A cloud of pollution [caused by capitalism] hangs over the Eastern United States...
"A cloud of pollution [caused by capitalism] hangs over the Eastern United States..." NASA

In 2012, Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil's CEO, and Trump's pick for the next Secretary of State, admitted to the Council of Foreign Relations that climate change is a real thing (or, to use the language of Timothy Morton, a hyperobject) and caused by human activities—particularly the burning of fossil fuels (Tillerson’s bread and butter). But this situation wasn't really a problem, according to his way of thinking about the thing (the hyperobject, which is now out of our control), because we, as humans, can easily adapt to changing environments. Humans live in the desert, in the Arctic circle, the jungle, you name it. Whatever the earth throws at us, we can take it.

“As human beings, as a—as a—as a species,” Tillerson said philosophically, “...We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around—we'll adapt to that. It's an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don't—the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.”

In short, it's fine for Tillerson to destroy the world because we, the public, can repair or make do with it. Sadly, this kind of thinking is not exceptional. It is indeed how capitalism has always worked. A few claim the profits but everyone else must pay the actual costs of those profits. Capitalism ain't cheap. Tillerson's prerogative to make billions—“My philosophy is to make money. If I can drill and make money, then that's what I want to do”—will cost the public trillions. We are going into the darkest times imaginable.


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