Thriller or Filler? This Changes Everything - Capitalism vs the Climate

Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything' is a call for mass direct action from those in the mainstream, writes Jules Peck.

By Naomi Klein and published by Simon & Schuster

The message of Naomi Klein’s book and accompanying film is one of hope for the future. But this future is realisable, claims Klein, if we confront the fact that dealing with climate change requires questioning capitalism. 

This is written for people in the ‘mainstream’ – the kind of people who read PRWeek and perhaps might have read No Logo. And it is an appeal to activists in the wider social justice movement to recognise climate change as a final rallying call for historic progressive and liberation movements.

Klein calls for the use of moral arguments rather than facts, for mass direct action, divestment from carbon intensives, a shift left and a change in cultural values towards community. 

But she mostly skirts around the question of whether we need a Keynesian reform of capitalism or to replace it with something different. 

Klein posits Scandinavian countries as the way forward, despite their carbon-heavy nature and the critiques of social democracy as a doomed compromise. It’s a shame the book does not live up to its title and unpick the social and environmental problems with capitalism, nor explore the exciting alternatives emerging.

The book is eviscerating of everyone. But it paints a positive vision of a collective response to climate change. Despite its popularity, it could be argued that society ignored No Logo. Let’s hope we don’t ignore the message of hope in this book.

Reviewed by Jules Peck, founding member, Jericho Chambers

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