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Marxism: Environmental vandalism


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Marxism: Environmental vandalism

Researching From Smoke to Mirrors I learned that per-capita economic growth will be vital to stabilising man-made climate change. I thought environmentalists would be rapt. Silly me. Apparently, according to environmentalists, capitalism is the cause of environmental problems. The solution, so they say, is to stop economic growth.

Lecturing on climate-neutral fuels, I found out where this idea was coming from. The most popular recent source is a badly-written tome called: "The Ecological Rift", by John Bellamy Foster; Brett Clark; & Richard York. The book's central idea is based on Karl Marx's concept of a metabolic rift. "... the robbing of the soil of the countryside of nutrients and the sending of these nutrients to the cities."

There is no way Karl Marx could have known how wrong he was. Nutrient cycles were poorly understood in the nineteenth century. The nitrogen cycle, for example, was not correctly described until about 12 years after Marx's death in 1883. We now know that nutrient runoff from natural ecosystems is critical to the health of aquatic and coastal environments. Too much nutrient runoff is bad for these ecosystems. So is too little nutrient runoff. Environmentalists following the lead of authors like Foster would try to eliminate nutrient runoff, wrecking the environment just as surely as they'd ruin the world economy.

Foster and his co-authors are not the only writers promoting an end to economic growth. However, their widely acclaimed book is a popular source of inspiration for the easily mislead. Technically it's claptrap, but it's highly seductive, especially to those who don't understand physics and engineering.

Next time you hear a politician saying that "economic growth has to stop", you can safely label that person "Marxist", or, if you prefer, "Communist". Their thinking traces back to the old vandal himself. It will not help the environment, and it certainly won't do the economy any good. Sadly, we're seeing a steady stream of former environmentalists complaining that old established environmental organisations such as Greenpeace have been taken over by Marxists. There's enough smoke out there to conclude there is indeed a fire.

So. Let's be quite clear about this. The long-term sustainability of the human race depends on continued per-capita economic growth. The lifestyles of our immediate descendents depend on continued per-capita economic growth. These are the clearest conclusions we can draw from the lastest scientific and macro-economic data.

I'm with Anson Guthrie (a character in Poul Anderson's Harvest of Stars). You can call me a conservationist. Don't call me an environmentalist.

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