Re: Communist Degrowth

Farans Kalosar

On Sun, Jul 3, 2022 at 12:06 PM, David Walters wrote:

It is a hugely contradictory dynamic since the interests of Imperialism globally is "m-m-m", that is investing money to make more money to accumulate more money or, as we normally call this, speculation. Speculation is anti-development. It doesn't immediately or even intermediately generated revenue (capital) flow. Imperialism wants the fasted return for the least amount of capital invested (stocks, real-estate, options, futures, derivatives more generally). Investing is infrastructure, most notably, in the developing world or underdeveloped world, is a "no-no" of major proportion.

I don't see how anyone can disagree with this. But, as a recent article by Alejandro Pedregal and Juan Bordera in MR states:

A 2016 study already noted that the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia had contributed 61 percent of the historical total accumulation of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to China and India’s combined 13 percent, and Russia’s 7 percent, while the rest of the world accounts for just 15 percent, and shipping and aviation for the remaining 4 percent—a disjuncture that would be even greater if emissions were calculated according to consumption and not just production.17

Inequality is reflected at many other levels as well. Another recent report by Oxfam calculated that the richest 1 percent of the planet has been responsible for emitting as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 3.1 billion people between 1990 and 2015, representing 15 percent of emissions. The richest 10 percent has emitted 52 percent, while the poorest half of the population have barely contributed 7 percent of the total.18 Another report published recently by the same organization calculated that “the world’s richest 1 percent are set to have per capita consumption emissions in 2030 that are still 30 times higher than the global per capita level compatible with the 1.5ºC goal of the Paris Agreement.”

Capitalism,does not seek to close the gap between rich and poor, and there is no sustained intention on the part of the wealthier nations to "raise" the less wealthy to their "higher" standard.  But if that were the project, and the necessary "development" took place on the model seen in the current "advanced" nations, the result would be an even greater ecological catastrophe than is emerging at present--one of unimaginable proportions.  

Isn't this really the irreducible crux of the matter?  Nature sets limits to the resources that can be exploited by human industry at current and foreseeable population levels, and these limits can no longer be ignored because of the ecological disaster that we see emerging everywhere around us.  Such limits have been imagined wrongly in the past, for example, when Malthus wrote circa 1798 that "to give full effect to the natural resources of the country a great part of the population should be swept from the soil."

This was clearly wrong for the end of the eighteenth century when Malthus wrote, and it is wrong now.  Something like this view, indeed, may underlie the murderousl anti-humanism of the current right wing.  What after all is Clarence Thomas's bold program to revoke nearly all the customary legal rights of ordinary citizens but some idea that the "great part" should be "swept from the soil"? But there is very little time left either politically or ecologically, and it is beginning to look as if the time required for the development of socialism simply is not available.


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