Ecomodernism v Ecosocialism (Ian Angus’s version)


(Pt. I, ‘the 100% ‘renewable’ energy capitalist climate saviors’ is here.)

First, let’s start with ‘Memo to Jacobin: Ecomodernism is not ecosocialism’, Sep 25, 2017 by Ian Angus, monthly review online (Originally published: Climate & Capitalism):  ‘Ian Angus challenges a left-wing magazine that promotes geoengineering, nuclear power, carbon storage and other techno-fixes as solutions to climate change.’

To say that ‘science and technology can solve all our problems in the long run,’ is much worse than believing in witchcraft.

~ István Mészáros, in memoriam

Angus points to Jacobin Magazine’s (dead tree, not online) recent special edition on climate change, the lead article claiming that “climate change … has to be at the center of how we mobilize and organize going forward. From now on, every issue is a climate issue.”

Excellent news, says Angus, given that a magazine calling itself a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, culture, and economics “ought to be a leader in the fight against capitalism’s deadly assault on the earth’s life-support systems.”  But no, he says, if this issue is any indication, Jacobin’s heading in the wrong direction.

“…there is nothing in this issue resembling an ecosocialist analysis or program. There’s not a word about stopping coal or tar sands mining, and no mention of shutting down the world’s biggest polluter, the US military. Instead we are offered paeans to technology in articles that advocate nuclear power, geoengineering, new power grids, electric cars and the like.

But despite their technophilia, the authors display little understanding of the technologies they support. Take, for example, the piece by Christian Parenti. He has written elsewhere that the U S government can resolve the climate crisis without system change by supporting clean technologies, so “realistic climate politics are reformist politics.” This article says much the same, that “state action and the public sector” can solve climate change by implementing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). He tells us that removing CO2 from the atmosphere is “fairly simple,” because it has been done in submarines for years, and because Icelandic scientists recently developed a safe method of injecting CO2 into underground basalt, where it becomes a limestone-like solid within two years.”

He notes the absurdity of Parenti’s too-credulous massive scaling up comparison with submarines, when even the Navy has called for new proposals, new materials…as the ones online are too energy intensive, and need frequent replacements by techs wearing…hazmat suits.  But on to carbon sequestration:

“There is only one commercial plant in the entire world that captures CO2 directly from the air. According to the journal Science, it takes in just 900 tons of CO2 a year, roughly the amount produced by 200 cars. The company that built it says that capturing just one percent of global CO2 emissions would require 250,000 similar plants. “Fairly simple” just doesn’t apply.

As for the Icelandic experiment in storing CO2 in basalt, Parenti doesn’t seem to have read beyond the gee-whiz headlines. Geophysicist Andy Skuce reports in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the experimenters only buried 250 tonnes of CO2, and the gas had first to be dissolved in “almost unimaginable amounts of water” — 25 tonnes of H2O for every tonne of CO2. Not only is that unsustainable, “it is unknown how well the results in Iceland can be applied at large scale in other locales.”

Never mind if all of that would work, Angus writes, but where is the $24 trillion Parenti imagines…going to come from?

“The views expressed in this issue of Jacobin are similar to those promoted in the Ecomodernist Manifesto, which claims that “meaningful climate mitigation is fundamentally a technological challenge,” and that “knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene.”

Let’s jump to the 32-page (pdf) Manifesto. Of the authors, only one was familiar to me: Stewart Brand, author/editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, the back-to-the-landers’ Bible.

“As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene. A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world.

In this, we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse. [snip and holy hell!]

Human civilization can flourish for centuries and millennia on energy delivered from a closed uranium or thorium fuel cycle, or from hydrogen-deuterium fusion.” 

It’s hard to want to search for more like this in a pdf, so I turned to cheat-sheet critiques.

The Manifesto was the end product of the Breakthrough Institute, formed in 2003 (the Wiki)  ‘Can we love nature…and let it go?’  ‘Senator Lisa Murkowski our top award recipient’?  Their ‘time to embrace geoengineering’ tab seemed like dubiously historical word salad to me…  cool graphic, though.  ;-)

Climate change and geoengineering are two faces of the same coin, and our responses to them bring competing views of the future into sharp focus. We can live forever within planetary boundaries set by nature, or we can transcend boundaries and flourish into the deep future.’

Well, even George Monbiot shredded that bullshit: ‘Meet the ecomodernists: ignorant of history and paradoxically old-fashioned; The people behind a manifesto for solving environmental problems through science and technology are intelligent but wrong on their assumptions about farming and urbanisation’

“With the help of science, technology and development, they maintain, human impacts on the natural world can be decoupled from economic activity. People can “increase their standard of living while doing less damage to the environment.” By intensifying our impacts in some places, other places can be spared. Through reduced population growth, the saturation of demand among prosperous consumers and improved technological efficiency, we can become both rich and green.” [snip]

“Of course, such processes are happening anyway, but the ecomodernists make it clear that they would wish away almost the entire rural population of the developing world. The US trajectory is the ideal to which they aspire: “Roughly half the US population worked the land in 1880. Today, less than 2 percent does.”

