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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  November 2009

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE November 2009

Subject:

Re: The Paradox of Wealth: Capitalism and Ecological Destruction

From:

mart <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 3 Nov 2009 11:44:13 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (132 lines)

that is interesting history, some of which i know.   however, another paradox beyond the one of essentially trying to make the only thing of interest to be capitalized (exchangeable) commodities is exhibited by the fact this critique was delivered as a talk in china and in london.  That is why capitalism is so successful.  (its reminiscent of people who criticize the 'stimulant economy' (eg alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, dope) as essentially unnecesary  but often do it under the influence.  (the solution would be the indienous one---ritualize it, and get rid of the profit motive leading to alienation and abuse). 

interesting on the scienceblog.com called gnxp (gene expression) there is a discussion of a recent Science paper co-auythored by Bowles (a fairly ex-radical economist---he's now mostly apolitical)  which shows the transitions among kinds of social strucutres and how that effects distribution and heritability of wealth.  (its what you'd expect mostly---hunter-gatherers don't create dynasties).   the writer of that blog notes however some of the social democratic countries (eg sweden) seem to be moving back to the earlier forms which refused to permit material (commodified) capital dominate social life.

--- On Mon, 11/2/09, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: The Paradox of Wealth: Capitalism and Ecological Destruction
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Monday, November 2, 2009, 11:11 PM
> Monthly Review
> November 2009
> 
> The Paradox of Wealth: Capitalism and Ecological
> Destruction
> 
> John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark
> 
> The core argument on the
> paradox of wealth here was first introduced
> in a paper by both authors, entitled “Marx’s Ecology in
> the
> Twenty-First Century,” presented by Clark at the
> International
> Symposium on Ecological Civilization, Sanya, Hainan, China,
> June 23,
> 2009. Subsequent versions were delivered by Foster at the
> Marxism 2009
> conference, University of London, July 4, 2009, and the
> Political
> Economy of the World-System Miniconference, University of
> San
> Francisco, August 7, 2009.
> 
> Today orthodox economics is reputedly being harnessed to
> an entirely
> new end: saving the planet from the ecological destruction
> wrought by
> capitalist expansion. It promises to accomplish this
> through the
> further expansion of capitalism itself, cleared of its
> excesses and
> excrescences. A growing army of self-styled “sustainable
> developers”
> argues that there is no contradiction between the unlimited
> accumulation of capital — the credo of economic
> liberalism from Adam
> Smith to the present — and the preservation of the earth.
> The system
> can continue to expand by creating a new “sustainable
> capitalism,”
> bringing the efficiency of the market to bear on nature and
> its
> reproduction. In reality, these visions amount to little
> more than a
> renewed strategy for profiting on planetary
> destruction.
> Behind this tragedy-cum-farce is a distorted accounting
> deeply
> rooted in the workings of the system that sees wealth
> entirely in terms
> of value generated through exchange. In such a system, only
> commodities
> for sale on the market really count. External nature —
> water, air,
> living species — outside this system of exchange is
> viewed as a “free
> gift.” Once such blinders have been put on, it is
> possible to speak, as
> the leading U.S. climate economist William Nordhaus has, of
> the
> relatively unhindered growth of the economy a century or so
> from now,
> under conditions of business as usual — despite the fact
> that leading
> climate scientists see following the identical path over
> the same time
> span as absolutely catastrophic both for human civilization
> and life on
> the planet as a whole.1
> Such widely disparate predictions from mainstream
> economists and
> natural scientists are due to the fact that, in the normal
> reckoning of
> the capitalist system, both nature’s contribution to
> wealth and the
> destruction of natural conditions are largely invisible.
> Insulated in
> their cocoon, orthodox economists either implicitly deny
> the existence
> of nature altogether or assume that it can be completely
> subordinated
> to narrow, acquisitive ends.
> This fatal flaw of received economics can be traced back
> to its
> conceptual foundations. The rise of neoclassical economics
> in the late
> nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is commonly
> associated with
> the rejection of the labor theory of value of classical
> political
> economy and its replacement by notions of marginal
> utility/productivity. What is seldom recognized, however,
> is that
> another critical perspective was abandoned at the same
> time: the
> distinction between wealth and value (use value and
> exchange value).
> With this was lost the possibility of a broader ecological
> and social
> conception of wealth. These blinders of orthodox economics,
> shutting
> out the larger natural and human world, were challenged by
> figures
> inhabiting what John Maynard Keynes called the
> “underworlds” of
> economics. This included critics such as James Maitland
> (Earl of
> Lauderdale), Karl Marx, Henry George, Thorstein Veblen, and
> Frederick
> Soddy. Today, in a time of unlimited environmental
> destruction, such
> heterodox views are having a comeback.2Full:
> http://monthlyreview.org/091101foster-clark.php
> 
> 
> 
> 


      

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