chips

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed Aug 13 14:40:31 MDT 2003


>> comrades' assertions that technology will {ultimately, simply, ...}
solve our oil/energy/water problems strikes me more as a nice fairy tale,
but one I myself once believed when I first went into engineering in
college.<<

Well Les, if you thought what I was saying was that *technology* in and of
itself, or mostly technology, would solve any of these problems you either
misread my message or I didn't express myself very clearly. And I think
clearly in context Paddy saying it was an "economic" problem was driving at
the same thing.

I believe these are precisely political problems, the technology is there or
can soon be, the problem is the profit system.


Response Jim C: I believe that Marx was correct in finding that among the
most fundamental--and defining--of the contradictions of capitalism, shaping
the vicissitudes, trends, trajectories and other derivative contradictions
of capitalism itself is the widening and deepening contradiction between the
fundamental relations of production versus further development of the forces
of production of capitalism.

Crises associated with availablility, scarcity, quality, rates of
exhaustion, non-sustainable uses, distributions and clearly
wasteful/irrational uses of various forms of "resources" appear, at the
surface at which bourgeois ideology operates, to be crises due to lack of
effective technology all potentially manageable with emerging or potential
technologies. Below that surface, the real causes can be found in the
fundamental and defining relations of production, systemic imperatives for
expanded reproduction of those relations of production and the whole system
itself and the mandated "acceptable" values, behaviors, institutions,
traditions, myths, practices, etc that constitute elements of the "social
capital" of capitalism and capitalist relations.

In my classes, when I start out with the notion of "scarcity" ("wants/needs"
> available resources necessary to satisfy those "wants and needs" and the
supposed "raison d'etre" of economics) when I ask what derivative
imperatives might flow from the fundamental "reality" of scarcity and
"wanst/needs" being far in excess of available resources to satisfy them I
usually get something like:

Scarcity ---> Competition--and/or Cooperation
Scarcity ---> Imperative for "Efficiency"
Efficiency ---> Imperatives for Divisions of Labor and Specialization

But rarely do I get someone saying:

Scarcity--->:
Serious examination of real "nature" and consequences of given "Wants/Needs"
Whose "wants and needs"?
Distributions of critical resources?
Short and long-term conseuqneces of certain wants/needs being met for
certain segments of the population and not for others?
Consequences of a system creating irrational wants and then turning them
into "needs"?
Etc.

Jim C.




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