This hope appears to be informed by a crashing misconception. The ecomodernists talk of “unproductive, small-scale farming” and claim that “urbanisation and agricultural intensification go hand in hand.” In other words, they appear to believe that smallholders, working the land in large numbers, produce lower yields than large farms.

But since Amartya Sen’s groundbreaking work in 1962, hundreds of papers in the academic literature demonstrate the opposite: that there is an inverse relationship between the size of farms and the crops they produce. The smaller they are, on average, the greater the yield per hectare.

So what happens to those who were working in “unproductive, small-scale farming”? The manifesto prescribes the following:

“A growing manufacturing base has long been a crucial way to integrate a large, low skilled population into the formal economy, and increase labour productivity. To grow more food on less land, farming becomes mechanised, relieving agricultural workers of a lifetime of hard physical labour.”

Well, of course it’s more mechanized, among other historical objections to their collective drivel, and they also tout GMOs as ‘feeding the world more easily on smaller acreage’.  (a Breakthrough ReTweet):

Hi, Ted!

“As Chris Smaje argues, in one of the most interesting essays I have read this year, published on the Dark Mountain website, “modernisation” of the kind they celebrate may have liberated many people from bondage, oppression and hard labour, but it has also subjected many to the same forces.

A word you won’t find in the Ecomodernist Manifesto is inequality. … There is no sense that processes of modernisation cause any poverty. … There’s nothing on uneven development, historical cores and peripheries, proletarianisation, colonial land appropriation and the implications of all this for social equality. The ecomodernist solution to poverty is simply more modernisation.

… From ancient Mesopotamia to modern China the evidence is clear: development implies underdevelopment, material wealth implies material poverty, freedom implies slavery and so on. These couplets are not two ends of a historical process, with modernisation ringing the death knell for the misery of the past, but contradictions within the modernisation process itself.

In his ‘Dark Thoughts on Ecomodernism’ Chris Smaje addresses ecomodernism’s ‘decoupling from nature’ advice, which just bothers the hell outta me:

“The other kind of decoupling the EM advocates is a physical decoupling of people from nature through urbanisation, agricultural intensification and the restoration of wildlands, for in its words ‘Nature unused is nature spared’ (p.19). As noted earlier, the Eden myth, the notion of a pristine and uncorrupted nature, has such a deep currency in our ‘modernising’ culture that this sentence probably seems uncontroversial to many. But I find it strange and troubling. For uncivilised thought, its sentiments are unintelligible. ‘Nature’ is not something that goes ‘used’ or ‘unused’. And though humans can probably never escape entirely from a godlike differentiation of self from nature-other, our power lies not in ‘sparing’ nature but rather in moving purposefully within the realm of its power. Here the EM is caught in a morbid dialectic of capitalism, which first reduces everything in the world to a set of instrumental use values and then, abhorring what it’s done, tries to extricate a sacred wholeness from the consequences of its own ugliness. In contrast to the more anti-modern strands of radical environmentalism, ecomodernism is often characterised as an optimistic doctrine.”  on the right sidebar of Dark Mountain:

‘The end of the human race will be that it will
eventually die of civilisation.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

But fie, I know this is too long already, and I haven’t even gotten to Angus’s version of ecosocialism as promised.  I know the Fourth International had one some time ago, but I couldn’t find it, dunno if I’d understand it better this time around.

Eve Ottenberg reviewed Ian Angus’s new book A Redder Shade of Green, (red for socialist revolution, green for ecological revolution) for Truthout on Sept. 26.

“Socialism traces the causes of this catastrophe to the destructive and chaotic growth model of capitalism and advocates for a different system. Meanwhile, sensing the source of danger to their profits, corporate and government reactionaries fuel disinformation campaigns to discredit science and confuse the public. This has been going on for years, with disastrous results.”

Angus has written previously about the “Anthropocene,” a name for our era that emphasizes the centrality of human-influenced climate change. He does not accuse humanity as a whole of environmental destruction, but only a small sliver of humanity — the capitalist class, which has left a gigantic, planet-sized carbon footprint. Angus repeatedly stresses that billions of people have a negligible impact on climate change and that the overpopulation argument — which blames humanity as a whole for climate change — has been used to distract and undermine an effective, ecosocialist movement. The US military has a hugely destructive impact on the environment. So does ExxonMobil. The many citizens of Bangladesh, reeling from climate-change-exacerbated flooding, do not.”

Noting that Ian Angus has tried to push back against the librul notion that overpopulation has been the chief cause of both plantetary environmental degradation and poverty/hunger in the global south, largely to prevent capitalism as the key culprit.

