Jason Hickel, anthropologist: “We must move towards a post-capitalist economy”

Jason Hickel, anthropologist: “We must move towards a post-capitalist economy”

Barcelona lives under the pressure of tourists, and at the moment it has two issues on the table: to control the cruise terminals or not, and whether or not it is necessary to expand El Prat airport. Can you give us your feedback?

I think enlarging the airport is a very bad idea. This is in stark contrast with the objectives against climate change, which is the most difficult sector to decarbonise, so if we want to proceed with coherence towards achieving our objectives, The airline industry must shrink.

In addition, you should Reduce it reasonably, it’s not just about imposing higher taxes because the rich will continue to have access to flights. The idea of ​​expanding airports amid the climate crisis is a disaster.

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A setback.

As for cruise ships, I think they are also a problem. In themselves they are already a problem because they completely pollute and destroy ecosystems, and it makes no sense to expand the shipping industry at a time of climate catastrophe.

However, I understand the argument that tourists bring well-being BarcelonaBut the cost is very high. We need to think of the economy in terms of services and not in terms of money. When you organize an economy around tourism, you produce goods for tourism.

That is why he defends an economic system that promotes the common good and not just by indicators like GDP.

Exactly. But going back Tourism, If we organize the economy around tourism, we produce for tourism And it is not good for mankind. If you house tourists, feed tourists, shops are designed for tourists… if you’re a local, so what? Focus on citizens, housing, food system, public transport is essential.

“Socialism organizes production around human needs, not airport expansion.”

And I want to say something about the attacking socialist candidate Kolau has: He is in favor of expanding the airport and maintaining the ships, which is not socialism. I don’t see how you can define yourself as a socialist with these principles; Socialism organizes production around human needs.

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In the book, he argues, there is little escape from climate catastrophe unless ecological collapse is avoided.

I think it is very important to understand that the policies of the existing governments have put us at two and a half degrees of threat, and this is not a simple matter, it is a recipe for total disaster. This is not the future we want, is incompatible with sustainable human civilization, and the idea that we can adapt to this future is a fantasy, and it will be very, very difficult.

“We must fight to decarbonize the planet, and this means radically changing the economy”

We must fight now Decarbonize the planetAnd this means changing the economy in a radical way, we must organize production around human and ecological needs, not around capitalist accumulation and elite consumption.

He wrote ‘less is more’ for eight years, has been concerned with these issues for a long time and is part of a group in Brussels to deal with these issues. Do you feel useful in these meetings?

I think related ideas decrease And one Just change They have been around in education and social movements for a while, but are only now being recognized at a high level in the EU.

Strategies to reduce carbon emissions now exist, are relevant, and additional solutions are being sought. I am under no illusions that we will adopt one Economic declineBut public debate on the matter is necessary to democratically decide what future we want.

Is economic democracy possible?

We have to fight for it. And I want to emphasize that this is important for the development of thinking. Currently, in our economy, decisions about the production and use of energy and resources are made by a very small group of 1% of people who control the international market.

That 1% elects the CEOs of the most important multinational corporations. For them, the goal of production is to maximize profit, but that profit should not determine what we produce.

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A Economic democracy We can Decide how to use our collective laborLike public transport, affordable housing or renewable energy, but of course, these are things that don’t bring much…

What do you think about the European New Green Deal regarding energy consumption?

I think that is the problem Green Deal It promises rapid reductions in carbon emissions, but without the structural changes needed to implement them; So there is a paradox at its core. That is what the political classes face.

Existing strategies fail, they don’t work, and another type of approach is necessary, and it needs to change A post-capitalist economy.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear green energy?

Clearly, we need green and renewable energy, to stop using fossil fuels, but we also have to We must understand that pure energy does not come from nothingIt doesn’t just come out of thin air, it takes materials to build the necessary infrastructure and then build it Green energyI think it will increase extraction, land grabbing… and the negative impact of renewables.

“Reduce production of unnecessary goods”

All of this makes a lot of sense Reduces idle energies, in order to reduce the impact of renewables. Reducing energy consumption can be achieved by being more efficient, and even more efficient infrastructures, but above all by reducing the production of unnecessary goods.

By the end of the book, he points out, we have seen what is fundamental in economics and what is not in epidemics.

Yes, but, for example, the production of cars increased, so it was necessary to take the ideas we learned during the pandemic and apply them.

If we were to cut certain sectors of the economy, we had better decide what they would be: fast fashion, cars, Jets The private sector, the meat industry… there is public support for these measures, but the political class is unwilling to act.

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Capitalism is reformed or we will not progress.

Of course, we must move towards a post-capitalist economy.

What should a post-capitalist economy look like?

The Capitalist economy Production is organized there for the benefit of a few. A capitalist system has a higher level of production, however, Basic needs are not metSpain has a very high unemployment rate, housing problems…

In the rich Netherlands, there are many on the brink of poverty, deep social insecurity, all the result of a system that does not organize production for the benefit of human needs, which can be changed.

“Waiting for capital to solve these problems is suicide.”

We need universal public services, guaranteed access to employment, expanding public transport… these are urgent objectives that capitalism does not pursue because it does not benefit from them. Waiting for capital to solve these problems is suicidal. So we need to address social and environmental issues simultaneously.

Anthropologist Eudald Carbonell from the Atapuerca Foundation, among others, warns in his latest book that we are collapsing as a species, and if we don’t make continuous changes, write some of them in your book. We will perish. Carbonell considers the feminization of society as the basis, a perspective you don’t hold or avoid. Because?

Actually, in the first chapters of the book there was a section about how capitalism exploits women, but when they edited it they took this section out and I should have fought that it wasn’t. Development is closely linked to feminist economics.

Center of Feminist Economics Most of the workers who support our society are underpaid or unpaid and are extremely vulnerable. The majority are women, which is not measured in GDP, so the feminist approach is to point out what kind of production and labor is needed to create a more just society.

It is important to recognize the value of these unpaid jobs, and the decline is just that.


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