"Second contradiction" of capital and green politics
kbevans at panix.com
Thu Apr 25 06:32:16 MDT 1996
It has been said that the bankruptcy laws of the U.S. are a large
structural boon to capitalism here. What Mr. Project is talking about
reveals the fundamental "bankruptcy" function inherent in capitalism. The
conservatives who talk about "personal responsibility" forward a system that
is fundamentally and ruthlessly hostile to that concept.
The environmental movement is the desire of the proletariat to TAKE
ON personal responsibility for the consequences of their commerce. Naturally,
the bourgeoisie cannot comprehend this and demand a state (and therefore
proletariat-funded) intervention. I believe that the socialist can conceive
of capital ownership with total personal responsibility,liability and the
bankruptcy protection. To endure the risk of this kind of ownership, the
socialist cannot turn to the insulation of wealth or privilege, and
must create a mechanism for more public assumption of the risk inherent in
In the specific case of the small agriculturalist, the temptation
is to create a public safety net around private industry sufficiently
small that it may be considered a one-family "syndicat". The problem is
that this reverses the desired relationship of capital (the land) to
worker and consumer of product. Socialism contends that the capital
should benefit the consumer first, and, then the controller of that
capital, through social relation. Propping up small syndicats isolates
their capital from the market by the mechanism of reform, creates a logic
where the worker on the land designs his political and economic activity
to benefit himself first. This is because his first relationship is with
the state reformer rather than the consumer. Because he has no rational
basis by which to compare his use of capital to other uses of capital, he
quickly becomes over-capitalized and inefficient. He views public efforts
to reform his production as artificial, state intrusions. The state plays
the role that the consumer should play and, instead of producing goods,
the farmer first produces politics as his first, logical option to derive
more benefit from his capital. This is the case with most farmers, and
most capitalists (capitalists are isolated by wealth and legal protection
>from the true economic reality of their actions).
It is axiomatic that industry should provide more with less labor.
Therefore the consumer must have logical control of capital. This may
presuppose the market, but it does not then conclude in the capitalist.
Capitalist ownership is a legal construct. Corporate ownership is the
highest *capitalistic* form of that construct. Substituting the worker as
shareholder (or partner) begins the process of moving responsibility to
the worker while maintaining the consumer as ultimate arbitrator of the
value of any single productive unit. The worker and citizen should be
made to bear personal responsibility for the side-effects of his industry.
The industrial proletariat is eager for this responsibility, the farmer,
rancher and logger are really not.
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