Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Nov 9 13:58:56 MST 1999

>Maybe there's a chance in discussing the oil-question to get a bit deeper
>into how capitals inner contradictions are beginning to work out to the
>surface.  Clealy can't separate that from things like Balkans and Chechnya.
>Al W

Mark Jones might be inspired to comment on this. He is more expert on oil,
global warming, and the looming implosion of the world capitalist system
than anybody I know. Here is the last item he posted here of some relevance:


Ed, to be honest I no longer even have the url. A similar debate has started
on Lou Proyect's Marxism list. It is a rehash of debates we have had before.
Some people are quite sure that global warming is a fiction, a scare, and
there is no evidence of climate change, increased fequency of intense events
like hurricans etc: and they trot out the same tired old critiques including
the sad refrain that 'in the 1970s they talked of a new ice age, now they
frighten us with global warming.'

The facts are in, however, and they are indisputable. I don't propose to
recycle the old debates which thoroughly discredited people like James
Heartfield, who took the Julian Simon crazed-optimist line. The fact is that
we are indeed, geologically speaking, at the end of an interglacial, and
therefore a new Ice Age is indeed a probability bordering on a certainty,
EXCEPT THAT anthropogenic release of fossil carbon is returning climate to a
carbon-richness approproate to an earlier stage of planetary evolution,
before complex life forms appeared in fact, and this has skewed the whole
equation: but human-induced global warming (and related anthropogenic
biospheric impacts including the dislocation of DNA-based, non-teleological
evolutionary pathways) are more serious in their implications even than a
new ice age, which humanity and life in general could easily survive in
fact. Warming may abort the Ice Age but also destroy the planetary eco

But I don't have time right now to get into this, so I may just recycle some
other old postings. Apparently, I won't be alone in doing that however.

Funnily enough, ther exact same debate, with the usual pointless acrimony,
has also once again broken out on Chris Chase-Dunn's World System Net. These
debate recycle like the monsoon. The only certainty is this: the Industrial
Revolution (IR), which began in England 250 years ago, replaced the
Neolithic paradigm of the so-called advanced organic societies (which had
exhausted itself) with what is the third known revolution in human
systems/energetics (in evolutionary terms, the Neolothis paradigm, which
introduced agriculture, replaced the Paleolithic paradigm which posited the
totall immersion of humankind into the natural order, as a subset). The
drawdown of fossil fuel reserves which the IR launched, enabled the human
lifeworld to breakout of the Neolithic Iron-Age impasse; but the failure to
find substitutes for irreplaceable fossil fuels, in particular petroleum,
has ushered humankind into a new and even more threatening impasse; and the
simultaneous release of fossilised carbopn threatens the ecosystems of which
we are a subset, at the same time that we face the exhaustion of the fossil
carbon energy paradigm.

This means that we are into an age of transition (and have been since at
least 1973, as Robert Brenner pointed out in his famous NLR piece) which
will occupy most of the next century and which is bound to take the form of
a transition from an energy-rich, climatically-stable to an energy-poor,
climatically-unstable social enivornment, and MOST CRUCIALLY, one ine which
capital is no longer able to valorise (because accumulation has historically
depended centrally upon falling energy input costs).


Louis Proyect

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