France is revolting. In fact, Belgium got a little ticked as well. Greece, too. It seems the deplorables are rising up in Europe these days. And, that is not even counting England and Brexit. Or Fox News watchers. In several ways, they are all right-on (sadly, mostly alt-right). But it’s all a bit too late…..
The Yellow-vests demonstrated initially to protest France’s carbon tax levied on gasoline (petrol). On the face of it: non progressive. Billed as a way to ‘the GREEN’ future, the government did what all governments do….tax the poor to ‘ostensibly’ improve their lives. The rabble didn’t buy it. They took to the streets in that time honoured way to loot shops, flip cars and throw crap at police.
Brilliant strategy. Primal, I guess. Funny how breaking windows and setting fire to things is our preferred mode of expressing anger publicly…..?
But, as it turns out, the rebellion has some REAL demands as well as just screaming in pain. NOT having a united front nor having a recognized leadership, they still managed to shout out real, visceral-level, basically smart demands. “No carbon tax! BUT DO take up GREEN initiatives! We want to live! We want a healthy planet! We want equality!”
C’mon….give ’em credit! Those demands (3) are way more intelligent than ‘Lock ‘er up‘ or, ‘Build the wall!’ Or my personal favourite, ‘Kill the lawyers!’
Seems they are NOT against the cost of fuel so much as a list of things that are making life too damn hard. And they are long overdue in that. We all are.
To give the elite their due (which should take the form of a guillotine) they just ’employed’ a tax and a tax usually works. Right?
Well, yes and no. A tax on a ‘discretionary’ item like tobacco works. Raise the price, fewer people smoke. Same for booze. Cheap wine and beer increases alcoholism and abuse. It is that simple. The correlation with price is irrefutable. But air, water, food and, in this day and age, fuel, are essential ingredients for living. For the modern worker, fuel is as necessary an expense as bread. The government really should never tax the essentials.
“We want a clean planet but we also want cheap gas!”
Irreconcilable? Not in the least. Easy-peasy. Cheap fuel really means cheap transportation. That could be public transit but public transit only works in mega-hives. It doesn’t really work in real w-o-r-k or real travel.
Switching over from fossil fuels to electricity…would that do it? Yep. That would take the sting out of it…except…it comes with a shock! Who is going to give me an electric boat? An electric truck? A long plug-in? I am pretty fully invested in the old system. It took all of my energy and money to buy into this one – the one that now doesn’t work! I will buy into the new-system tools if I can work and gain the money (and live forever) but how can I work if I can’t drive my truck right now?
We’ve waited too long to get on this ‘electrification’ merry-go-round.
“So, if we hurry up and we all buy a Nissan Leaf or Tesla, will it be OK then?”
Sadly not. Why? Because the deplorables are demanding more than just ‘cheap fuel’. They want equality, too. Plus they want air to breathe, water to drink and the planet to get healthy. They are fed up being peons, serfs, slaves and pissants. They are fed up saluting corrupt authority while working for peanuts. They are fed up being part of the problem but only because they followed their leaders.
The poor are revolting.
“Dave? Is this the start of it? The Revolution?”
I doubt it. We’ve rebelled before. GreenPeace. Occupy. Me, too. Trump and Brexit were the start of our most recent ‘anger, annoyance and dumb-rebellion’. And maybe the yellow-vests are a smidge more sophisticated and specific with their message than simply ‘lock ‘er up’ (hard not to be smarter than Trumpians) but anger and frustration doesn’t seem to get the job done for anyone and we are rapidly running out of time. I really do not think the system is the mechanism by which the system gets changed.
That is why I left.
Honestly? I am a bona fide deplorable. Born and bred. And I have worked for change. I have felt the feelings of rebellion. I have walked a few miles in anger. But, but, but………..over time, I channeled my innate deplorableness into more personal, smaller, local battles. I won’t bore you with my history of that but suffice to say, it was small and ineffective on any kind of scale. NOT Bill Gates. NOT Elon Musk. Not even a shadow of Ralph Nader.
