Thank you. Things are really starting to make sense now. Whenever I try to copy and paste the card, it doesn't show the highlighted parts, sorry. I don't know how to attach files, but here is the card anyways:
Neoliberalism guarantees extinction and social crisis – the judge has an intellectual obligation to evaluate the social relations that underpin the plan prior to evaluating the outcome of the policy – vote negative because the system the aff partakes in is fundamentally unethicalMolisa, Philosophy PhD, 14
(Pala Basil Mera, “Accounting For Apocalypse Re-Thinking Social Accounting Theory And Practice For Our Time Of Social Crises And Ecological Collapse,” http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10063/3686/thesis.pdf?sequence=2)
Ecologically too, the situation is dire. Of the many measures of ecological well-being – topsoil loss, groundwater depletion, chemical contamination, increased toxicity levels in human beings, the number and size of “dead zones” in the Earth’s oceans, and the accelerating rate of species extinction and loss of biodiversity – the increasing evidence suggests that the developmental trajectory of the dominant economic culture necessarily causes the mass extermination of non-human communities, the systemic destruction and disruption of natural habitats, and could ultimately cause catastrophic destruction of the biosphere. The latest Global Environmental Outlook Report published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the GEO-5 report, makes for sobering reading. As in earlier reports, the global trends portrayed are of continuing human population growth, expanding economic growth,6 and as a consequence severe forms of ecological degradation (UNEP, 2012; see also, UNEP, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2007). The ecological reality described is of ecological drawdown (deforestation, over-fishing, water extraction, etc.) (UNEP, 2012, pp. 72, 68, 84, 102-106, ); increasing toxicity of the environment through chemical and waste pollution, with severe harm caused to human and non-human communities alike (pp. 173- 179); systematic habitat destruction (pp. 8, 68-84) and climate change (33-60), which have decimated the number of species on Earth, threatening many with outright extinction (pp. 139-158). The most serious ecological threat on a global scale is climate disruption, caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, other industrial activities, and land destruction (UNEP, 2012, p. 32). The GEO-5 report states that “[d]espite attempts to develop low-carbon economies in a number of countries, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to increase to levels likely to push global temperatures beyond the internationally agreed limit of 2° C above the pre-industrial average temperature” (UNEP, 2012, p. 32). Concentrations of atmospheric methane have more than doubled from preindustrial levels, reaching approximately 1826 ppb in 2012; the scientific consensus is that this increase is very likely due predominantly to agriculture and fossil fuel use (IPCC, 2007). Scientists warn that the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing catastrophic “tipping points” that will be marked by mass extinctions and unpredictable changes on a scale unseen since the glaciers retreated twelve thousand years ago (Pappas, 2012). Twenty-two eminent scientists warned recently in the journal, Nature, that humans are likely to have triggered a planetary-scale critical transition “with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience”, which means that “the biological resources we take for granted at present may be subject to rapid and unpredictable transformations within a few human generations” (Barnofsky et al., 2012). This means that human beings are in serious trouble, not only in the future, but right now. The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide concentration was about 280 parts per million (ppm). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates concentrations could reach between 541 and 970 ppm by the year 2100. However, many climate scientists consider that levels should be kept below 350 ppm in order to avoid “irreversible catastrophic effects” (Hansen et al., 2008). “Catastrophic warming of the earth” would mean a planet that is too hot for life – that is, any life, and all life (Mrasek, 2008). We need to analyze the above information and ask the simple questions: what does it signify and where will it lead? In terms of the social crises of inequalities, the pattern of human development suggests clearly that although capitalism is capable of raising the economic productivity of many countries as well as international trade, it also produces social injustices on a global scale. The trajectory of capitalist economic development that people appear locked into is of perpetual growth that also produces significant human and social suffering. In terms of the ecological situation, the mounting evidence from reports, such as those published by UNEP, suggest that a full-scale ecocide will eventuate and that a global holocaust is in progress which is socially pathological and biocidal in its scope (UNEP, 2012; see also, UNEP, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2007). Assuming the trends do not change, the endpoint of this trajectory of perpetual economic growth, ecological degradation, systemic pollution, mass species extinction and runaway climate change, which human beings appear locked into, will be climate apocalypse and complete biotic collapse. Given the serious and life-threatening implications of these social and ecological crises outlined