- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I learn so much from science discussions

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on August 19, 1999 at 17:33:00:

SDF: This in response to a post here:

: As Grand Moff Tarkin once observed, "This bickering is pointless."

: It is quite clear what the general feeling is behind all of these spurious lines of thought. Simply put, the principle is that the world is too complicated to be run without a managerial elite. The present 'regime' is incompetant ("the only way ... humanity is master of the world is that we can wreck it ..."), and must be replaced by enlightened 'planet-mechanics', communist experts, and such.

SDF: I presume that since these "enlightened 'planet-mechanics'" DC has employed here as a straw figure are also members of "humanity," that this wouldn't qualify as masters of the world according to Farinata either.

: It is pointless to demonstrate the regular and consistant failings of these 'experts', because I have not received the appropriate credentials from them. Thus, the successes of the agricultural revolution are actually unsustainable failures,

SDF: In agroecology class, way back in college days, we were asked to compare monocrop capitalist farming (with its heavy reliance on external inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and tractors) with traditional polycropping practices such as are practiced by the locals of the Isthmus of Mexico, with no appreciable loss of soil fertility over millenia.

: increased productivity from industry is actually counter-productive because it is not a linear function, free-markets are actually tools of exploiting the gullibility of the poor,

SDF: There's a task I think I'll farm out to Red Deathy; shall we explain to our friends the Theory of Surplus Labor? Here's a cute variation:

Capitalist employs laborer for eight hours; laborer is paid enough money to buy two labor-hours worth of products, capitalist pockets the rest of the proceeds of laborer's labor as profit.

If laborer is a libertarian, then laborer thinks that his wage is his true reward for his labor, and vents lots of misdirected wrath at those in government who would tax his measly two labor-hours worth of money. Capitalist then smartly buys a share of government with all the profits reaped from the labor of laborer, in exchange for lower taxes.

: and so on. I believe Orwell was most cognizant of these sorts of arguments.

SDF: I really love it when democratic socialists like Orwell are expropriated for the reactionary optimism of the capitalist elites, like the folks who publish Business World in order to promise rich investors an era of endless growth.

: The fact remains that these conclusions are unsupportable in the real world, and that this is obvious to the majority of people. Temperatures fluctuate, flaunting the calls of doom from pundits;

SDF: And mostly they fluctuate upward...

: capitalist economies flourish whilst those under communism flounder;

SDF: This isn't obvious to the average resident of Kerala, as NJ has pointed out. But of course we EXPECT procapitalists to be oblivious to demonstrations of evidence that contradict their golden dogmas...

: the rain forests continue to be cleared, with nary a thunderbolt from yonder Ivory Tower. The sky, contrary to these most educated and learned opinions, is most obviously not falling.

SDF: DC is on the side of the Ministry of Truth here: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

(pompous blather skipped)

: And really now ... did you actually think that you'd convince people to re-enter the Stone Age willingly, because there is only enough oil for about two centuries or so of growth? (Not counting synthetic fuels, ethanol from biomass, geothermal energy sources, heretofore undiscovered technologies, etc.) Come now ...

SDF: Here is a discussion of the energy problem... those who would have you believe that oil can be replaced with the flick of a switch are also trying to get you to believe that the energy costs of energy production are insignificant. They're not. Perhaps this would explain the erection of the "stone age" straw figure. The oil geologists are predicting the end of the era of CHEAP OIL, not the end of all energy.

: "Doc" Cruel

: P.S. In reference to a 'finite' state of affairs ... I believe then you are an advocate of the 'open', rather than 'closed' universe theory? Heat death, and all that ...

SDF: Your point about the Earth being an open system is well-taken. I think what you're stumbled upon, however, is this matter of CARRYING CAPACITY, that the Earth can only support so much environmental impact due to human industry. What stands under critique is the notion that any technology will do, without regard for this carrying capacity. DC's response so far has been one of total denial.

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