Supposedly, “Goal 8” of the 2030 Agenda aims to combat inequality and promote sustained economic growth. The reference to this sustainable growth quickly ties in with the dogmas of the green and gender agenda.
Social and Inclusive Growth
Growth must be inclusive, i.e., positive discrimination of women (and LGTB collectives and the alphabet crew that follows) must preside over economic policy, because “Goal 5” states as a goal: “Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.” In Spain, the new Equality Plan, devised by Irene Montero and her troupe, will receive 20,319 million euros from the budget, which obviously comes out of the pockets of the middle classes. Despite the rhetorical boasts of more taxes for the rich, the harsh reality is that the largest body of taxpayers belongs to the middle class, which, according to data relating to the last decade, contributed 54.4% of the State’s total income. The rich, those who have more than 150,000 euros of declared income per year, are only 0.24% of the population, and it is the companies, together with the middle class, who bear the tax burden on which public spending is based.
Spain is the country that has increased its tax burden the most during 2020. Tax reforms and the impact of the coronavirus crisis have increased the indicator by 1.9%. We now have a tax burden of 36.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than three points above the average of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which remains at 33.5%. This increase in the tax burden is closely linked to the increase in public spending, but does not translate into a substantial improvement in public services. The ideological spending on gender policies sponsored by Agenda 2030 means the waste of 10% of tax revenue. A 10% that impoverishes the middle classes and reduces the competitiveness of Spanish companies.
The trompe l’oeil of feminism 2030, masks the harsh reality that today an ordinary household needs two salaries to be part of the middle class, while in the past it was enough with only one salary. This is the real wage gap. To sustain this set-up that puts capitalist production before the family, and prevents each household from having a comfortable and stable source of income, under the label of inclusive policies, abortion, low birth rates and alternative families are encouraged; which, as in Sweden, lead to growing old in utter loneliness. And these policies, as the communist Pasolini sourly criticized in his day, are the ones defended by the good little boys of the new left.
Sustainable Climate Development
Worse still are the climate policies that Agenda 2030 sponsors in its Goal 13. The apocalyptic discourse of the UN aims to intimidate the population into accepting its global governance policies without complaint: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development… The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk.”
The UN has dared to use a hysterical teenager like Greta Thunberg to spread its climate sophistry: “We need drastic and immediate annual cuts in emissions as the world has never seen before… People in power can continue to live in their bubble full of fantasies, such as eternal growth.” The climate ideology serves to justify anything, as we have seen with the intervention of Gustavo Petro before the UN General Assembly this September: “Cocaine causes minimal deaths and coal and oil can extinguish humanity.” This is not the extravagance of an ultra-left-wing Ibero-American leader, the former member of the terrorist group Movimiento 19 de Abril, is merely endorsing the postulates of the UN, which, through its Secretary General António Guterres, warns us: “Either we stop our addiction to fossils or it will stop us. Stop brutalizing biodiversity, stop committing suicide with carbon, stop treating nature like a toilet.”
Well, under this umbrella of nonsense, a decarbonization policy has been imposed throughout Europe that has led us to the current energy disaster.
To begin with, there is no scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of climate change. In contrast to the IPCC, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which points to humans and their economic activity as directly responsible for climate change, there is another platform of scientists (ICSC, the International Climate Science Coalition) that denies that there is any empirical evidence to prove this hypothesis. And if there is no consensus on the causes, there is even less consensus on the consequences. The IPCC itself has changed its forecasts over the last few years. The truth is that predicting what the climate variation will be in 50 years and its effects on life on Earth is more of a guessing exercise than a scientific certainty, no matter how much the UN, large corporations and mass media sell the opposite to us.
What is undisputed is that the very expensive economic and environmental measures aimed at limiting CO2 emissions in Europe are absurd. The European Union as a whole emits 2,724 million tons of CO2 per year, while China emits 10,065 million tons, India 2,654 million tons and Russia 1,711 million tons. None of these three countries will sacrifice their economies to reduce their emissions. So, we Europeans are, in colloquial parlance, the hangers-on in this whole global warming racket. Reaching 2050 with an emissions cut of around 85 or 95% would cost us Europeans as a whole some 9,699 euros of annual per capita income. Naturally, the distribution of this drop in living standards would not affect everyone equally. Once again, the middle class would be the hardest hit.
