Brian Czech's response to Louis Proyect's critique

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 19 08:14:29 MST 2002

I thank Louis Proyect for his critique of my book, Shoveling Fuel for a
Runaway Train.  Having been a co-member of at least 2 listservers, I
know Proyect has outstanding insight pertaining to macroeconomics and
political economy.  In fact, I’ll go so far as agreeing with his current
critique until the last few paragraphs.  Two things happen at that
point, however, that compel me to respond:  1) He turns his critique
from Shoveling Fuel to the Carrying Capacity Network, which I have
nothing to do with, and; 2) His critique essentially ends with Part 1 of
Shoveling Fuel!  For people on these lists, Part 2 on the steady state
revolution (especially the class structure thereof) is probably of
greater interest than Part 1.

I’m not sure how or why this happened.  I do think I have irked various
economists and activists by twisting Marx’s famous expropriation
pronouncement to reflect the class structure of the steady state
revolution (  However, the reality I perceive is
this:  The American constitutional, capitalist democracy is in like
Flynn.  Surely it will fall one day, as all have, but not before major
ecological havoc dooms whatever form of political economy comes in its
wake.  I searched for a social movement to “save the planet” that could
function in American democracy, capitalistic as it currently is,
socialistic as it may evolve, and that is what Part 2 is all about.

I hope more of you read it without drawing premature conclusions about
the adequacy of the steady state revolution class structure to effect
real change in consumerism.  A common critique of “skimmers” (and I
don’t mean Proyect, who had no comments at all about Part 2) has been
that, by identifying the upper 1 percentile as the liquidating class and
setting them up for castigation by the steady state class, I have set
the bar way too high.  What they have invariably missed is the section
on trickle-down consumption, not to mention the powerful political
rationale for beginning the steady state revolution with an extremely
skewed consumer class structure.

You can get a better idea of what I’m talking about by reading sample
chapter 6, available at the website.

Brian Czech,
Arlington, VA

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