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August 24, 2021

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“Five Races Under One Union”

Interesting that the pan-Asianists started out their drive for unification by splitting what others would consider a single race (with 5 ethnic groups, perhaps) into 5 separate races.

I don't know for sure, but I would be that the Japanese glommed on to the concept of race, and then thought 'well, there are races and obviously, we are different from the other 4' and assumed that the theory was right, but westerners just had gotten some small points wrong, so let's run with...

'well, there are races and obviously, we are different from the other 4'

Seems entirely plausible. I recall when I was in college. The parents of the Japanese American kids had told them, before they went off to college: "You are going to meet all different kinds of people there. And that's OK. But no Chinese [for girl friends / boy friends]; they're inferior."

And the Chinese American kids had gotten essentially identical marching orders. In reverse, of course.

In both cases, different . . . and better. Must have been infuriating that the whites constantly lumped them together.

Like Belgians and French ;-)

So I wonder what all of you make of this. Have at it.

I'm not seeing where Marxism has made any voluntary headway anywhere in Asia. Weird, since the case for it is so compelling. So, I guess I'm kind of missing the point. Is Marxism great? Did the rest of Asia miss the boat by not adopting Marxist Pan-Asian-ism? Is Marxism the single greatest missed-opportunity ever?

Taking this a bit further, do you have a particular subset of Marxism in mind? Care to define it?

Saito presents a theory of “degrowth communism” inspired by Marx, in which he argues that society can stop the perpetual cycles of mass production and mass consumption under capitalism by pursuing a more humanistic path prioritizing social and ecological well-being over economic growth.

I really need to read up on this. I've been questioning, for a number of years now, that economic growth is the one, true way for humans to be happy and healthy.

(It's like that goofy disco song, with the lyrics

"More, more, more
How do you like it? How do you like it?"

I'm not so sure I do like it, considering where things seem to be headed.)

It has often been said that Marxism as analysis of the realities of the day was brilliant (Marx btw hated the term Marxism) but abolute crap as a prescription. Or as the joke goes, Marx and Engels were social scientists otherwiese they would have tested it on rats first.
So, interest in Asia could be concentrated on the former (i.e. as analytical tool) not the latter (a recipe to run a state).

I've been questioning, for a number of years now, that economic growth is the one, true way for humans to be happy and healthy.

Agreed. More, more, more! Bigger, faster, stronger! Newer, fancier, more complicated! While the industry to make it all helps the planet burn up ever faster....

I'm not seeing where Marxism has made any voluntary headway anywhere in Asia. Weird, since the case for it is so compelling.

There have been a couple of cases, worldwide, where Marxists/communists have taken power. In all of them, what resulted was nothing like what Marxism prescribes. Somehow, the "Vanguard of the Masses" always turns into a self-aggrandizing elite. That might well give anyone pause.

"If something can't go on forever, at some point it will stop"

Exponential growth is like that, whether it's fission, bacteria, or GDP. Push it hard enough, and the system goes nonlinear; hitting a "limit" being one obvious example of nonlinearity.

Achieving a stable steady-state configuration is harder, requiring carefully implemented feedback mechanisms.

I've been questioning, for a number of years now, that economic growth is the one, true way for humans to be happy and healthy.

Can be a mixed bag. First-world technology and consumerism have lifted much of the rest of the world out of abject poverty. And those people will want even greater improvements in their lives before the first world decides to forego growth.

I've been questioning, for a number of years now, that economic growth is the one, true way for humans to be happy and healthy.

It kind of depends on what stage of economic growth your country is at. To get your population out of grinding poverty, there really isn't any other solution than national economic growth.

Once you've done that, the need is less urgent. But what constitutes a minimum acceptable economic level is a bit of a moving target. Today, mid-20th century middle class American standards of living would not be generally acceptable. Even though mid-19th century folks would generally regard it as unimaginable luxury.

That might well give anyone pause

And yet, not *everyone* seems to be pausing.

I've been questioning, for a number of years now, that economic growth is the one, true way for humans to be happy and healthy.

One product of economic growth is modern medicine, which I like. I like my CoVID vax. I like that I can get an outpatient Mohs for a cancer on my ear (not life-threatening). I like modern dentistry. If one wants the simple life, it is there. There is a reason why pastoral self-sufficiency isn't riding a tidal wave of popularity. It's hard, dirty work and very dependent on the elements. Forex, if you like dairy, cows/goats have to be milked twice a day, every day, forever. No days off. Fun!

