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Re: <nettime> history lesson
Benjamin Geer on Wed, 24 Jan 2007 15:13:54 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> history lesson

On 22/01/07, Quirk <quirk {AT} syntac.net> wrote:
> Once socialist sharing communities can out-accumulate private Capital,
> only then will our economic power will extend into real political
> power.

Wouldn't that mean out-producing and out-consuming as well? But that
would be environmental suicide. Current levels of production and
consumption are already leading to environmental suicide.[1]

For the past few years I've been seeing occasional texts in French
about something called "decroissance", or "de-growth"[2]. The idea
is that since limitless economic growth is not possible on a planet
with finite resources (of which two-thirds are apparently already used
up[3]), human beings will have to produce and consume less.

Brian, I read Giovanni Arrighi's article "Hegemony Unravelling"[4],
which you recommended, and was surprised that although he discusses
at length "the reliance of capital accumulation on the existence of
a particular built environment of facilities", he gives no attention
at all to its dependence on the natural environment, or its effects
on that environment. He discusses the idea that China may soon be in
a position to become the world's main centre of capital accumulation
and thus replace the US as global hegemon, without considering
whether environmental constraints might make this impossible. Just
as Arrighi's article was being published, China's deputy environment
minister said in an interview that China's economic "miracle will end
soon because the environment can no longer keep pace".[5]

Meanwhile, the Pentagon expects catastrophic climate change to lead to
nuclear war in the next 15 years.[6]


[1]  "U.K. fears disaster in climate change",
Heather Timmons, International Herald Tribune, 30 October 2006,

[2] "Would the West actually be happier with less? The world downscaled",
Serge Latouche, Le Monde diplomatique, December 2003,

[3] "Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'",
Tim Radford, The Guardian, 30 March 2005,

[4] "Hegemony Unravelling",
Giovanni Arrighi, New Left Review 32, March-April 2005,

[5] "China's environmental suicide: a government minister speaks",
Andreas Lorenz, Der Spiegel, 7 March 2005,

[6] "Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us",
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris, The Observer, 22 February 2004,

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