Changes Everything,’ that go into great detail on the historical development by Nobel prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, of his neo-Liberal strategy to lobby governments into the deregulation of banks and corporations over the past 40 years. The promotion of neoliberalism around the world has been responsible for perpetuating an obscene increase in wealth by a tiny elite. Needless to say, Mr. Friedman has been very popular in these circles over the years. As I mentioned previously, the Fraser Institute is a Canadian conservative think-tank established by friends of Mr. Friedman to promote his pro-corporatist agenda and yearly receives funding from global warming deniers, like Charles and David Koch and ExxonMobil. So, when it comes to pontificating on the subject of fact and evidence, bear in mind these terms vary according to one’s agenda.

Derek Stephen McPhail

Providence Bay