I also like A/C, swimming pools and well stocked liquor stores.

And the internet. I like that too!

You can advance technology in targeted ways without overall economic growth, at least not at the rates that have been seen in the US over the last, say, 150 years. GDP includes EVERY F**CKING GOOD OR SERVICE produced or provided.

No one's talking about going back to subsistence farming. Not me, anyway.

Well ... legal goods and services. But that's another story.

You can advance technology in targeted ways without overall economic growth, at least not at the rates that have been seen in the US over the last, say, 150 years.

Not likely. First of all, "targeted" implies someone has a clue how to manage a world economy. Second, it implies a consensus of priorities. Third, it implicitly imposes limits that others might not--in my case, absolutely do not--consent to.

It is 'pie in the sky' to think there is some happy medium that gets the porridge just right.

Other things I like: deodorant (some work better than others), tooth paste (I have sensitive teeth, so I'm glad we didn't stop working on tooth paste after 1942 or whenever it was first invented) and deep tissue massage (a luxury--who will target allowable luxuries for the masses?).

I have a long list of stuff that I really like, and almost all of them have improved over time because someone, working without targeted limits, made those products better.

What do you say we should do without?

What do you say we should do without?

A good number of single-use plastics. Cigarettes are pretty shitty. The thing is, a lot of people are going without things that would make their lives incalculably better because resources that could be put toward things like clean drinking water are put toward First World luxuries.

What I'm talking about is looking at resource usage rather than how much money changes hands and making some kind of rational decisions about what's really important. You can like all sorts of things, but it doesn't mean they make you happy or healthy.

My mother-in-law liked cigarettes and died of lung cancer. My mother liked alcohol and now has no idea what day it is. People like football and end up killing themselves because their brains don't work right after too many hits to the head.

I don't claim I personally have all the answers. So what? Neither do you. But I do think it's worth people considering other ways of thinking about what really matters in life and how what we do affects the environment and people's health and happiness (not that the environment is completely separate from people's health and happiness.)

Simply leaving almost all of this to markets and profit motives is no longer working in a number of ways, if you haven't noticed. We can destroy the environment for the sake of the economy only for so long until the environment turns around and destroys the economy.

But let's not even begin to think about it if we don't have all the answers at the outset.

Isn't it amazing how an argument in favor of a bit more sophrosyne gets refigured as a lack of thought for the needs of the impoverished and a curtailment of freedom.

For a bunch of people who claim an intellectual lineage built on the ancient Greeks, they mostly want to emulate the protagonists of the tragedies, whose hubris led to their downfall and brought ruin on their houses.

What do you say we should do without?

how about everything the FDA prohibits?

What hsh said.

A good number of single-use plastics. Cigarettes are pretty shitty. The thing is, a lot of people are going without things that would make their lives incalculably better because resources that could be put toward things like clean drinking water are put toward First World luxuries.

Ok, an economist could do this a lot better than me, but I'll give it a stab. The industrial base necessary to produce universal clean water is extensive. Start eliminating, by fiat, various industries/lines of development, etc, and you wind inadvertently eliminating a line that has an synergistic impact on a good or service you approve of, possibly including either producing clean water or makings it's distribution more efficient. IOW, your world is fraught with unintended consequences. You can't know what will turn out to be suboptimal until it is tried and you forego many unknown possibilities because you limit progress (which is funny, coming from a progressive).

how about everything the FDA prohibits?

Very democratic. Let an agency decide what we can and cannot have. I hope they don't outlaw liquor. Or pot. We've tried that before.

Isn't it amazing how an argument in favor of a bit more sophrosyne gets refigured as a lack of thought for the needs of the impoverished and a curtailment of freedom.

For a bunch of people who claim an intellectual lineage built on the ancient Greeks, they mostly want to emulate the protagonists of the tragedies, whose hubris led to their downfall and brought ruin on their houses.

Feel free to demonstrate factually why the improvement in so many lives would have happened the same or better under the 'less is more' model of economic development.

I think DeLong makes some excellent points about markets, social welfare, and the like here.

Worth reading, IMO, even though I don't really understand the Negishi weight business specifically.

Very democratic. Let an agency decide what we can and cannot have.

if you look down, you'll probably see a shark.

but yeah, go eat all the maggot-infested pork with Knorr™ Cyanide Sauce you like.