IMAGE: little Dutch boy with his fingers in the dike.
So, the point? I do not see change coming through even a better supported Obama-clone or facsimile. Certainly not by way of Putin or Xi. I do not see change coming by way of any of the movements on the horizon or even any looming (possible exception: Ebola). Not even by way of the Yellow-vest or the Umbrella movement (Hong Kong courage writ large). I see the ‘way of things’ too firmly ‘in place’ for real change and, worse, I see that the system has learned to bend and absorb the energies it comes into opposition with. There is no answer in us.
But the planet may get involved……
…..I think we shall soon see…..maybe a lot sooner than I thought.
Major change is underway but the need for such change appears to be poorly understood by many people. GM is currently restructuring how it will function as an auto manufacturer. Many automakers, such as GM see the need to move away from the internal combustion engine to a certain extent but many people do not share GM’s vision. One way to propel innovations promoting corporate responses to fight climate change is to make CEO’s pay contingent upon meeting emission reduction goals.
I really would like to see that (if we MUST) incentivise people to do a good job that there can be never more that say, double the wage for the CEO over that CEO’s lowest paid worker. I mean…really….if everyone in the world made $1000 a month and YOU made $2000, wouldn’t you FEEL rich? OK…I know that will never work but you get my point.
Conservatives got a drubbing here recently in elections. But they never learn. It is always someone else’s fault, not their own.
Yeah….that DOES seem to be the way….as does the fact that the economy always tanks just as they leave office and they leave that office (and the people) with double the debt load. I can’t see how they are the ‘business’ party unless that means they ‘give everyone the business’ by mismanaging everything ‘cept their own wallets!
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Can’t remember which video that was?
Interesting thoughts David.
Until someone makes a breakthrough in solid state battery technology, internal combustion is here to stay. Rumours say the Chinese is near perfecting the technology. A thousand times more efficient than Lithium-iron and only requires a few minutes to charge. Interesting time we are living in, keeping my eyes open.
didja get video?
I did, but can’t open it yet since I am in Shenzhen. 😂
What video? Am I a mushroom? (No cauliflower comments please.)
I’ve seen it. Jaw still on the floor. Nothing is too difficult for you and Sally.
It is stunning!
Ironically, annual greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions of the US declined 2.7% from 2016-2017 (per data from the US EPA: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/data-shows-decrease-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-during-trumps-first-year-office ). This is mainly from switching from coal to cheap, plentiful shale fracking natural gas in many electric power plants. This comes at a time when most European countries had net INCREASES in CO2 emissions, despite their still being on board with the UN climate accord treaty (which the US bowed out of in early 2016!).
It would be great if such improvements could continue. If we do switch to electric vehicles?
It would mean a considerable increase in electrical grid demand. Doing it cleanly will be important.
We need to develop innovative technologies to solve these problems, rather than just being forced by a “worldwide governing body” to just all tighten our belts and/or do without (or pay a lot more…)
There is no worldwide governing body. Aspirational targets are set individually country by country. The gravest problem faced will be unemployment as the adaptation to an economic transformation proceeds in a region or doesn’t. The green economy is growing rapidly.
It is growing. NO doubt and that is despite ‘faint praise’ from all the so-called experts. For years I have read, “Well, solar is all very well and good but you can’t beat a giant utility for cheapness, reliability and pure energy. Solar takes a lifetime for payback and batteries hit you in the pocketbook big time every five years or so.” And, in effect, those bastards are right….kinda….first off, when you make your own, you conserve more. So, they are wrong in that respect. Indirect benefit for sure but true. Secondly, the panels are getting cheaper and, while they do NOT compose the whole of the system, they are a harbinger of cheaper-to-come. Plus, batteries are getting better. NOT cheaper yet (major obstacle) but they will be. But here’s the best part: I have learned a lot. AND I have not suffered one brownout, blackout, service interruption or crap-phone-tree encounter or billing from the utility in over 15 years. I have been free of them! HUGE benefit. Yeah…no centralized authority….what is not to like?