“It took the likes of Rachel Carson, Murray Bookchin and Barry Commoner to initiate an environmentalism rooted in radical social critique, he writes, adding, “Their analysis was rejected by the traditional conservationists, the wealthy organizations and individuals whose primary concern was protecting the wilderness areas for rich tourists and hunters.” Indeed, it was the Sierra Club that financed Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, a book heavily promoted by “liberal Democrats who correctly saw it as an alternative to the radical views of Carson, Commoner and Bookchin.” Angus adds that Ehrlich’s book “became a huge best-seller, and it played a central role in derailing radical environmentalism.” The population bombers faded away, but now they are back, shifting the environmental threat focus from corporations to people.

“The populationists’ error,” Angus writes, “is that they assume there is no alternative” to capitalism. They assume more people means more food means more modern agriculture, which is hugely ecologically destructive. But, Angus argues, there are other agricultural models; moreover, working with the food supply we already have, there are other ways to do things. “Existing food production is in fact more than enough to feed many more people.” Without current waste, it could feed billions more.

Angus observes that “too many people” is in fact “code for too many poor people, too many foreigners, and too many people of color.” According to Commoner: “pollution begins in corporate boardrooms, not family bedrooms.

After noting that socialism hasn’t always been eco-friendly, Ottenberg writes:

“Since the 1990s, socialism has become much greener. Cuba and Bolivia have led the way. Bolivian President Evo Morales is quoted: “Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under capitalism we are not human beings but consumers … It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger … ‘Climate change’ has placed all humankind before a great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.”

Angus writes that how we build socialism “will be profoundly shaped by the state of the planet we must build it on.” This idea that, in order to create a socialist future, we must recognize how much damage capitalism will do to our planet dates back to Marx’s concept of a “metabolic rift” between capitalist society and nature, writes Angus. The damage is already severe. “Without radical economic change, it’s more likely that we will have a three degree [temperature] increase by the end of the century and maybe four,” Angus observes. “That … would be catastrophic … substantial parts of the earth … would be very difficult, even impossible to survive in.”

Now Angus’s timeline may be rather…generous, but still…and opinions differ.

There’s a longish section post-WWII and the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene, and the epic fallacy of most economists seeing war as an anomaly given the fact that capitalist growth in the 20th century relied heavily on military production and spending.  But here’s my favorite part:

“Late capitalist agriculture is a major factor in environmental degradation. The chapter “Third World Farming and Biodiversity” argues against industrial farming and for saving biodiversity by means other than nature preserves. It advocates peasant farming enhanced by technological advancements in sustainability. “Some forms of agriculture destroy life, others preserve and expand it,” Angus writes. Third world sustainable farming is much friendlier to biodiversity than large-scale “production of bananas, sugar cane, tea, technified coffee and cacao, soybeans, cottons, pastures.”

The struggle of peasant farmers for human rights, the struggle for sustainable agriculture and the efforts to preserve biodiversity are one. The umbrella organization, La Via Campesina, calls for “the conjoining of the rights of people to consume food to the rights of people to produce their own food.” According to the book Nature’s Matrix, which Angus quotes: “Joining the worldwide struggle of millions of small-scale farmers clamoring for food sovereignty is more likely to yield long-term biodiversity benefits than buying a patch of so-called ‘pristine’ forest.”

In other words, industrial farming is the problem. “Without an agro-ecological revolution,” Angus writes, “the Sixth Extinction cannot be stopped.”
https://twitter.com/via_campesina/status/919772473083564032

Now as to this, cordelier’s characterization of this piece by the wrong kind of green collective may be true, but if it’s ‘exhaustive’, I’d add ‘exhausting’, as it’s too long to read at one or two sittings for most of us (okay, especially me), and the graphics of bidness relationships are confusing.  The photos and captions are just about priceless, if nauseating.  Some of what Morningstar and Palmer have included here has been reprised from earlier exposés, but ignore it, scan it, read it another day…at will.   I’ll hush my mouth now, except to say that it’s highly relevant to this diary, and depressing as to the incestuous relationships of the faux greens and their profiteering projects.  Oopsie; now I’ll hush my mouth.

25 responses to “Ecomodernism v Ecosocialism (Ian Angus’s version)

  1. Well, Stewart Brand sold out with his consulting firm to major corporations in the 1990s.

    To say that the human-caused problems of the environment have solutions does not mean they have high-tech solutions capable of launching the next initial public offering and making a bunch of self-perceived hotshots rich as Croesus.

    But still, there are solutions and more seem to be moving even as the techno-blowhards publish manifestos and McKibben flies (got it) and speaks.

    The international elites miss some of the obvious actions.

