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I am for the rational planning of the world economy in order to fulfil social need (e.g. free time, housing, healthcare, transportation, education etc.), including the minimization of the work day until its eventual abolition. This would require consolidating current scientific and technological capacity towards the goal of serving these needs. Yet, I feel this usage of scientific rationality for socialist means is often mistakenly coupled with the idea of unconstrained economic growth. In the last couple of years, this idea of growth has become a tension in the Left between the so called “de-growthers” and the “prometheans“, the former wish to contract the economy in order to avoid ecological catastrophe while the latter argues that continued growth and progress are necessary for socialism. The debate is quite muddled, and often it is not really related to technical disagreements in political program relating to economic growth, but instead, to fuzzier aesthetic and ideological concerns between the ecologists and the futurists. On one hand you have quasi-luddites who privilege the local and small over the global and cosmopolitan, and rail against GMOs, and nuclear power. On the other side, you may have sci-fi “communist” types that want to pave the Earth and colonize Mars.

Much of these debates about growth are anchored around ecology and malthusianism – the idea that planetary constraints demand that humanity downsizes and consumes less. However, as a socialist, I am not invested in the tension between mass consumption and an impersonal natural world that I have no affinity with. Rather, I am interested in the liberation of humanity from toil, alienation and material misery. I therefore believe that the idea of unconstrained growth is at best confused from the perspective of a socialist, or at worst, actually detrimental to to the objectives of liberating humanity from quasi-forced labor (wage labor, peasant labor , slavery, etc.). This leftist anchor around growth leads me to argue in this piece the following: (i) growth as a metric for socialism is undefined, (ii) if we measure growth as increased productive capacities then it is antithetical to socialism (productionism), (iii) productionism has a human limit, given that human beings can only be optimized into productive workers at the cost of incredible physical and psychological violence.

full: https://colddarkstars.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/socialism-versus-economic-growth-the-human-being-is-not-infinitely-hackable/
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