Dave you are entirely correct. Conservation is key but so many have little incentive to conserve. The other day I saw a Hummer owner filling a 87 litre gas tank at $1.50 per litre. I assume that he would still fill his tank if gas were to cost $4.00 a litre.
I think so, too. I would. If I had one, I’d be close to 100K into it. No one is buying them back. So I’d be stuck with it. And leaving it on the street without gas makes no sense.
And that is also my point. We are all heavily invested in what the system served up (not like we had much choice). You gottta car? You drive? We all do. So, I do what I can. And I would love to see the stupid %^%$#@! government STOP penalizing people for having ‘bought into the ‘system’ all this time. If they want to LEAD US OUT OF THE MESS THEY ALL SUPPORTED, do it with incentives, not additional taxes. All they would have to do is install a gazillion electric plug-in stations for FREE USE and 30% of the working population would swap out their gas guzzler tomorrow. They’d see a $2000-5000 cut in fuel bills and rationalize the move. Cut the cost of the vehicle purchase (by way of tax reduction) and you’d get another 20%. Those of us OUT of the workforce still could not but that would be a HUGE cut in petrol use.
More taxes on poor people simply does not work.
You are correct. A lot of poor people are riding bikes or taking transit if reliable transit is available. Transit is often packed. In the hinterland better transit is needed.
We in the hinterland represent a very small minority. I could schedule my once a week 20 km jaunt to the ‘city’ to coincide with my vehicles (electric) needs. Or I could charge it myself, given I’d have six days to do it.
And I’ll do it, just to piss off BC Hydro. I’d have done it already except my 2000 ride still doesn’t have enough miles (km) on it to warrant a trade in, yet.
Now, you see!! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!
TOOOOO invested. We would ALL do the right thing IF we could afford to do it but capitalism got us here and it is holding us here. Trapped. We are stopped from saving OURSELVES because we have been taught FIRST to save a buck!
Gott in himmel…we are dooooooooomed!
Its interesting that when French people are slaughtered by the dozens at a disco by terrorists the protests are meek and mild with sit-ins and flowers with messages of hope……but when gas taxes are raised to offset carbon emissions all hell breaks loose?
And the irony of the air pollution wreaked by hundreds of cars and dumpster fires as a protest against Global Warming pollution taxes never seems to amaze.
And its usually the balaclava masked anarchists throwing rocks and bbq-ing cars that seem to get all the press.
Well, now its beginning to affect tourism numbers…millions of tourists and billions of dollars.
Lets see how long before Macron if forced to take the gloves off.
Personally Martial Law is too good for anonymous, molotov cocktail tossing, “protesters” using the anarchy as an excuse to smash windows and loot shops with impunity.
Perhaps when the African Swine Flu currently ravaging the entire pig population of China, Africa and parts of eastern Europe jumps into the human species we’ll see “anarchy”…..
Invest in Pork Futures people. The price of bacon is about to skyrocket…..where’s my bbq?
Ahhh yes…..the flexibility of Capitalism….buy pork futures.
Ànd, in that statement, you perfectly grasp the genius and permanence of what is killing us. Some cars die, some shops looted = some insurance sold pork futures up. How do you stop the giant planet killing system when it is an indistructable anoeba?
The anarchy and rage is primal. The elitism and greed is primal. The whole behavioural society operates primaly but oblivious to the destruction of its own environment. Our basic plan is to reproduce like rats and then eat the weak ones for sustenance. Brilliant.
Yes, I caught it. Every time you introduce a new ‘word’ I find myself having to look it up because I respect your erudition. Otherwise I’d just let it slip.
A-m-o-e-b-a. My bad. I get excited.