above, it would be reasonable to expect they should be central to academic concerns, particularly given the responsibilities of academics as intellectuals. As the people whom society subsidizes to carry out intellectual work,7 the primary task of academics is to carry out research that might enable people to deepen their understanding of how the world operates, ideally towards the goal of shaping a world that is more consistent with moral and political principles, and the collective self-interest (Jensen, 2013, p. 43). Given that most people’s stated philosophical and theological systems are rooted in concepts of justice, equality and the inherent dignity of all people (Jensen, 2007, p. 30), intellectuals have a particular responsibility to call attention to those social patterns of inequality which appear to be violations of such principles, and to call attention to the destructive ecological patterns that threaten individual and collective well-being. As a “critic and conscience of society,” 8 one task of intellectuals is to identify issues that people should all pay attention to, even when – indeed, especially when – people would rather ignore the issues (Jensen, 2013, p. 5). In view of this, intellectuals today should be focusing attention on the hard-to-face realities of an unjust and unsustainable world. Moreover, intellectuals in a democratic society, as its “critic and conscience”, should serve as sources of independent and critical information, analyses and varied opinions, in an endeavour to provide a meaningful role in the formation of public policy (Jensen, 2013c). In order to fulfil this obligation as “critic and conscience,” intellectuals need to be willing to critique not only particular people, organizations, and policies, but also the systems from which they emerge. In other words, intellectuals have to be willing to engage in radical critique. Generally, the term “radical” tends to suggest images of extremes, danger, violence, and people eager to tear things down (Jensen, 2007, p. 29). Radical, however, has a more classical meaning. It comes from the Latin –radix, meaning “root.” Radical critique in this light means critique or analysis that gets to the root of the problem. Given that the patterns of social inequality and ecocidal destruction outlined above are not the product of a vacuum, but instead are the product of social systems, radical critique simply means forms of social analysis, which are not only concerned about these social and ecological injustices but also trace them to the social systems from which they emerged, which would subject these very systems to searching critiques. Such searching critique is challenging because, generally, the dominant groups which tend to subsidize intellectuals (universities, think tanks, government, corporations) are the key agents of the social systems that produce inequalities and destroy ecosystems (Jensen, 2013, p. 12). The more intellectuals choose not only to identify patterns but also highlight the pathological systems from which they emerge, the greater the tension with whoever “pay the bills” (ibid.). However, this may arguably be unavoidable today, given that the realities of social inequality and ecological catastrophe show clearly that our social systems are already in crisis, are pathological, and in need of radical change.9 To adopt a radical position, in this light, is not to suggest that we simply need to abolish capitalism, or to imply that if we did so all our problems would be solved. For one thing, such an abstract argument has little operational purchase in terms of specifying how to go about struggling for change. For another thing, as this thesis will discuss, capitalism is not the only social system that we ought to be interrogating as an important systemic driver of social and ecological crises. Moreover, to adopt a radical position does not mean that we have any viable “answers” or “solutions” in terms of the alternative institutions, organizations and social systems that we could replace the existing ones with. There is currently no alternative to capitalism that appears to be viable, particularly given the historical loss of credibility that Marxism and socialism has suffered. As history has shown, some of the self-proclaimed socialist and communist regimes have had their own fair share of human rights abuses and environmental disasters, and the global left has thus far not been able to articulate alternatives that have managed to capture the allegiances of the mainstream population. Furthermore, given the depth, complexity, and scale of contemporary social and ecological crises, I am not sure if there are any viable alternatives or, for that matter, any guarantees that we can actually prevent and change the disastrous course of contemporary society. I certainly do not have any solutions. What I would argue, however, is that if we are to have any chance of not only ameliorating but also substantively addressing these social and ecological problems, before we can talk about alternatives or potential “solutions”, we first need to develop a clear understanding of the problems. And, as argued above, this involves, amongst other things, exploring why and how the existing social systems under which we live are producing the patterns of social inequality and ecological unsustainability that make up our realities today.10 To adopt a radical stance, in this light, is simply to insist that we have an obligation to honestly confront our social and ecological predicament and to ask difficult questions about the role that existing social systems might be playing in producing and exacerbating them.