    Militaries are the biggest user and greatest stockpiler of oil and fossil liquid and gaseous fuels. Electric generating plants are the biggest user of coal. The total annual military budgets of the world are somewhere over $2 trillion a year, of which the US budget is over half of that. Reduce that to a tenth of the current value for each and every nation. Start reclaiming weapons for strategic metals stockpiles. Stop wars and the continual destruction of infrastructure around the world. Use $1.8 trillion a year for global hard infrastructure–transportation, communication, and so on.

    How exactly do you do that? Governments make the decision on behalf of their populations to do it. How do you make environmentally responsive? There is where hiring people to make well-thought-out design judgments is necessary. Careful examination of repurposing of rights-of-way for multiple uses. Devolution of design standards for some rights-of-way. Rewilding of some rights-of-way. Providing animal migration paths to allow more fluid flow and less fragmentation of habitats.

    The second issue is restoring CO2-fixing habitats. And CO2-sequestering habitats. And preserving them as permanently undisturbed open space. The main issue to deal with this is provision of local food supplies, which requires more intensive and more sustainable agriculture. Organic no-till farmers market farms are a start, but there are still marketing issues related to seasonal availability and some amount of global trade in some kinds of foods. And intensive and ecologically sound means of management of those as well.

    The third issue is breaking the cultural lock of the 40-hour (or more) week of 52 weeks as defining a job and wages(salaries). There is a legal infrastructure that can only come through government-defined structures, protections, and regulations. You can call this anything, but it looks a lot like what the 19th century called socialism (with a small “s”).

    Why is this necessary? There is no other way to allow a transition from wasteful patterns of labor allocation to patterns in which workers can become creative in rebuilding a society that can care for the environment that cares for it.

    There is no other way to have the government’s money go to the most useful means of providing infrastructure and come back from the household (now part of the “private” economy).

    You get the gist. The ecosocialist vision cannot wait for the post-collapse society. There must be sufficient practical vision of the pieces-parts (at some more detail and matching with biomes than what the eco-modernists avoid) that can form a baseline for repairing the environmental damage and even beginning to reverse earlier damage and maintain a creative society.

    The resulting direction will initially look like a return to a New Deal society but with more guarding against creeping capitalism and exploitation. That will require a clear solution to the problem of the fetishization of money while still having the liquidity that money provides an economy. There will be a public infrastructure and a system that connects households into an economy with something other than consumption (especially conspicuous consumption) as its logic.

    That’s the economic part of the prompt of a discussion. The political, or more accurately the part about the polity under ecosocialism, is another not well discussed piece. And the matter of values and culture is the third.

    Toward that, here is a David Graeber paper:
    It is value that brings universes into being
    https://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau3.2.012/758

    • was it in the 1990s, then? when i’d seem some of his more recent books, it looked less like an apologia than a ‘i was just joshin’, folks’ list.

      but of course yes, to all you’re saying, but local sustainable gardening and farming can only grow so much food, not to be a downer. i’m sure the figure includes vast amounts of wasted food, but amerikans eat a ton of food a year, it seems. and of course towns can encourage citizens to share, not compete, as cooperative jackson has, but still, these ideas and tranformational, but aspirational themes aren’t new at all, but just haven’t caught on, sadly.

      “Governments make the decision on behalf of their populations to do it.”…except, our corporatocracy owns the political class, and they don’t have to give a flying fook what people actually want, do they? but you military de-escalation is of course the second key to reducing the US carbon footprint, as well as using the bucks to fund sound and necessary infrastructure, esp. reliable and inexpensive public transportation.

      very well said here, amigo: “To say that the human-caused problems of the environment have solutions does not mean they have high-tech solutions capable of launching the next initial public offering and making a bunch of self-perceived hotshots rich as Croesus.”…and after trying again this a.m. to wade thru the wrongkindofgreen piece, i’m more discouraged than ever at the likely successes by the faux-green capitalists’ taking over not just the ‘high tech will save us’ conversation, but the ‘and along the way, we can make money (maybe even for people of color)!’ doing it. let me clip just one portion toward the end:

      “At the end of this second segment of this series, we must take a moment to reflect upon the aforementioned agribusiness venture GADCO, that Molloch Brown chairs, for it represents a microcosm of what we can expect from the UN’s “Global Goals” which have now been incorporated globally into the education curriculum of children as ” The World’s Largest Lesson”. The “Global Goals” being steadily accelerated by the world’s most powerful institutions and NGOs with Purpose (Avaaz)/The B Team, We Mean Business (350.org divestment partner Ceres, etc.) and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (inclusive of Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel), all working intricately together at the helm.
      GADCO is financed in part (see below) and managed by Acumen Fund. Its partner community includes Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Unilever, UK Department of International Development, USAID, Goldman Sachs, Ford Foundation, General Electric, IKEA Foundation, Omidyar Network The Rockefeller Foundation, American Express, The Dow Chemical Company, Skoll Foundation, Citi, Barklays, Google, and a plethora of other foundations. [Full list]
      “In setting up the outgrower scheme, GADCO deliberately sought partners from the development world – such as the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the World Bank – as well as private investors.”

