Letters

People are the solution, not the problem

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Mike McGrath (Feedback, September SR) repeats Malthus’s mistake in asserting that the cause of climate change is the number of people alive.

There is a direct link between increasing greenhouse gas emission and increasing industrial production due to the use of fossil fuels. However it is perfectly possible to decarbonise all production in a completely renewable economy which could support far more people without creating greenhouse gases in significant quantities.

Consumption is the issue

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Martin Empson (“Are there too many people on the planet?” July/August SR) skewers the argument effectively that poor people are to blame for climate change. But avoids the more difficult question, “How many people can the planet sustain?” Our current 7 billion are consuming the planet’s resources faster than they can be replenished: “humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate” (Global Footprint Network, July 2019). That is natural resources that can regenerate.

London dockers

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I agree with Sabby Sagall’s sentiment that the “greater the confidence among workers, the greater the potential for unity against racism” (July/August SR). But his account of the highs and lows of London dockers is wrong in important respects.

As Fred Lindop has clearly shown (in a 2001 article), the main concern of those dockers who demonstrated their racist sentiments in April 1968 was over housing, not employment opportunities (the left has missed a trick in not organising more around housing).

Time for an LGBTQ+ united front

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Bethan Turner’s excellent article (“We don’t do well in times of reaction”, July/August SR) focused on the frightening increase in attacks on LGBTQ+ people and explained how LGBTQ+ rights are being cynically used, for instance by Trump, as a cover for state oppression of Muslims. Bethan ended her article with a call for “unity of the oppressed”.

Still writing the lives of the English poor

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In his review of Writing the Lives of the English Poor, 1750s-1830s (June SR) Martin Empson mentions the difficulties people face today in getting the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

I applied for PIP a while ago. They asked me to go along for an interview. When I got there they said, “If you can get yourself over here you don’t need it.”

So that was the end of that.

Will Counsel
Peterborough

An important analysis of modern Germany

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Ian Taylor seems to have reviewed a book that he wished someone had written about Germany (Reviews, May SR). Unfortunately I think he dismisses too lightly the book Oliver Nachtwey actually wrote.

To expect a book about the German economy in the present day to contain a critique of the German Revolution and the Nazi period is rather a stretch.

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