merits of this discussion
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 11 12:15:36 MST 2003
Well, I'm going to exceed the "five and out" quota, but...
The issue isn't at all what Marx and Engels indulged in in the German
Ideology-- it's the historical signifcance of the emergence of population
control ideologies at any given moment. You may not like what Brenner has
to say about the origins of capital, but the one thing he did, which we
should all acknowledge and applaud, is to demolish the Malthusian notions of
the decline of feudalism, and locate that history squarely in a class
It has been plainly demonstrated, and not by just Marxists, that the
Malthusian ideologies, besides being based on total pseudo-science, are
nothing but the sales pitch of those who find austerity, gender repression,
maintenance of the ruling order the order of the day. Look at the history
of the practitioners of this pseudo-science, look at what this "ideology,"
and not just German, has meant in India, the US, China, the colonies of the
UK, to minorities, to the colonized, to the unprivileged.
Also look at patterns of population growth and you will find as everyone has
that overall economic development is the best contraceptive available. When
children don't die in infancy or childhood, when their labor isn't required
to support the subsistence of the poor in society, when women have equal,
and protected, status, birth rates decline. So I would hope all those
concerned wtih population growth would jump on the communist development
As I would hope it was made clear in the brief exchange with the moderator--
the issues of overcrowding, population pressure, infection vectors are truly
economic, social issues, informed and determined by the modes of production
and the property relations. And human beings are never going to escape the
risk of infection from other animal populations, particularly when in that
glorious future where we are all reconciled with our environment, we, the
lions, lay down with the lambs-- but, as Louis has pointed out, infections
can be minimized through proper prevention. And human beings are never
going to stop altering their natural environment, what did Marx write
(wasn't it also in the German Ideology?) "You can distinguish man from
animals anyway you like. Man however distinguishes himself from animals
when he creates the means of his own subsistence" (Think that's right, it's
from my memory) -- that's what distinguishes us as human beings-- And that
change too can be mitigated, controlled, mastered, but only by the
collectivity of human beings.
You may argue that not every issue is determined in its finest detail by
capitalist property relations-- and I may or may not agree with you-- but
this issue--- population growth and "carrying capacity" most certainly is.
OK, six and gone.
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