      and not to be confused w/ the ‘breakthrough institute’, authors of the ecomodernism manifesto, but this: bill gates’, et.al.’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition’. but see, they’ll go into poor nations to sell their snake oil. they are, again: the saviors by way fauxlanthropy.
      http://www.b-t.energy/coalition/
      more as i can, it’s big bread day and i’m behind schedule already. ;-)

    • America’s food supply chain wastes a ton of food even before you get to the contents of garbage cans and dumpsters or homes, restaurants, and schools. The high occurrence of eating out and fast food involves a lot of overproduction to avoid running out when that last customer comes in. Slow food restaurants can control this intentionally, but they lose the work-driven short meal folks.

      The sourcing of such a huge portion of the nation’s food from California involves huge amounts of fossil fuels in shipment (transportation and refrigeration). Eliminating those shipments reduces production of pollutants including CO2.

      All food is produced locally even though it might be shipped elsewhere. Sustainable production does not necessarily take acreage out of production (as in rotation systems).

      The US has a policy of highly subsidized (socialist?) farmers and cheap food that is structured in a now antiquated industrialized farming model that just jerked the USDA subsidy rug out from under most honestly small farmers. (Also most farmers who are people of color.) What was the old saying? “Socialism for the rich; free enterprise for the poor.”

      What seems to be the case with “natural capitalism” (Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins) approaches is that they are focused more on “energy finance”, “agriculture finance”, “healthcare finance”, “infrastructure finance” than on the actual putting all of those forms of production into play.

      Of course they are. The “finance” is where the bezzle is that allows them to do well by doing good. Not to mention the tied goods like computers and software.

      • yes, and of course there’s even a hashtag #zerofoodwaste. and yes, shipping food from (top 5 in order of cash receipts agriculture: CA, iowa, texas, NE, and IL; next Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

        not to mention that the central valley in CA has lost insane no.s of feet in altitude as the acquifers are depleted and toxified even more. and yes, getting paid not to grow food was ???!, and the gummint cheese program…guess it fed some folks velveeta, all right.

        and while i understand and honor all that you and miz thd and friends are doing to help the situation locally, think how long it would take to scale up small organic (esp. non-gmo) farms and gardens, local markets to matter to the industrial ag footprint decreasing. at least 20 years ago the science was there, no? including how much healthier the food is. fukssake, people are dying from malnutrition and disease eating de-natured, glyphosized, factory food stuffed with high fructose corn syrup. yes, organic farms are increasing, thank goodness. but we can rarely afford the prices.

        i did check on colin todhunter’s (UK) twit feed, and found his ‘The Seeds of Agroecology and Common Ownership’, Oct 10, 2017, bless his heart, he is the energizer bunny.

        on edit: i still don’t get what you mean w/ your emory lovins explanations. but also, mr. wd brought home groceries from cortez earlier, and i got to thinking how many things we buy that aren’t, and can’t be produced/grown/processed in sorta city/state cooperative agreements. tahini, olive oil, tofu, lentils, garbanzo beans, canola oil, tamari, sesame seeds, etc. it was what always killed me about the ‘locavore’ movement: we’d eat hay, cow, pinto and anasazi beans, then in summer fresh veg, and whatever fruit the frost doesn’t get first. and the ‘only bicycle transportation’; one of those dudes always used to get on my diaries at fdl. sheesh. an answer for every imaginable scenario, even in rural amerika. ;-) and i’d blown right by your “All food is produced locally…”. (big smile) really?

        • All food is produced locally and then transported depending on the transportation capabilities. One of the possibilities we like to overlook is that the forecast coming collapse might create refugees out of us because of food shortages in our current localities or might cause hay to be reduced and farmed as something else. Or might cause reduction in export and production of beef so that some places might have high-beef, high-pork or high-poultry diets. Food security first of all is local food security, starting with ones own land or land that one can farm surreptitiously. Sharing happens after that produces surpluses. Or after some state-backed organization (corporation or bureaucracy) seizes it with or without token payment.

          Looked at in those terms, many more people are dependent than think they are. Do they sense their dependency enough to engage in social preparation for rapid change? Or do they think their survival safe rooms will support them after they blow away their neighbors?

