We (or rather we and several succeeding generations are going to live/are
living in a pretty messed up world. But first a word on "solutions."
You can find them in the back of the book, and you don't have to consult
anyone else on whether to accept them or not. You certainly don't have to
mobilize several 10s of millions of fellow humans in an uncertain and often
painful struggle against all the powers that be before you even have the
right to check the answers in the back of the book. It is empty _now_ to say
"the solution is eco-socialism." Probably it is the right answer, but
unfortunately the world is not a 6th grade arithmetic class under the
guidance of a humane teacher.
I remember from my childhood (probably around 1940 give or take a year or
two) a fascinating series in the Sunday comic strip, Prince Valiant. He was
in a castle besieged by barbarians, and the eventual fall of the castle was
certain because supplies (particularly food) would be soon exhausted. The
inhabitants made a free choice between the alternatives of either living as
usual and then dying in a final burst of glory or hoarding their scanty
supplies, eating and drinking the minimum each day, thereby prolonging their
They chose to live it up! They threw an elaborate feast the last day the
supplies lasted, then charge out to their doom.
We need more metaphors for the earth. Spaceship earth is a good one, but it
limits us. What about earth as a besieged castle. It will fall in a century
or two or a few or many millennia. But eventually it will fall and the
barbarian hordes will over-run it. And in this light consider that we
conquer capitalism in the next half century or so and win for our
grandchildren the freedom to choose their own destiny, to make their own
history. (Marx regards the fall of capitalism as the beginning of history.)
Humanity is now free, with some real conception of the available present and
future resources and the ecological threats they face.
Now remember, the _eventual_ fate of _some_ future generation is certain:
death. And not just a particular instant, preceded by life as usual up to
that fatal instant. The sun goes nova in 5 or so billion years. Does your
eco-socialism last up to that very last instant, and we all stand on a hill
in comfort, sipping our martinis, as the nova reaches out for us. Or will
that final doom be preceded by millennia of gradually shrinking resources,
of gradual but unstoppable breakdown of social relations before an
increasing scramble for shrinking resources? Who dares to predict these
We can, I think we must, struggle for freedom, for the destruction of the
wages system; we can, and I think we should, struggle to impose through mass
action more ecologically sound practices on the elites who govern us. But it
is nursery play to make up policies for what a future generation, freed from
the yoke of capital, will do with that freedom.