Hugo Chavez vs Prince Charles

Which remarks were uttered by the heir to the British throne – and which were delivered by Venezuela’s late president?

Following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this week, RespondingtoClimateChange.org posted a video recording – as well as a transcript – of Chavez’s 15-minute “tirade” at the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009.

In July 2009, Prince Charles presented the annual Richard Dimbleby lecture.

Two well-known men. Two speeches delivered within six months of each other. Below are pairs of statements – one uttered by Chavez, the other by Prince Charles. Can you guess who said which?

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  • “Current human activity exceeds the threshold of sustainability, endangering life on the planet”
  • “the sustainability of the entire harmonious system is collapsing”

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  • “reduce global material consumption…Consume less”
  • “our consumerist society comes at an enormous cost to the Earth and we must face up to the fact that the Earth cannot afford to support it”

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  • “wherever you care to look our industrial economic model is operating on the same damaging, diminishing return”
  • “Capitalism is a destructive development model”

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  • “Why do we tip the balance of the Earth’s delicate systems with yet more destruction”
  • “the world continues its destructive march”

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  • “We cannot continue like this…Let’s change course”
  • “carrying on as we are will lead to a depleted and divided planet”

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  • “let’s not wait idly by for the death of humanity”
  • “if we fail the Earth, we fail Humanity.”

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  • “let’s stop environmental degradation and avoid the great catastrophe of climate change”
  • “Defeat in this instance, Ladies and Gentlemen, would be catastrophic.”

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To see Chavez’s remarks colour-coded in red click here.

Despite the fact that recent decades have been An Amazing Global Success Story in terms of improved human health and wealth, both of these men believe the prevailing economic system should be swept away.

Prince Charles insists that our current economic model has “enormous shortcomings” – without acknowledging that every economic model has shortcomings. Surely the critical issue is: Which model has a demonstrated track record of improving the lives of millions of people – and which models have a track record of murder and misery?

It is Chavez who declares outright that: “Capitalism is the road to hell, to the destruction of the world.” But at the end of the day, there’s little meaningful difference between his views and Prince Charles’ repeated denunciations of “our rush to pursue unlimited economic growth and material wealth.”

None of this is meant to suggest that, if Prince Charles were in charge, he’d be anything like the tyrant Chavez was. But it’s worth reflecting on the fact that, based on the contents of these two speeches, these men share a virtually identical worldview.

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Prince Charles’ speech is backed up here

Chavez’s remarks are backed up here

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see also:
Is Everything Really Getting Worse?

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