[Marxism] Nuclear Issues

c.courtenayquirk at comcast.net c.courtenayquirk at comcast.net
Tue Jul 11 13:14:53 MDT 2006

On Jul 11, 2006, at 1:30 PM, Louis Proyect wrote:

> DCQ:
>> In the abstract, Marxists should have nothing to fear from nuclear
>> energy. We are not Luddites.
> It has been years since I looked closely at these questions, but from 
> a simple economics standpoint, nuclear power does not make sense. I 
> would refer you to Charlie Komanoff's website: 
> http://www.komanoff.net/. Charlie was on the board of Tecnica, the 
> technical aid volunteer program I was involved with in the late 80s. 
> He ran a consulting company that provided expert testimony on nuclear 
> power plants in environmentalist legal cases. This is a good summary: 
> http://www.komanoff.net/nuclear_power/10_blows.php

Correct. Our current ability to manipulate atomic energy is 
fantastically inefficient. It's basically the equivalent of trying to 
light a candle with a grenade. We currently know so little about 
nuclear energy and the actual physical processes by which matter is 
"converted" into energy that this is not surprising. Given our present 
understanding, nuclear power is only "economical" given massive 
government subsidies and if we disregard the environmental 
consequences. (Of course, oil is only "economical" because of a 
combination of government subsidies (tax cuts, building and maintaining 
roads, etc.), the natural supply, and, again, our disregard for the 
environment.) Governments are willing to fund nuclear power because of 
the military edge and ideological factors.

This is why I said, "in the abstract"; I was imagining a possible world 
a couple of centuries from now in which scientists and engineers are 
freed from economic/competitive/military pressures and are able to 
really understand the nature of matter and energy, and manipulate it 
efficiently and safely (or not at all), because they will have only the 
good of humanity to consider. (Theoretically, there is no reason for a 
nuclear reaction to be radioactive, and even less so for a 
thermonuclear reaction; it's just that our current understanding is so 
rudimentary that we can only split these incredibly large and unstable 

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