This is from the Minqi Li article in MR that I linked to a few days ago:

"...even if many of the proposed highly efficient energy technologies using renewables become available right away, their application will be delayed by the inherent obstacles to technological diffusion in the capitalist system. In an economic system based on production for profit, a new technology is "intellectual property." People or countries that cannot afford to pay are denied access. Even today hundreds of millions of people in the world have no access to electricity. How many decades would it take before they start to have access to solar-powered electric cars?

"Moreover, unlike consumer novelties such as cell phones or lap tops, which can be readily manufactured by the existing industrial system, the de-carbonization of the world's energy system requires fundamental transformation of the world's economic infrastructure. This basically means that the pace of de-carbonization, even under the most ideal conditions, cannot really be faster than the rate of depreciation of long-lasting fixed assets...

"From a purely technical point of view, the most simple and straightforward solution to the crisis of climate change is immediately to stop all economic growth and start to downsize world material consumption in an orderly manner until the greenhouse gases emissions fall to reasonable levels. This can obviously be accomplished with the existing technology. If all the current and potentially available de-carbonization technologies are introduced to all parts of the world as rapidly as possible, the world should still have the material production capacity to meet the basic needs of the entire world's population even with a much smaller world economy...

"However, under a capitalist system, so long as the means of production and surplus value are owned by the capitalists, there are both incentives and pressures for the capitalists to use a substantial portion of the surplus value for capital accumulation. Unless surplus value is placed under social control, there is no way for capital accumulation (and therefore economic growth) not to take place. Moreover, given the enormous inequality in income and wealth distribution under capitalism, how could a global capitalist economy manage an orderly downsizing while meeting the basic needs of billions of people? Economic growth is indispensable for capitalism to alleviate its inherent social contradictions."


On Fri, Aug 1, 2008 at 11:55 PM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Perhaps this is potential good news.