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41. Is capitalism bad for the environment? (Russell Galt)

February 2024


Capitalism gets a lot of negative press these days, and one of the main arguments against it is the environmental degradation with which it’s associated. But how much is capitalism itself responsible, and how much are people conflating it with associated phenomena? Are the realistic alternatives any better, or should our efforts be focused on reforming this system, which has already done so much for human flourishing?

Russell Galt has many thoughts about the problems with capitalism, but he is also wary of how we go about changing the system. Russell is Head of Policy and Science at Earthwatch Europe, a Partner at the sustainability consultancy, Value-based Work, and Chief Development Officer at Urban Biodiversity Hub. He’s also a friend, upon whom I know I can rely for an honest opinion, and he recently completed an MBA to add to his environmental qualifications. This discussion attempts to touch on various aspects of the arguments for and against capitalism in the context of the environment. The main point is to illustrate the complexities of the issue, rather than to arrive at definitive answers to my questions.

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