It is clear that rising energy costs are putting many SMEs on the brink of being unable to maintain their businesses. But far from giving priority to the real crisis that we are suffering today, (last August 22nd, the market price of natural gas traded on the German THE (Trading Hub Europe) was quoted 1000% higher than a year ago)—the UN keeps insisting on the Race to Zero campaign to eliminate fossil fuels, justifying these measures in the supposed climate crisis of tomorrow. Ursula von der Leyen has just announced that the European Union will not rectify the mistake and will remain stubborn in following the goals of the Agenda 2030, because what we must do is “strive to accelerate the transition away from all imported fuels and develop self-sufficient green technology systems.” It matters little that the gas supply cut-off due to the sanctions imposed on Russia has put the truth on the table and shown that the technological development of renewable energies is still far from being able to produce cheap and sufficient energy to cover all the needs of homes and businesses.
We are not going to analyze the report of the Rand Corporation, the most powerful think tank in the United States, on the double purpose of harming Russia and the Europeans themselves with the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union as a result of the conflict with Ukraine. What is clear is that even the dimmest person is capable of understanding that when the cost of energy skyrockets due to its high cost, producing more at the cheapest possible price helps to reduce this price increase. But the recipe that the European Union is trying to give us is not to recover coal energy production due to the extraordinary circumstances we are going through (it is true that in Spain we could never do so because “smart” Sánchez has blown up the thermal power plants), or at least to give priority to nuclear energy with the same emphasis as renewable energies, rather than collecting “more than 140,000 million euros” in extra funds for governments to pass on to consumers with financial problems. In Germany, however, they have had to put up 8 billion euros to rescue the energy company Uniper. That is to say, the European Union’s stubborn stance on energy matters means higher tariffs for consumers and more taxes, which, of course, will end up being paid by the usual people, the middle classes and SMEs. Nor does it seem very adventurous to say that the famous ecological transition of Agenda 2030 has driven an energy policy that can only be described as a “real plague” for Europe.
In view of the situation that exposes the scam of the green transition, which despite the fact that between 2009 and 2019, as recognized by the UN itself, has invested a whopping 2.6 trillion dollars in renewable energies, without having had the slightest capacity to alleviate the current energy crisis, a new doctrine is emerging to defraud public opinion and advance in the establishment of the new world governance.
Economic growth is incompatible with the already excessive consumption of resources, energy and waste generation, which especially in the higher income countries, i.e., in the West, is causing the problems of ecological unsustainability. This is the new movement to justify the impoverishment of Western societies that is causing the climate policy of Agenda 2030. In another turn of the screw, every day more and more voices are heard from the “progressives” in favor of what is already known as “post-growth,” the theory that tells us that the world must abandon the idea that economies must continue to grow, because growth in itself is harmful.
This theory uses two arguments to convince us that being poorer will make us happier. “You will own and you will be happy,” the Davos Forum announced at its annual meeting in 2020. Of course, as you can well imagine, those who preach this have no intention of getting poorer or seeing their standard of living decrease. As with the communists when it comes to distribution, it is the others who must decrease or have nothing to be happy.
The First Argument is Ecological
Unlimited economic growth is responsible for the planet becoming uninhabitable. “Resource depletion and pollution are starting to set limits, and we need to talk about it,” announced Richard Heinberg, American ecologist and university professor (how could we not). “Supplies are running out, and even if we didn’t have to address the problem of war, it would still happen.” Again, the apocalyptic threat. It is not new; since the 18th century, several variants and versions of Malthusianism have been telling us that the earth’s resources will not be enough to support the growing population. In the 1970s, using Hubbert’s peak theory, we were told that oil reserves would be exhausted by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, when that future has arrived, what is exhausting is the drumbeat to stop using fossil fuels.
Now it turns out that what is incompatible is living “within environmental limits” and maintaining the welfare state of advanced societies. The recipe of the ideologues of degrowth is that the richest countries should apply the Goals of the Agenda 2030 to the hilt and collect more taxes to invest in a greener economy, move forward without ley-up in the energy transition to stop using oil and coal, end carbon emissions and embark on a social engineering operation to change the “chip” of an excessively consumerist population to convince them that impoverishment is necessary to be happy. “Decrease to survive,” because in order to keep our economies growing we would be depleting resources and destroying nature.