          • by the coming forecast next collapse do you mean financial collapse? if so, sure, local food security will be the only kind, and yes, i reckon those who’re able will up their attempts to grow more, store more (we live in mormon country, son, and have always ‘stored’ what we can; used to can 700 qts. a year, ish) barter more, etc. but that’s a whole different animal than folks waking up enough wholesale (as per colin todhunter) to begin farming gardening enough to offset the death merchants of factory ag, imo.

            and srsy, ask your self who in gummint will listen to anyone other than bill gates, the breakthrough institute people, avaaz, tck, tck, et.al., mckibben, klein who are paid not to demand alternatives? oooh, yeah, the green revolution; ‘they’ have proven it works! so the media fetes them, their bogus ideas and notions ubiquitously…for how many decades now?

            yeah, it’s an exercise in futility thinking about where the oligarchs imagine they’ll go to hide from any of it. abu dhabi? and locally, yeppers, we have neighbors who are convinced that the great unwashed & hungry will be comin’ to our neighborhoods to steal what we have. so…they are armed, including our nearest neighbor…lazarus. sigh.

            now globally, at least many indigenous have tried to show us the way, but are being crushed by their own ruling class capitalists; brazil comes to mind, and the amazon forests, but many others, of course that the authors at upsidedownworld tell about. ‘without even token payment’; that happened a lot during many ‘offishul’ wars, didn’t it? confiscation…for the warriors?

            well, i’m gonna go make dinner; we have enough goodies for thai peanut noodles, including lime and asian hot chili sauce…for the transitioning-to-winter weather. yep, my cooking and baking are quite ‘bougie’. ;-) kinda one of the reasons we tithe so much food, in hopes that it’s by way of a prayer that we’ll always have…enough, even if just that. guess we may see soon, like many others.

    • when i’d first clicked into your graeber essay, i backed out due to it’s length, reckoning that it wouldn’t lend a bit to cliffs notes. but i just spent some time reading less than a third of it, but it’s academically a bit over my head. but what did stick out to me was this (ahead of the discussion on ‘reproductive value’, so i may be misinterpreting):

      “Nowhere in the ancient world, Marx noted in his ethnographic notebooks ([1858] 1964), did it even occur to anyone to ask what are the conditions that would create the most wealth— even if this seems the only question that we are allowed to ask today—rather, it was assumed that wealth was one, often ambivalent, factor in the real business of human life: the creation of human beings who could be proper citizens of their communities. And, he adds, they had it right. If labor consists of all those creative actions whereby we shape and reshape the world around us, ourselves, and especially each other, material wealth only exists to further that task of shaping one another into the sort of beings we feel ought to exist, and we would wish to have around us.

      it did so remind me of portions of <a href="https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/20/ 'the-not-so-radical-socialist-from-vermont/”>paul street’s critique of bernies book ‘a guide to political revolution’: ‘The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont’. he quotes marx a number of times, including on shortening work days, ““resolve[s] personal worth into exchange value” and “le[aves] no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’’, etc.

      and yes, street has a bit o’ fun at the bern’s expense, given what bern says about his not-too-radical advantages for his ‘medicare for all’, and ‘shorter hours’, etc. later what he kinda crows about the words and terms that are *not* in the index is a joy to read. from the book:

      “Americans are working more hours than the people of any major developed country…They need time to rest and recuperate, travel the country, visit loved ones, or simply spend time at home with their families…In my view we need legislation to require employers to provide at least ten days of paid vacation to workers in this country every year. This is not a radical idea. It’s already being done in almost every country in the world. This would not only demonstrate our national commitment to family values but also make good economic sense. Studies show that paid-vacation policies boost productivity and worker loyalty” (pp. 23-24, emphasis added).

      street: “Sanders fails to mention that workers need time to undertake informed and collective popular resistance and class struggle and to resist and indeed (sorry to get so radical) overthrow the system that has turned the United States into an abject plutocracy while putting livable ecology at grave peril. Then Sanders goes out of his way to describe his modest call for ten days (how about forty?) paid vacation “not a radical idea” and – the real kicker – says that paid vacations would be great because they would “boost productivity and worker loyalty.”

      anyway, you get the gist. and thanks, paul. ;-

      • Do be patient with Graeber and take your time to get through it.

        Yes, there is a lot Sanders takes for granted from 50 years ago that no longer exists. One important point is that strict and enforced limits on working hours requires employers to hire more workers, and that begins to make supply and demand tighter allowing better bargaining positions under capitalism. Calling a recession when that starts to happen is a interesting phenomenon of post-WWII American society and allow the gradual wearing down of unions to the point they can be busted. But that’s in the MAGA years of the 1950s that Trump wants to take us back to, the years Grandpa Ike. (Really think that’s a serious proposal?)

        It is short of an ecosocialist culture in which value is not totally in service of the economy. Graeber explores what discussions of value that break the totalitarianism of capital might look like. What things can’t money buy? What values put those restraints in place?

        • street shows much more about bern’s reform capitalism than what i’d quoted, but i won’t go into it.

          alas, there’s no way i’ll finish graeber’s piece due to time constraints and not being an academic making reading/comprehending even slower. for someone such a yourself, you may be surprised to know how many days i spent on this diary, reading, the forgetting, re-reading, searching for more information, discarding links, etc. so in the end, i’ll choose to enjoy and remember paul street’s version of relevant marxist quotes instead, at least i can remember the many images he drew that may just stick in my noggin. hope you read it. ;-) as i said, what’s *not* in the index is chuckle-worthy given the subject alleged matter.

          i did like his ‘bullshit jobs’, though. sleep well, and best with your river projects; best to miz thd as well.

