This thought-provoking FT Leader heralds the demise of technocracy in the face of harder economic times. It has, as all things thought-provoking should, got us thinking.
The elite that the FT Leader argues is now feeling the heat of populist indignation under its feet has been at the forefront of arguing for action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence from the science and economics of climate change is on their side. But climate policy threatens to harm many people’s already hard-pressed interests.
‘The people are complaining loudly’ argues the FT. ‘Elites must both listen and respond.’
There are at least two ways in which this might play out for climate change. First, the implementation of technocratically defensible climate objectives may become tougher and tougher as people rail against wider hardships and the impositions of elites.
Second – and highlighted brilliantly by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times – rather than becoming embroiled in denialism, climate progress might simply be trampled underfoot as people scramble around more immediate concerns or be drowned out by the surround sound of populism.
Either way, the climatocracy that has emerged in recent years may be under threat if, as the FT suggests, people in moribund economies look to assert their will and bring down incumbents.