Of course, it is a lie that there is a risk of depletion of our resource reserves. There are raw materials, energy sources and crops, which together with technological advances, are enough to keep humanity growing. The crisis we are experiencing, the energy shortages we are suffering, the inflation we are experiencing, have political causes, not eco-planetary ones. Nor is it true that economic growth is the enemy of the environment. It is precisely in those advanced economies of the West where there is more respect for the environment and more measures for the care of nature. The West is blamed, but if we look at the list of the 10 most polluting countries in the world, China appears as the most prominent, followed far behind by the United States, India and Russia. Among these 10 countries, only one European country appears, Germany, in seventh position.
The reality is that economic growth encourages concern for the environment; and, thanks to this growth, advanced societies are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly policies from their leaders. The fact that Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan are among the most polluted countries in the world indicates that in developing countries, where economic growth is in deficit, there is no such concern for the environment. We are certainly not going to hide the fact that the extraction of raw materials in the third world to feed the growth of the most advanced economies leaves much to be desired in terms of labor rights and care for the environment, but the solution does not lie in the degrowth of advanced societies, but in the growth of backward societies, until a strong middle class is established in them, which, as has happened in the West, demands and promotes policies of stability, which first achieve social improvements and then restore and care for the environment in their production processes.
It is not precisely the same people who have largely caused the current energy crisis by their obsessive fight against carbon emissions, who should now be giving lessons, which, in the end, are nothing more than a flight forward in their hasty and irresponsible green energy transition policies.
The Second Argument is Social
The consumerism on which the Western growth model is based alienates the individual and exacerbates inequalities. The increase in economic wealth would not in itself guarantee an improvement in social objectives, a categorically false assertion that is often found among post-Marxist authors. The generation of wealth results in a higher standard of living for all social strata, as is shown by the per capita income figure, which has increased tenfold between 1750 and 2000. However, inequalities have also decreased, since if we look at the Gini index, which calculates the distribution of income among the entire population and ranges from zero (perfect equality of income between individuals) to one hundred (maximum inequality, in which all income is held by one individual), it has fallen by eight points worldwide. This is clearly not a spectacular advance; inequalities continue to be particularly glaring in the Third World; but also throughout the West and in many emerging countries, the decline is evident. Moreover, the poverty rate in the world has fallen by 80% from 1970 to the present day. No one will deny here that large capitalist corporations benefit from growth, ostensibly increasing their bottom line; but no one with a minimum of intellectual honesty can deny that it contributes significantly to the enlargement of the middle classes, progressively incorporating the poorest into their ranks. Authentic sustainable growth must guarantee this social mobility and promote economic, fiscal and labor policies that seek to expand the middle classes.
From the Great Reset to the Great Impoverishment
Maslow’s famous Pyramid theory defines a hierarchy of human needs and argues that as people satisfy their most basic needs, they develop higher needs and desires. In short, when growth is generated, when more wealth is made available to people and their lower subsistence needs are met, social progress is driven. On the contrary, degrowth is a regressive force that prevents the development of the individual and the satisfaction of his higher needs, pushing him to focus on satisfying his most basic needs.
This is the Great Reset they have in store for us. The pillar of prosperity in Western societies is the middle class. Its growth stagnated in Europe in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; and the pandemic coupled with the current inflationary crisis is reducing it by leaps and bounds. Middle-class households’ consumer spending, especially on energy, has risen much faster than their incomes. At the same time, their taxes and social contributions, far from decreasing, are increasing every day, because the policies of Agenda 2030 do not loosen spending, especially in the green transition, and demand more resources in social aid to cover the enormous damage they are causing to the lower classes.
The supporters of degrowth are in luck—the purchasing power of the Western middle classes, according to various economic analysts, will decrease by 25% due to the consequences of the pandemic, inflation and the energy crisis. It will be this reduction in demand that will succeed in curbing inflation over the next few years. The result will be a society with more inequality and less middle class—the globalist elites will achieve their desired degrowth and the dependence of large masses of population on the State. A State disconnected from the national community and dominated by large capitalist corporations and a socialist-style bureaucracy. In addition, technological advances will soon make possible a social control that Orwell or Huxley only vaguely dared imagine.
The Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 has just launched an institutional publicity campaign for Agenda 2030 under the slogan “Enough dystopias. Let’s re-imagine a better future.” That better future, thanks to the elimination of the middle classes with their critical spirit, their initiative and their freedom, will not only be a mass society, saturated with media messages that build an artificial narrative from above, as Jean Baudrillard denounced, but thanks to the virtual reality that will soon reach us, it will allow a daily life disconnected from the true reality, which will erase any threat of dissidence. A better future is certainly on the horizon… for the elites who aspire to world governance.
Mateo Requesens is a judge in Spain. [This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].