  2. I’m with Guy McPherson in thinking that the switch has been thrown and the climate is going to the upper rail, maybe >5° C warmer for the global average. So mitigation is the correct word for easing something that’s going to happen anyway. Otherwise the eco modernists it seemed unhinged: they tried to solve issues with the natural world

    • … using the means most disconnected from the biosphere.
      The mass migrations that are bound to only accelerate are primarily a social problem. They can make the argument that mitigation Of carbon dioxide is a technical problem but mitigation of the Effects of climate change is NOT. There’should be no real need for people to leave Puerto Rico yet it appears resortification maybe in process = gentrification in the Caribbean.

    • Mitigation is where we are. We are watching mismatches of insect life stages and bird migration arrivals already. (Different body clocks.) There are technocratic committees already identifying land animal corridors for migration through our 2 million population urban region. (Some of the easiest retrofits ironically are through central business districts. Some of the most difficult are construction in the last 20 years.) That’s just one example. We need more local and practical visions — and more actually in place on the ground. The worst part of the EnviroEliteClub is all talk and mind-boggling stupid large action.

      Enviromodernists have the illusion that they can use geoengineering and terraforming to replace the natural world. After 30 years of ideas, few actual green roofs that do more than rainwater retention are in place and they still have to be subsidized.

      Of course the big fallacy is privately financed infrastructure with suppressed “labor costs”. Maybe for the Hamptons or Silicon Valley but not for much of anywhere else.

      And a lot of the rest of the world continues to copy our bad habits.

    • if i understand correctly, mcPherson sees the 5 degrees by 2030. “So mitigation is the correct word for easing something that’s going to happen anyway.” yes, lemoyne, but there’s so much munny to be made along the way. but srsly, i do wonder if they are so cut off from the ‘nature’ they so marginalize that they’re clueless…or just foxy/believers.

      and yes, more deaths have been discovered in puerto rico, i believe fema has left, etc. but ‘resortification’ (cool term) and gentrification for some is exactly what happened in both haiti and new orleans. plus the vultures moved in en masse, of course to offer some ‘debt relief’.

      nice to see you by the way, my friend. ;-)

  3. some old dude here at the pub library (it’s a pub library for me; I hide a flask in the Bible so that it really is the good book) at the free section some old dude was looking at a VHS copy of “Enemy of the State” and looked at me & said, “I’m an enemy of the state!” He then hit me w/a story of how in 1970 he had to swear before a judge in the county general district courthouse that he was not nor ever had been a commie or comsymp. All this in order to work for the county health division. His parting words were, “those farmers were crazy.”

    There are scorpions in my mind-Macbeth.This capitalism horse pucky…I asked a Greenpeace worker on the street what she thought about GP’s heavy investment in the nuclear, mining and fossil fuel industries. “Well, what do you want them to do?!?” she snarled, impatient w/my silly comments.

    anyway, what’s all the fuss? those who founded & funded the mujahideen to destroy Afghanistan are on top of that nation’s reconstruction. Capitalism’s recovery from capitalism will look something like that, so what’s the big deal? We will give (excuse me, rent or loan) mother nature all these great opportunities & then know who to blame when it all fails. it’ll be like when HRC said of the infernal chaos in Iraq, “We gave them this great democracy…”

    • the good book might be an even be a better book with a bud or two inside, eh? panhandling: “can ya spare any bud?”

      dunno what crazy farmers have to do w/ a loyaty oath to work in the county health division, but…it mustta made sense to him. but as to ‘afghanistan’, thanks. it’s a perfect outré to say that africa is now open to any and all ‘help’ from the hegemon and oligarchic green energy capitalists. as per wsws and dan glazebrook (sp?)at RT, moar war in africa to fight _, which radicalizes moar and moar…which is the entire point of course. as per my: tossing tissues metaphor sometime back, to plunder for resources (sorry, too depressed to bring links; deer hunting rifle season started today, and i have reason to think that the king of the forest in the local buck herd here…may have been shot by neighbors. stooopid of me to get upset, but…there it is.)

      but dig it: bill gates and friends at the bt energy coalition, you can hear the multi-billionaire mr.monsanto speak, but: breakthrough energy coalition: #5:
      “Because the foundation of these innovations will likely come through government research pipelines, we will focus our investments on those countries that have committed to increase the size of those pipelines by participating in the international initiative known as Mission Innovation. Those countries are making a serious commitment to using smart government spending to increase the rate of innovation in their domestic sector while helping the world find solutions to the serious problems created by climate change, high costs of power, and energy price volatility.”
      http://www.b-t.energy/coalition/

      neo-recolonizing perhaps?