"What do you say we should do without?"

I'm waiting to see what conservatives like Putin, Pat Buchanan, Leonard Leo, nearly all of the conservative movement except for Dwight Eisenhower, and the CCP leave us with, as the list of items they want ME to do without is longer, with vaccines and voting heading up their demands.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/saving-the-russian-main-street/

Both Dreher and Putin will murder trans folks, though Dreher, like Himmler, will make a big show of his dislike of "methods" by puking a little in his Christian hanky upon closer inspection.

Trump, the leader of the American conservative movement and the Republican Party, wants me do without all foreign-made goods, including those made by Mercedes-Benz, which I've done without so far, but now that I know what he doesn't want me to have them, I want three.

I could do without further climate change shoreline erosion, heatwaves, and forest fires, pollution, military-grade weaponry in the hands of jagoffs, know as the American people (though I'm beginning to realize that guns will be required equipment in EVERY transaction with the American conservative movement for the duration, until they undergo an insurmountable winnowing) and superspreading conservatives trying to fucking kill me and my loved ones with their constitutionally-questionable breathing without masks and social distancing.

And, the designated hitter in baseball.

Robocalls.

Death can go fuck itself, too, but then Christians would feel victimized, so we and Charlie Watts are stuck with it.

Forex, if you like dairy, cows/goats have to be milked twice a day, every day, forever. No days off.

If you're going for the "simple life," you really only need 1 cow to supply a family (even with 4 kids, in my personal experience) with milk. But to keep the cow producing, you need a calf every year. (Also supplies you with beef, as a side benefit.) The cow needs to be "dried up" for 60 days or so before delivery. So you time the calf's arrival around your vacation plans.

Definitely counts as days off. And, certainly, you do have to milk twice a day the rest of the year.**

** Pedantic note: it is usual to milk cows at 12 hour intervals. But we found that 8 and 16 works just fine. And is a whole lot easier on the humans involved.

Some people wanted lead paint and asbestos in their houses. Very democratic? Some people wanted trans fats. Freedom?

I'm not arguing that we haven't reaped the benefits of past economic growth, but it hasn't been universally good. And what worked before isn't necessarily what will work in the future. (Haven't you ever read investment disclaimers?)

Just tell me this - why shouldn't we invest in getting rid of lead pipes in old neighborhoods? Is there any bit of luxury you would be willing to forego so that your fellow Americans aren't being poisoned?

I'm waiting to see what conservatives like Putin, Pat Buchanan, Leonard Leo, nearly all of the conservative movement except for Dwight Eisenhower, and the CCP leave us with, as the list of items they want ME to do without is longer, with vaccines and voting heading up their demands.

It's been my observation the the leaders of said conservative movements frequently refuse to do without those things. Even when they convince their followers that nobody (else) should be allowed them. Sumptuary laws in practice, if not explicitly.

Some people wanted lead paint and asbestos in their houses. Very democratic? Some people wanted trans fats. Freedom?

I'm not arguing that we haven't reaped the benefits of past economic growth, but it hasn't been universally good. And what worked before isn't necessarily what will work in the future. (Haven't you ever read investment disclaimers?)

Just tell me this - why shouldn't we invest in getting rid of lead pipes in old neighborhoods? Is there any bit of luxury you would be willing to forego so that your fellow Americans aren't being poisoned?

Ok, this is a moving target and the opposite of your original comment. Originally, you seemed to be suggesting limits up front on *whatever* and now you're saying, "we need to stop doing stuff that turned out bad." I'm fine with your current position, but not so much with your initial formulation.

Opining that we need less of things that are bad--assuming we can agree on what *bad* means--is not the same as saying we produce too much and have too much and want too much, which seemed to me to be your original thesis.

If you want to talk about gray areas--high fat foods, uber processed foods, tobacco, alcohol (see you in hell), gambling, tackle football, headers in soccer, unprotected sex with strangers, driving at night or in the rain, scuba diving, alligator wrestling, going out at night in high crime neighborhoods--I suppose we can have that discussion, but it seems to me there ought to be some conceptual limits/rules that apply. My default is a strong bias in letting mentally competent people run whatever risks they want.

It's been my observation the the leaders of said conservative movements frequently refuse to do without those things. Even when they convince their followers that nobody (else) should be allowed them. Sumptuary laws in practice, if not explicitly

Did you happen to follow Obama's 60th birthday bash? Very understated and completely in line with HSH's wish list. And, very much in line with the standard lefty leadership who routinely do without in the name of solidarity.

