[Marxism] Beyond Growth or Beyond Capitalism?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 16 07:06:59 MST 2014

If satellite-guided fishing trawlers, with nets the size of several 
football fields, are the most efficient means of maximizing the fish 
catch at the lowest possible price, but this strip-mining of the oceans 
has wiped out fishery after fishery, depleting many global fisheries to 
the point of extinction, even starving dolphins and seals, while 
wrecking the ocean bottoms, demolishing coral reefs and destroying 
deep-water ecologies – what is optimal about this market allocation of 
resources from the standpoint of humanity, nature and future generations 
of fish - and fish eaters?

If toxic chemical companies like Monsanto or Dupont manufacture Roundup 
or Benlate at the highest level of technical efficiency, in the cleanest 
factories, with the least waste going out the back door, what does this 
matter if the products they send out the front door and spray all over 
the planet are helping to extinguish life on Earth? What kind of lunatic 
efficiency and optimality is this?

If most of the American economy - from cars to appliances, from 
furniture to decoration, from fashion and cosmetics to throw away this 
and that and all their supporting industries and services like 
advertising, credit cards, packaging and on and on - is geared to 
insatiable repetitive consumption, to driving consumers to, as retailing 
analyst Victor Lebow described it back in the 1950s, "use up, wear out, 
burn up, and discard" perfectly good cars, TVs, clothes, phones and buy 
something "new" and "up to date" even if what they have already is 
perfectly useful, even if the new replacement is trivially different, in 
an endless, growing cycle of planned obsolescence and "forced 
consumption," what is optimal and efficient about all this - given the 
state of the world today?


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