[Marxism] Beyond Growth or Beyond Capitalism?
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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