      • I’m sorry not to have been able to support thd on this thread – for some reason my standalone comments don’t go through, so apologies for tagging on here.

        It isn’t pie in the sky to say sustainable local farming is the only way and can work. It is and it does! It’s very productive and heck, I’m poor as a churchmouse but I’m eating as much organic food for myself and the planet as I possibly can, and planting for insects and birds as well as myself.

        I haul all my tubs inside for the winter and they clean my air- they do! Plants are, insects are, the next priority for the world.

        Monsanto is going down!

        • Oh yay, that went through! I wanted to say in the Soviet Union, communist big ag failed – it was small independent entrepreneurs who kept that system from going under – they proved to be so much more productive than the party knowitalls because they knew what they were doing and they loved what they were doing. And now, Russia knows, and they are NOT going GMO.

          This is another Rachel Carson moment. It’s starting to be another silent spring in this country.

          Monsanto is going DOWN!

          • what i put in the OP contra green capitalism, ecomodernism was exactly that, juliana, namely that small sustainable farms yield much more food, and i’d add, much healthier food, as long as they’re gmo-free (as i assume most are).

            i’m sure thd will be glad of your support, but our original difference of opinion was whether or not enough people could wake up and farm wholistically quickly enough to feed us all *and* make any appreciable difference in mitigating further global temperature rise, or co2 ppm’s to stave off the sixth extinction.

            later he seemed to be talking to ‘after the collapse’, which i’d thought might refer to the coming bubbles forecast to burst soon. that’s all.

            but you’re saying that all you bring home from your shopping trips is organic, grown and processed locally? that’s cool, if so, and i reckon that in santa fe organic produce is less costly than here. but produce is only a portion of what we eat, really, even if…a lot.

            • This is going to really trail – I’ll be brief. No, didn’t say ‘all I bring home,’ but ‘as much as possible.’

              • ah, sorry i got it wrong, as you’d said “I’m poor as a churchmouse but I’m eating as much organic food for myself and the planet as I possibly can”, causing me to…misinterpret, i guess. as far as monsanto going down, the bayer/monsanto merger is still pending, so we’ll see. the eu did finally ban glyphosate…farms have until 2020 to use their stockpiles.

      • oh, those crazy farmers are one county away & probably elected that district court judge & his no commies no how agenda. there’s commie absinthe, and capitalist absinthe. there’s commie county health care, and there’s the shit that works. no commie horse tranquilizers! no commie moo cows! no commie pig castrations!

        • lol. but srsly, i did read something recently on ‘required loyalty oaths’ in gummit bureaucracies. it was, of course, equally craaaaazy. oh, i wish i could remember! shouldda stuck it on the correct word doc, but hell’s tuna fish: the one for this diary was already ten pages long.

  4. Trying a standalone here, because this subject is so important. I took thd’s coming collapse to mean ecological even before financial as we’ve all been waiting for the latter (with some dreading it) in hopes it would ameliorate the former.

    I don’t disagree at all about the corporate feel good attempts to orchestrate the parade, and bravo wendye for pointing those out – no wonder you don’t have time for Graeber. And yes, we individually can’t do it all. Don’t laugh, but I’ve been concentrating on worms, love the little guys. They are one beastie my small plot has begun to sustain.

    Look, when you dig up an anthill, what do you are- those critters stop what they were about and they grab all the eggs and rush them off to a safe place. They all seem to get the message at once. Everything now for us is about that message. Thanks everyone.

    • it’s hard to know if we’re all on the same page as to terminology, including media, but climate temp rises may be different than ecological, environmental, even if often very related. for instance:

      Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon‘ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers’ Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say, the guardian

      “We killed 58% of all vertebrate wildlife just between 1970 and 2012, and at a rate of 2% per year we will have massacred close to 70% of it by 2020, just 4 years from now.” wwf stats; hysteria for dollars? dunno, but scary biscuits if eve close. the automatic earth

      some dude rebutted the cox ‘cornucoopia’ complaints, and the key two things he said was that ‘all we have to do is unwind the military industrial complex (easy, of course) and that low life expectancy in developing nations is related to (dig it): too FEW kilowatt hours of energy usage. kee-rikey. related is not causality, is it?

  5. On Wendye’ s behalf I did read the Graeber (as she on our behalf has read so many faux news and critiques of same). Thanks for providing it, tdh, it was most interesting. I like his anthropological approach to value, but two issues:

    First, his claim that rewards for being honorable become the goal for which honorable deeds are accomplished. That may be true for some, but hardly for all.

    Second, Graeber claims that value can only be realized in other people’s eyes, that there must always be an audience. Which.is a variation on what I objected to in the prior paragraph.

    I am troubled by the underlying abandonment of the importance of self worth in those two assumptions.

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