John Bogil

I try to do things that help people, mostly with software.

Some things I'm proud of:

Voices
Political-tech startup

Bold CBT
Mental health startup

Blog

I enjoy writing

It’s wrong to blame consumers for the climate crisis.

I spoke with someone recently who thinks that consumers are to blame for the climate crisis. Their argument is that consumers should bear responsibility for the crisis because consumers are demanding fossil fuels for their cars, homes, etc.

The problem with this view is that the average consumer has very little power compared to the power of the average fossil fuel company. This power imbalance puts the responsibility for the crisis on the fossil fuel company because responsibility is proportional to power. Simply put: “with great power, comes great responsibility”.

Heres an example of that power imbalance in action: consumers aren’t actually “demanding” fossil fuels. Consumers use fossil fuels because they don’t have the power or resources to choose alternative energy sources. Whereas the fossil fuel company has the power and resources to bribe elected officials who then implement subsidies that keep fuel prices affordable. This traps the consumer in a relationship where they have to purchase fossil fuels in order to commute to work or heat their home. The average consumer does not have the power to resist this trap when their primary focus is paying rent and putting food on the table.

It’s immoral to criticize people for doing what they have to do in order to survive, particularly when they’re in a relationship with significantly less power than the other party.

Capitalism is inefficient

Capitalism is inefficient because it incentivizes production in pursuit of private profits instead of incentivizing production that serves human needs.

Serving human needs is the right goal because humans have a right to life. Private profits is the wrong goal because it is less likely to ensure a right to life.

ExxonMobil is an example of private profits incentivizing production that does not promote a right to life. ExxonMobil has been rewarded for production that threatens all life on Earth.

The solution to serving human needs is to incentivize production that serves human needs. Democracy is the tool for this. Production that is managed democratically can serve human needs better than production that incentivizes private profits.