Climate Change as a Challenge to the Legitimacy of Advanced Capitalist Democracies
Because the capitalist system is based on overproduction, over advertising, and overselling of products, the amount of energy needed to produce and fuel the high-tech products has polluted the air and the water and the soil. However, those nations, like the USA and China, which have coal, oil, and natural gas, are finding it difficult to convert to alternative, nonpolluting energy sources, such as solar and wind and tidal power. We need to cut back our mass production economies but people want the high tech toys, such as cars, TVs, computers, smart phones, fashions and all the rest. Democracy could lose its legitimacy if the advanced capitalist core cannot convert to nonpolluting energy sources. Germany and Scandinavia are leading the way in this regard, while the USA, under Trump and the Republicans, is setting a negative example. Democracy will remain legitimate only if the younger generation of voters forces energy and climate policies on the older generation. Dictatorships, such as China and Russia are not doing any better than the Western Democracies. There is hope: solar, wind, and waterpower are being rapidly developed and improved. Finally, the high-tech toys do not bring us happiness – even though we can't live without them – and, they could bring us to the cusp of extinction as a species.