notes spet 3 2008

September 3, 2008 § Leave a comment



the socialism/ marxist approach now is more important because capitalism thorough the corporations and financial sector is developing part of the planet but not the whole, and the cost to the parts not developed, or exploited (“externalized”) is huge. We need to understand this and the Marxist approach is a good sketch to start with.


» Table of Contents

Ecology Against Capitalism

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a 20%

May 2002
$17.95 paper
$48.00 cloth
160 pp.


by John Bellamy Foster

Ecology Against Capitalism is a fine and well timed book. The boom is over, the earth is warming, the fundamental questions are coming again to the fore. Foster fortunately answers, as only he can, in a voice both balanced and clear headed.”
— TOM ATHANASIOU,co-founder of EcoEquity and author of Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor

“Foster has written another extremely valuable book. Anyone who wants to understand our current environmental problems and what we need to do to solve them should read [Ecology Against Capitalism].”

In recent years John Bellamy Foster has emerged as a leading theorist of the Marxist perspective on ecology. His seminal book Marx’s Ecology (Monthly Review Press, 2000) discusses the place of ecological issues within the intellectual history of Marxism and on the philosophical foundations of a Marxist ecology, and has become a major point of reference in ecological debates. This historical and philosophical focus is now supplemented by more direct political engagement in his new book, Ecology Against Capitalism. In a broad-ranging treatment of contemporary ecological politics, Foster deals with such issues as pollution, sustainable development, technological responses to environmental crisis, population growth, soil fertility, the preservation of ancient forests, and the “new economy” of the Internet age.

Within these debates on the politics of ecology, Foster’s work develops an important and distinctive perspective. Where many of these debates assume a basic divergence of “red” and “green” issues, and are concerned with the exact terms of a trade-off between them, Foster argues that Marxism—properly understood—already provides the framework within which ecological questions are best approached. This perspective is advanced here in accessible and concrete form, taking account of the major positions in contemporary ecological debate.

Foster’s introduction sets out the unifying themes of these essays to present a consolidated approach to a rapidly-expanding field of debate which is of critical importance in our time.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: The Ecological Tyranny of the Bottom Line
Chapter Two: Global Ecology and the Common Ground
Chapter Three: Ecology and Human Freedom
Chapter Four: Let Them Eat Pollution
Chapter Five: The Scale of Our Ecological Crisis
Chapter Six: Sustainable Development for What?
Chapter Seven: The Heresy of Ecological Economics
Chapter Eight: Globalization and the Ecological Morality of Place
Chapter Nine: Capitalism’s Environmental Crisis—Is Technology the Answer?
Chapter Ten: Environmental Problems in the “New Economy”
Chapter Eleven: The Limits of Environmentalism Without Class
Chapter Twelve: Malthus’ Essay on Population After 200 Years
Chapter Thirteen: Liebig, Marx, and the Depletion of Soil Fertility: Relevance for Contemporary Agriculture


About the Author
JOHN BELLAMY FOSTERis professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and co-editor of Monthly Review. He is the author of The Vulnerable Planet and co-editor of Hungry for Profit (2000), Capitalism and the Information Age (1998), and In Defense of History (1996).


A bid to build centrism in US politics

June 21, 2007 § Leave a comment

 Looking at efforts to reach a “centrist” politics. I’ve argued (GardenWorld draft) that there is majority view , but it is not the average or a compromise between the two party positions. the real majority view lies off to the side so to speak, because both parties are in agreement about maintaining the centrality of  current power and profit.

Bloomberg and Schwartznegger from the two sides of the country are making an effort to break through. Dan Wood is looking at the effort.

First up was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, delivering a scathing admonition: “The politics of partisanship and the resulting inaction and excuses have paralyzed decisionmaking,” he told a group of some 200 national politicos and guests. We can turn around … our wrongheaded course, if we start basing our actions on ideas [and] shared values … without regard to party.”

The next day, his partner in taking to task the political climate, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), echoed: “There really is no more urgent issue facing America today than … bridging the political divide.”

Others, such as Mayor Bloomberg – the former Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent – call it simply “nonpartisan leadership.” The emphasis is on ideas over ideology, building trust instead of enmity with opposing politicians, embracing innovation with more regard to citizens than to which party thought of it first – or who gets credit. The idea also plays into the yearning of an increasingly frustrated voting public for another principle: Get it done.

Bloomberg, too, has reversed a dreadful job-approval rating, below 20 percent. After a series of get-it-done initiatives – from a crackdown on illegal guns to bans on smoking and trans-fats to affordable housing initiatives – his rating is now in the 70s.

The New York mayor and the California governor are hammering a note that resonates with the public. Seventy-five percent like leaders who are willing to compromise, and 60 percent like leaders whose positions are a mix of liberal and conservative, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in Washington.

The best records of reach-across-the-aisle politicians have been at state and local levels, many experts say. Schwarzenegger has been leading the pack. After several stumbles in his first two years, he appointed a Democrat as his chief of staff last year. He has since made headlines with global warming and healthcare initiatives, prison reform, and a state infrastructure overhaul.

One reason postpartisan ideas have a harder time gaining currency nationally is that those who vote in nominating primaries are more liberal or conservative than the general voting public. Eventual nominees feel beholden to those who get them to office.

