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Yes, I realized that mismatch after I'd sent it, but it doesn't change
the nature of my problems with what Gilding advocates. It reads like a
snatch of Greenpeace literature, or the no-growth strategies concocted
years ago in Rome and promptly forgotten. He can avoid the issue of
growth under capitalism but that doesn't improve on his course of
action. I repeat: how under conditions of exploitation of wage labor to
make adequate return - profitability - on investments in order to
expand, as an absolute imperative which is the sine qua non and essence
of capitalism, can anyone seriously envision any substantial change in
the basic conditions under which capitalism must operate? What
capitalist personification is going to have the latitude extended by
corporate shareholders to so weaken the firm's competitive position?
Cooperative production of alternate forms of energy is already in the
hopper for environmental planners. But in an economic system built from
top to bottom on high energy consumption, with places like India and
China and Iran and Turkey in addition to the usual players moving ass
over teakettle to put two cars in every garage and on pain of survival
increase share of market in an endless array of goods requiring high
amounts of energy, with no overall global government oversight and
planning for parity, how can you turn the gigantic liner around before
it hits the iceberg - short of fundamental systemic change? And I'll
add, from the bottom up, not top-down, or forgeddit. And how envision a
"partial collapse" of capitalism under these imperatives? Of course I
agree that the shortest route is the only route, and I take your meaning
and I certainly share your sense of urgency. Someone has to point out
the serious questions raised with the adequacy of the map on which the
proposed shorter route is being charted.
On 7/9/2018 6:25 AM, ehr...@marx.economics.utah.edu wrote:
Ralph, you misrepresent what Terrence McNally in Alternet
says about Paul Gilding:
[Paul Gilding] apparently sees the climate crisis as an
"unmatched business opportunity," consistent with growth
with an "ethic of sustainability."
This sounds like a straight capitalist approach, while the
full quote, which you supply in the same email, says:
Coming decades will see loss, suffering and conflict, but
[Paul Gilding] believes the crisis offers us both an
unmatched business opportunity as old industries collapse
to be replaced by new ones, and a chance to replace our
addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability."
(1) It is an unmatched business opportunity after a partial
COLLAPSE of the economy, for those businesses which are now
suppressed (for instance by the continued flood of subsidies
and lack of regulation or enfocement of regulationw of fossil
and nuclear industries.
(2) According to this source, Gilding does not believe that
growth can be CONSISTENT with an ethic of sustainability,
but that growth must be REPLACED by an ethic of
Therefore I hope that other readers were not discouraged to
listen to the interview I recommended, which, I repeat, is at
In my judgment, Gilding is too much of a techno-optimist,
and he is not critical enough of geo-engineering.
But the point which I wanted to make with my email is:
Mixing up the class struggle with the mass movement to
preserve the conditions which keep the living conditions on
this planet so that humans can continue to live comfortably
is a bad strategy.
Gilding came to this conclusion based on his activism
experience at Greenpeace, and based on his systemic
approach. He applies the rule that one can best survive a
crisis by embracing the changes, and the adaptive cycle, see
The crisis which humanity will face is not the end of
everything, but valuable technologies and skills developed
in the old system will be liberated from the rigid
structures trying to preserve the old system and can be put
to work to serve humanity better. Picking up the pieces and
rearranging them is a more effective approach than
trying to re-start everything from scratch.
Gilding finds it significant that coal companies have lost a
lot of their stock market value recently, i.e. damage to the
environment can also be bad for business. He uses his
insight into the systemic connections to advise businesses,
so that they know how to produce without doing so much
damage to the environment. This makes sense to me. Even
capitalist businesses have a stake in the preservation of a
hospitable climate. If they produce unsustainably, then
their business cannot last. This does not mean I want
capitalism to last, but we need the better technologies
to be rolled out.
For instance (these are my examples, not Gilding's): in
Germany many small co-operative energy firms produce energy
for their communities. They do and should make profits,
although this is not their primary objective. Another firm
whose profitability is aligned with a planet with less
climate change is for instance the geothermal technology
firm Ormat Technologies. There are also a few examples of
profit-making permaculture farms, some of them using robots
to pull weeds. Excluding all these initiatives from the
climate mobilization is counterproductive.
Hans G Ehrbar
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