Here's a lullaby for the grandkids from Lamb of God:

Humanity's a failed experiment
Walking the path to extinction
Spinning its wheels endlessly
Grease them with oil and uranium
The earth will shake
And the waters will rise
The elements reclaim what was taken

The skyline is set ablaze with regret
Ashes cover a falling silhouette
The city will reap what it's sown and ignite
Watching as the city burns tonight

Blindly consuming mass manufactured faith
Mankind is a festering parasite
Relentlessly draining its host dry
Nailing belief to a cross of genocide
The elements reclaim what was taken

The skyline is set ablaze with regret
Ashes cover a falling silhouette
The city will reap what it's sown and ignite
Watching as the city burns tonight

Only after the last tree's cut
And the last river poisoned
Only after the last fish is caught
Will you find that money cannot be eaten

And everything becomes irrelevant
As the sky tears open
Fire rains down,
The fourth world comes to an end
Push the button light the match,
Feel the fault lines detach
Crosshairs in the evening light
I sit and watch the city burn tonight

The city burns tonight

Maybe it's overly dark and pessimistic as a matter of style. Let's hope it's not predictive.

And, very much in line with the standard lefty leadership who routinely do without in the name of solidarity.

The idea that Obama is a lefty is completely daft.

Some people wanted lead paint and asbestos in their houses.

And some people want safer cigarette substitutes. But the FDA and other levels of government restrict and prohibit those substitutes leaving users with the much more dangerous cigarettes.

I think DeLong makes some excellent points about markets, social welfare, and the like here.

Worth reading, IMO, even though I don't really understand the Negishi weight business specifically.

This sounded like a bunch of techno-babble nonsense to me, but I'm not an economist. Fortunately, I know one (Vandy, Columbia) and since it was a short article, I asked for his/her/their assessment. Here it is:


Sounds like bs to me. I dont remember any of those formulas or concepts. I generally ignore articles written in feigned-outrage manner. If you have a good point to make, just say it without all of the flowery language and exaggerated analogies. Sure, all the chicago economists were alt right maxists.

If you have a point to make and it can't be made in fairly plain English, it's probably a lot less of a point than you think it is. If income inequality is a huge market failure, then what is the freaking alternative and where has that alternative, in fact, actually worked?

Feel free to demonstrate factually why the improvement in so many lives would have happened the same or better under the 'less is more' model of economic development.

Yes, of course. I should demonstrate the validity of an argument that *no on e but you* is putting forth so that you can argue about the past when all anyone you are arguing with is saying is that that way of life has to change if we want to have a livable environment in 30 years.

This is not about past guilt. This is just about avoiding the catastrophe we can all see coming in a way that doesn't fall most heavily on the impoverished millions you have invoked for rhetorical purposes.

Can we agree at least to stop subsidizing beef production? I mean, we don't have to outlaw steak, but FFS, can we stop encouraging things that are clearly bad for the planet? (But I like steak and hamburgers!)

Technological advancement reduces the per capita demand for resources. We need a lot more technological advancement.

Can we agree at least to stop subsidizing beef production?

We should stop subsidizing anything.

Can we agree at least to stop subsidizing beef production? I mean, we don't have to outlaw steak, but FFS, can we stop encouraging things that are clearly bad for the planet?

Beef must be subsidized because otherwise the Vegan Gay Marxist Overlords win.

And also, didn't you know that there was widespread famine in the Soviet Union following the revolution?

Why do you hate beef and the peasants who love it?

We should stop subsidizing anything.

Let's start with the things we already know are bad.

Technological advancement reduces the per capita demand for resources. We need a lot more technological advancement.

We are going to have a lot fewer capita to worry about very soon if we keep producing all these greenhouse gasses.

I'd say technological advancement can reduce the per capita demand for resources (including human labor).

I'd say technological advancement can reduce the per capita demand for resources (including human labor).

One can, perhaps, argue over the reduction due to any particular single technological innovation. But overall, the case for a reduction in the demand for labor is pretty solid. How many people, in an advanced economy, need to work 12+ hour days to survive? Sure, some of us end up doing so, for a variety of reasons. But the need to put bread on the table and a roof over our heads is not, for the majority**, a driver.