“I would argue that many of the likely party nominees for president – especially Hillary Clinton – are almost certain to continue the deep partisan divide that has characterized America through the Clinton and Bush terms,” says Larry Sabato, political scientist at the University of Virginia.

“But when these unifying governors run for president (like the cases of Clinton and Bush), they have to take stands in the culture wars and on matters of war and peace.”

What strikes me is the lack of content. It really is compromise  politics around the most pubic issues, but not dealing with the problems the public is most concerned about: jobs,  the American position in the world, or the nature of financial capitalism. the future of the economy and the distribution of profit and pain will be central, but not centrally dealt with.

One can see that the Bloomberg – Schwartenegger kind of bipartisanship is the attempt t hold together this economy in the face of mounting failure and criticism – not to change the rules or outcomes significantly.

A bid to build centrism in US politics |

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Google Earth

April 11, 2007 § Leave a comment

It is a very good idea for the Holocaust museum to extend its reach to other genocides.  

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has joined with Google in an unprecedented online mapping initiative. Crisis in Darfur enables more than 200 million Google Earth users worldwide to visualize and better understand the genocide currently unfolding in Darfur, Sudan. The Museum has assembled content—photographs, data, and eyewitness testimony—from a number of sources that are brought together for the first time in Google Earth.

Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Google Earth

Dana Blankenhorn on oil

March 10, 2007 § Leave a comment

 This could be very helpful. I’ll watch for important GardenWorld implications

Alternative fuels are a feel-good story.

Everyone says they’re for them. Europe is for them. Even George Bush says he’s for them.

Yet I’ve renamed my blog,  partly because I have finished describing the cyclical history which leads to the 2008 election, but only partly.

It’s also to track the energy issue and focus attention on just how vital, just how far-reaching, our commitment to it must be if we are to save the planet.

Climate scientists say we are either approaching a tipping point, or have already passed one, at which immense irrevocable changes in our planet become certain. It’s like the stress tests you perform on new metals. You place the sample under pressure, and for a long time nothing happens. Then suddenly you reach the material’s breaking point and it snaps, all of a sudden.

That’s what is happening to our planet. Our atmosphere is changing, with more carbon dioxide and less oxygen, which we need to breathe.  Ozone is still depleting, meaning there is  more sunlight, and heat, coming in.  Oceans are rising, planting zones are moving north, seacoasts are eroding, cities are disappearing, hurricanes are stronger.

Yet our use of hydrocarbons is increasing, because we have no alternative to them. This becomes obvious when you look at what politicians like Bush call “alternative” fuels. They’re talking about ethanol, alcohol produced from plants. It burns just like gasoline. It does nothing for the underlying problem of global warming or climate change.

Continue reading “This Week’s Clue: Why a War Against Oil?” »

Source: Dana Blankenhorn

Least liked countries

March 7, 2007 § Leave a comment

That is, the world doesn’t like fear making and boat rocking.  This is very good. 

Israel, Iran, US lead ‘least-liked’ countries
Call it the new “axis of evil”, or at least of unpopularity. A new poll sponsored by the BBC lumps Iran, Israel and the US together as the world’s least-liked nations. A little more than half of the respondents said they had mainly negative views of the three countries.

Source: Asia Times Online :: Asian news hub providing the latest news and analysis from Asia

Schwarzenegger and conversation

February 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

 This is good.

Schwarzenegger: Politicians need to ‘schmooze’ with each other

WASHINGTON (CNN) — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger implored Washington politicians to act more like those from his home state, during a speech that stressed bipartisanship at the National Press Club Monday.
“Division is what Washington has come to represent,” he said. “For too long this town has been about divide and conquer. Find an issue that splits our country in half, then crack it just enough so you can come out ahead.”
Schwarzenegger also suggested Democrats and Republicans in Washington spend more time socializing with each other.
“I asked myself the question, how come Republicans and Democrats out here don’t schmooze with each other?” he said. “You can’t catch a socially transmitted disease by sitting down with people who hold ideas that are different from yours.”
The former actor even suggested President Bush should get himself a “smoking tent” where members from both parties can meet.
“I have a politically incorrect smoking tent — I don’t know if you have heard about that one,” Schwarzenegger said. “People come in there, Democrats and Republicans, and they take off their jackets and rip off their ties and they sit down and they smoke a stogy and they talk and they schmooze.”

Source: – CNN Political Ticker

Montana and fast track legislation

February 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

 The return of state rightin a positive and progressive way.. Ths is justt an excerpt from the bill


     WHEREAS, democratic, accountable governance in the states generally, and specifically the authority granted by the Montana Constitution to the Legislative Branch, is being undermined by international commercial and trade rules enforced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and is further threatened by similar provisions in an array of pending trade agreements; and

     WHEREAS, today’s “trade” agreements have impacts that extend significantly beyond the bounds of traditional trade matters, such as tariffs and quotas, and instead grant foreign investors and service providers certain rights and privileges regarding acquisition of land and facilities and regarding operations within a state’s territory, subject state laws to challenge as “nontariff barriers to trade” in the binding dispute resolution bodies that accompany the pacts, and place limits on the future policy options of state legislatures; and

     WHEREAS, NAFTA and other U.S. free trade agreements grant foreign firms new rights and privileges for operating within a state that exceed those rights and privileges granted to U.S. businesses under state and federal law; and

Source: SJ0017

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