[Marxism] Forwarded from Jurriaan

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 21 13:30:23 MST 2004


Jurriaan wrote:
>In his book Population and Development, Frank Furedi argues that Western
>anxieties about population growth say more about the cultural pessimism of
>the Western elites, than showing a real concern with socio-economic
>development of poor countries. He suggests that blaming poverty on
>"excessive population growth" leads to a pragmatic, manipulative approach to
>development issues which in reality marginalises the goals of development,
>by imposing arbitrary limits on what people can achieve in advance.

One supposes that Frank wrote this book at a time when he was still some 
kind of Marxist. However, the whole business of "imposing arbitrary limits 
on what people can achieve in advance" means something entirely different 
for him nowadays. It has no connection to socialism and scientific 
planning. It is merely a call for more hydroelectric dams, more genetically 
modified crops, more nuclear power plants, etc. With all of these wonderful 
advances of the kind that I used to see in high school documentaries in the 
1950s (Ronald Reagan shilling for GE, "progress is our most important 
product"), we can have a trillion people on the planet living in abundance. 
That's why Frank was so anxious to align himself with Julian Simons in that 
famous bet he made with Paul Erlich about whether some minerals would be 
cheaper or dearer in the future. Neither Simons nor Erlich had it right. 
Karl Marx did, but Marx was not a technological optimist.

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