[Marxism] Class Struggle, Fossil Fuels, and Environmental Catastrophe

David Picón Álvarez david at miradoiro.com
Thu Jun 19 09:55:42 MDT 2008


From: "ehrbar" <ehrbar at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Are you saying that the earth has unlimited carrying capacity for humans?

Unlimited is too much to say, though note that the question itself is not so 
well posed (since humans could probably live outside Earth too). What is not 
in doubt is that the Earth has a varying carrying capacity for humans 
depending on many factors, most relevant being the industrial, technical and 
agricultural base, and the mode of production and consequent law of value at 
work. If you have any reservations on this statement, consider how many 
hunter-gatherer humans the Earth could sustain (no, 4000000000 is not the 
right answer). It is therefore at least unjustified to presuppose that the 
current tech base and mode of production have exhausted the possibilities 
for growth, and I believe it might be a case of reification of current 
economic and technical circumstances.

> We do not have time for such fundamental changes such as socialism
> to take effect.  This would destroy the mass basis which alone can
> be powerful enough to make a difference in the time frame which we have
> (which is less than one decade).

If you think in less than one decade you can convinced the world of a 
one-child policy easier than you can convince them to adopt a socialist 
project, I think you're miscalibrating the relative difficulties involved. 
Whereas a good half of the world or so wouldn't be radically opposed to 
socialism, at least if we judge from the ideological conditions in places 
like the PRC, LatAm, etc, a one-child policy would be everywhere opposed, 
with the potential exception of some bits of Europe which practically are 
already in population decline and Japan. If we take this seriusly, the 
options are going to involve child licences and similar extremely coercive 
methods, food rationing in order to push down expectations, and the like. 
Basically a coercive and violent reactionary plan of action to dispossess 
the people from the gains made during the industrial revolution. I can't 
advocate for something like that, nor do I believe it necessary (though I'll 
admit perhaps the former influences the latter).

--David.





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