** Before someone jumps on this, I do know there are some who do need to work multiple (low wage) jobs to make ends meet. But they are no longer the overwhelming majority of the population.

Not long ago I had to replace a washing machine, because it was cheaper to replace a German washing machine with a new German washing machine than repair the (not all that) old one. A new law (still needing to be de-kinked) was recently passed to deal with this planned obsolescence, which we have been talking about since the 60s. (And by the way, European washing machines are considerably more sophisticated - tons of different programs etc - and more expensive than US ones.)

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/right-to-repair-uk

I also notice the insistence by almost everyone I know to get the new iPhone as soon as it appears, no matter how well their old one still performs. Personally, I don't use Apple products because this is their model.

It is perfectly possible to still enjoy the benefits of modern technology (and even luxury) without acquiescing to the economic model which is predicated on the assumption that endless growth is inevitable and desirable.

After all, making the spare parts, and training repair engineers, also keeps factories operating and people in work.

CharlesWT: Technological advancement reduces the per capita demand for resources.

Yes. Also, no.

It depends on what you call "resources", for one thing. Metal ores, fossil fuels, farmland, forests, fresh water -- these are resources by anybody's definition. The atmosphere's dumping capacity for CO2 is also a resource, but don't tell that to Libertarians or whatever McKinney is.

I would add that time is also a resource. For humanity as a whole, it's renewable; for individual humans it's finite. But I will go down that rabbit hole another time.

For the moment, let's disentangle "technological advancement" from "economic growth".

When my barber charges me $20 for a haircut, the US GDP goes up by $20. One way to grow the GDP would be for him to charge me $25. When I have a nice dinner at a tuxedoed-waiter-type restaurant for $100 instead of consuming essentially the same foodstuffs at my local pub for $25, the GDP goes up. The technology of hair-cutting and food-cooking doesn't have to "advance" for this kind of GDP "growth".

On the flip side, technological advancement is almost always a matter of exploiting some "resource" that nobody thought of exploiting before. Gasoline was a waste product until technology gave us cars. Sewing machines like my late mother's ancient Singer used lots of iron, being purely mechanical marvels; smaller amounts of plastic, silicon, and copper can combine to eliminate most of the iron in modern machines. Those 3 things are "resources", too -- and maybe scarcer than iron in some ways.

I'm trying to stick to language plain enough for McKinney to understand. I'd like to get him to explain, in equally simple terms, whether more (more, more) lawsuits, each generating income for at least two lawyers, would count as "economic growth" and therefore be a good thing.

--TP

Yes, of course. I should demonstrate the validity of an argument that *no on e but you* is putting forth so that you can argue about the past when all anyone you are arguing with is saying is that that way of life has to change if we want to have a livable environment in 30 years.

You are redirecting HSH's argument into a climate change contention. No problem there--take it up with the PRC et al.

Let's start with the things we already know are bad.

What is the specific subsidy for beef? I ask because I know ranchers and they aren't getting any federal checks. Wheat is subsidized, dairy is subsidized, sugar (I think) is subsidized, but beef? In what way?

Regardless, I'm fine letting the market set the value for non-essentials.

A new law (still needing to be de-kinked) was recently passed to deal with this planned obsolescence, which we have been talking about since the 60s. (And by the way, European washing machines are considerably more sophisticated - tons of different programs etc - and more expensive than US ones.)

If there was a way to address planned obsolescence without making things worse, I'd be very open to looking at it. Of the top of my head, requiring manufacturers to declare a *minimum useful life* might be a good start.

It is perfectly possible to still enjoy the benefits of modern technology (and even luxury) without acquiescing to the economic model which is predicated on the assumption that endless growth is inevitable and desirable.

The devil is in the details. You'd think we could find an alternative to war, but that isn't happening any time soon.

I'm trying to stick to language plain enough for McKinney to understand. I'd like to get him to explain, in equally simple terms, whether more (more, more) lawsuits, each generating income for at least two lawyers, would count as "economic growth" and therefore be a good thing.

LOL. Agreed. My profession has some explaining to do; however, it is not uniquely complicit. Every time well-intentioned legislation gets passed, a right and a remedy are expressly or implicitly created and that means litigation.

I have no idea how litigation expense and payment of awards (or findings of no liability) affect GNP. I have a solid sense that there is far more litigation pending than is merited by the actual facts and this is not in the country/economy's best interests. But, I can't quantify or articulate the details.

