- Capitalism and Alternatives -

ok, and what's furthermore....

Posted by: Frenchy on September 27, 1999 at 01:40:17:

In Reply to: & what's more... posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on September 16, 1999 at 12:59:36:

: : I will say this; the USSR was not socialism; it was state-run capitalism, as SDF will happily confirm.

: SDF; I have consistently argued that a deeper cultural transformation will be necessary than the kind which moved the USSR, especially for the sake of avoiding the upcoming squeeze. Read anything about Russian crime syndicates -- you'll discover that the Russian economy has been run by syndicates since before the USSR, since the time of the Czars. And we are NOT talking about a regime with "equality of resources" where most of the resources are monopolized by an elite class of apparatchiki...

: : : It's the result of a viable system that makes our standard of living 33 times better then an Indian's standard of living. Wouldn't it be a good idea for Indians to imitate our way of life as closely as possible, if they want what we have?

: SDF: The US contains 4% of the world's population yet does 30% of the world's resource consumption. How long do you all think the ecosystem and the resource base would last, if the rest of the world consumed resources at the rate we do here?

: : : Capitalism/Democracy seems to get better results. At least that's what I see.

: : Cite one example of somewhere that can truly be called democratic and capitalist.

: SDF: It's hard for me to argue the "true democracy" argument, so I offer this instead. As Chomsky has argued, democracies exist throughout the world yet nevertheless money rules the results, for the people can be terrorized into voting for the moneyed interests time and time again. What is at stake is whether the power of the vote can do anything at all against the power of money, when the income distribution is as incredibly skewed as it is in the US. I believe I've explained the combination of democratic process and moneyed domination in the US here...

: : : Again; mere conjecture. You have no idea what scientific and technological breakthroughs will occur that may make it possible to grow wheat fields in the desert. Or do you?

: : Actually, to grow wheat fields in the desert, you need to seed it with photochromic polycarbonate beads which work as mini-condensors. Unfortunately, this requires oil, which is a rare and expensive commodity. It also requires machining and processing, which also consumes power. Even then, it's a hit-and-miss affair.

: : You in your turn have no idea whether such breakthroughs will occur; it is like throwing yourself off a cliff in the hope that there is something soft at the bottom; there might well be, but you're fucked if there isn't. I don't believe in such recklessness.

: SDF: Frankly, I'd like to know how Frenchy thinks we're all going to reap huge rewards from shale oil in Utah and Wyoming, as discussed in great detail on this page, without costing as much energy to get the shale oil out as the shale oil itself can deliver. Hubbertpeak.com quotes both sides of the debate about global oil reserves -- the point of direct clash in the debate seems to be one of where the industry shills seem content to note the large reserves of oil under the ground out in Wyoming, the oil experts note the dubious cost-effectiveness of getting the stuff out of the ground and converting it to something we can use. We'll need some sort of revolutionary technology SOON if we continue to build cities for the sake of landing major league sports teams in their downtown areas, amongst other "typically American" energy-consumption practices.

: The full-on cornucopian thesis has been successfully refuted here and here, so somebody will have to try harder than Simon if they wish to refute the notion of "carrying capacity"...

And yet, despite all the evidence that Hobbes had available to him proving that man could not produce food fast enough to feed himself, it is being produced at astonishing rates cheaper then ever before. The breakthroughs that you ask me to describe are impossible now to envision, just as DDT and the irrigation of the Imperial Valley would have been impossible for Hobbes and his supporters to envision.
But what is not hard to envision is a cadre of intelektualz who will use their knowledge not for good but to enslave others.
Quo bono?

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup