5) A WORLD IN PAIN: THERE IS A CURE (People's Voice Editorial)

          As we enter the final weeks of 2018, there are many reasons to worry about the future of our planet: unchecked climate change, violent armed conflicts, massive poverty and hunger, economic inequality, and the growth of bigoted far-right movements are all causes for deep concern. If humanity descends into the nightmare of fascist barbarism, any hope of a liveable world for our children and grandchildren may slip away.

                It's true that tackling these multiple crises will be complicated and very expensive. But the "easier and cheaper" do-nothing alternative simply guarantees that the     situation will become far worse within our own lifetimes.

           

                Fortunately, the material base for action to avoid disaster is right in front of our eyes. Yes, transitioning to a global economy based on meeting human needs and dramatically reducing fossil fuel emissions is a daunting challenge. But the difficulty is primarily a lack of political will, not a shortage of capacity. At this moment of history, so-called "defence" spending has topped the trillion dollar mark, largely in the annual US military budget. For some reason, most progressive movements in North America - environmental campaigners, trade unions, anti-poverty groups - tend to ignore this elephant in the room. But the facts are clear. The United Nations estimates that global hunger could be eliminated for $265 billion per year. The annual cost of mitigating climate change is more difficult to calculate, but appears to be in the range of $300 billion. In both cases, such investments would bring huge long-term economic benefits.

 

                In simple terms, humanity has the resources for survival, if we make a conscious choice to end the catastrophic waste of the arms race. That won't happen until movements that care about the future begin to speak out strongly against militarism and war.

 

(The above article article is from the December 1-31, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)