In an extraordinary interview, the world-renowned broadcaster and natural historian, David Attenborough, has said that in order to achieve greater human happiness and to secure an ecologically sustainable future for the world “the excesses of our current Capitalist system must be curbed somehow.“
Speaking to Liz Bonnin on BBC Radio 5 Live’s new podcast ‘What Planet Are We On?‘, the veteran broadcaster declared it was his belief that the current capitalist must be dramatically changed if the human species is to achieve a better world.
Speaking extremely personally and frankly, Attenborough said:
“I think that the standard of living of Western countries is going to have to take pause.”
“I think we are going to have to live more economically than we do. And we can do that. And I believe we will do it more happily – not less happily.”
“And that the excesses that the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow.”
“That doesn’t mean to say that Capitalism is dead I’m not an economist – I don’t know.”
“But ordinary people worldwide are beginning to realise that greed does not lead to joy.“
And, when pushed on whether he believed the problem “all boils down to our economic system prioritising infinite growth“, Attenborough stated:
“Indeed so. Our economic system is based on the profit principle – that you have to come out at the end of the year having made a profit. And the bigger the profit you make, the better it is.”
“And, in the short term that works. But then it ends with disaster.”
“So that you have to, at last, have the wisdom that you can live sustainably. That it is possible that economics could work on a rather different system to one that works on profit.”
The legendary natural historian also went on to state that he believed the natural world would only flourish again “when those that have a great deal, perhaps, have a little less, and those who have very little have a little more.”
You can listen to Attenborough’s comments below:
Attenborough’s comments came during a 10-part BBC podcast released on the 2-year anniversary of the publication of a landmark report on global warming.
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that unless “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” were made, the world would face “climate catastrophe“.
Two years on from the report, little action has been taken across the world, with global emissions rising to a record high in 2019.
Whilst global emissions are expected to fall slightly in 2020, the drastic curtailment in economic activity caused by the ongoing pandemic restrictions – rather than any real reduction in emissions – is believed to be far and away the major causal factor in the drop.