A 'green' capitalism?

Barry Stoller bstoller at SPAMutopia2000.org
Sun Mar 25 20:07:00 MST 2001

Brian James:

> I'm not hostile towards ecology (it's a science after all), only certain political
>forms of it. Namely: petty bourgeois reformism, eco-imperialism, "deep ecology."
>Unfortunately, most people on the left don't seem to know the difference and embrace
>all environmentalism as progressive simply because it goes against *some* interests
>within the establishment.

Taking this idea further, let's ask the Greens to consider their
position towards capitalism IF capitalism eventually figured out a way
to stop polluting and sucking up all the planet's resources.

What if, say, something like the Stirling engine solved all the usual
ecological concerns. Wouldn't capitalism STILL be capitalism, i.e. a set
of social relations that forces a majority of people to sell their labor
at terms set by those who monopolize the means of production---not to
mention in the interests of producing things they may or may not give a
damn about?

One credible view of the future is that capitalism, interested in its
perpetuation and controlling almost all intellectual labor in the world,
will develop technologies which result in a substantial reduction of
pollution and / or alternative energies---and, these technologies being
expensive as most new technologies inevitably are, they will become the
new methods in which to dominate underdeveloped nations, 'ecological
chauvinism' as it were, and these new technologies will give capitalists
something new to sell to other capitalists all over the world when
workers can no longer keep the 'global economy' afloat.

We all shall share a cleaner planet---and that's great---but capitalism
will stay as powerful as ever, thanks in part TO the planet being
cleaner. That capitalists (other than the usual predictable interests in
particular industries) would embrace a Green technology shouldn't come
as a surprise. There is no particular reason they would want to exploit
the air, soil and water; all they REALLY want, all they REALLY need, is
the ability to exploit labor.

(Recall that capitalism was 'green,' or pretty close, in the era of Adam
Smith; indentured servants, slaves, dispossessed peasants and oppressed
colonial subjects.)

Barry Stoller

More information about the Marxism mailing list