Spend Now, Pay Later?
by Elijah Pryor
Sat 18th Jan 2014
Climate change is happening, all over the world, not just in certain locations.The potentially grim future ahead of us will most certainly have to be undermined by a huge economic stimulant. We must consider paying a huge price and considering the payback of the debt later on.
You may argue; "but this is the same strategy that created the economic crisis in 2008."
You are true in arguing this point, "Spend now, Pay later" is quite often the worst way to achieve economic stability - this idea is at the heart of Keynesian economics. By injecting huge amounts of public cash into the economy and reducing the cost of living for consumers, somehow all consumers are expected to spend those savings on consumer products - to jump start the economy. Faulty thinking indeed.
But consider this, there are worthwhile investments that foster the concept of "Spend now, Pay later" - University education: whilst you may argue that spending millions on public services is wrong, why not argue that individuals spending thousands on education is wrong as well?
Both acts require the creation of more debt (unless you are wealthy enough to afford to pay for the entirety of university education) and both require the notion of "Spend now, Pay later". Although, I do hope that the financial incentives behind education are removed, it is important to acknowledge the degree to which it exists in our neoliberal world.
Because education is a long term investment - not just in economic terms, but in social terms. It enlightens and it improves the lives of others. Just as investment in ecological protection does.
In fact you may wish to ponder that instant gratification, in terms of consumer products, in the market is in fact promoted by the neoliberal agenda: increasing the amount of money that banks are able to invest and loan out and reducing the level of bank reserves, is similar to the words of Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom.
The point is that "spend now, pay later" has very different outcomes depending on what it is applied to: climate change is certainly an important occurrence that requires the motive discussed; whereas the need for instant gratification in purchasing a new commodity may not be such an important one.
We are required to "spend now, pay later" with climate change, so that we can survive ecological destruction to be able to "pay later". Debt may be enhanced through mass investment into ecological protection and carbon neutralising, but is it a worthwhile debt to gather?
Put it this way, if we don't have an earth, there will be no paybacks; if we invest now, we not only save the human race and other animals from extinction, we save the ability of bankers to carry on gaining interest from loans.
The fact is that preventing Increasingly Progressive Climate Change is not a question of whether or not your a lefty or righty or anarchist - it is a question of whether you want life on earth in years to come?