I don't really have the chops to discuss Marxism. What seems to be so is that, as an analytic discipline or school of thought, it's pretty widely accepted, everywhere but here in the US.

Not that countries organize their economies around Marxist principles, a la the 20th C communist totalitarian states. But that people who are interested in understanding how humans engage in economic and social activity have found it a useful lens for thinking about it all.

Eat the meat, spit out the bones.

As far as limits to growth, it seems like it should be possible advance scientifically and technologically without consuming the amount of resources that we do consume.

In any case, we live on a finite planet, and there are several billions of us now. We can want whatever we want, but there actually is a limit to what we can consume. I don't know how close we are to reaching that limit, but we're a lot closer than we were, say, even 50 years ago.

Physics has no preferences and no social or political point of view. Plain physical reality doesn't care what we want.

As far as cows, 41% of the land area of the continental US is used to feed livestock, the vast majority of that being cows. And it's not just land use, it's water, and dealing with the waste products of raising livestock.

I like beef. I like it a lot. I don't need it. Nobody does.

We can enjoy our moment at the top of the historical food chain, but it has a sell by date.

To be very, very nasty: modern medicine profitted immensely from Nazi doctors experimenting on human subjects (or objects from their POV). How dare anyone criticize them given what progress it yielded?

Or the other way around: DDT without a doubt saved many millions of lives. How dare we replace it with something else?
[Admittedly that is pure strawman* and does not equal the search for better toothpaste]

*ignoring for a moment a certain type of digestive rear exits that would argue that way just to own the libs. Let them inject bleach with a side dish of ivermectin!

To be very, very nasty: modern medicine profitted immensely from Nazi doctors experimenting on human subjects (or objects from their POV). How dare anyone criticize them given what progress it yielded?

Do you have a consensus cite for this? My limited knowledge of Nazi human experimentation is that we know stuff like how long it takes for people to drown and how much radiation a human can take over time without dying. IOW, stuff we can infer without having to actually kill people to prove the point.

Or the other way around: DDT without a doubt saved many millions of lives. How dare we replace it with something else?

We didn't replace it and people do die by the millions.

McKinney,

Your economist friend never heard of a
social welfare function? Really?

Never heard of individual endowments?

Never heard of utility as log (wealth)?

Sure, all the chicago economists were alt right marxists.

Way to miss the point.

If you have a point to make and it can't be made in fairly plain English, it's probably a lot less of a point than you think it is.

This is not a widespread view in your profession.

Also, some idea are conveniently expressed mathematically. That expression doesn't make them wrong, whatever you think, and here the idea is not hard to grasp unless your eyes glaze over at the sight of an equals sign.


If income inequality is a huge market failure, then what is the freaking alternative and where has that alternative, in fact, actually worked?

You misread badly. It is opportunity inequality that troubles DeLong.

Here, with my emphasis added:

Why isn’t the unequal distribution of ex ante expected lifetime income—inequality of opportunity—conceptualized by us economists as the greatest of all market failures? And why isn’t the distribution of political power that creates & preserves a property order of unequal wealth seen as the greatest of all “regulatory capture by a special interest group” flaws in the working of society, economy, and the state?"

There aren't too many people. There are too many people living subsistence lives when they could potentially be scientists, engineers, software developers, or any number of other modern occupations. The human mind is the ultimate resource.

I like beef. I like it a lot. I don't need it. Nobody does.

We can enjoy our moment at the top of the historical food chain, but it has a sell by date.

Or, we find a different/better way to get tasty, grilled protein. I'm not arguing, however. I expect some kind of world wide cataclysm in the relatively foreseeable future. It isn't that we can't support 9 or 10 billion people *for a while*, but I doubt we can do it indefinitely. One of my first reads early, early on was Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. I think he might have been on to something.

You are redirecting HSH's argument into a climate change contention. No problem there--take it up with the PRC et al.

There is no isolated contention. This is the context we all share.

I have less leverage over China than I do over what lies closer to me. I'm not going to wait on them to change before trying to change what I can.

Interesting deflections, though.

McKT’s economist friend is bullsh****. The point of DeLong’s should be obvious if you aren’t scared off by the math. An economist wouldn’t be scared off. He or she might not have heard the claim but the meaning was clear.

I am not an economist. I don’t know why utility would be a logarithmic function of wealth as opposed to some other increasing function with a positive first derivative and a negative second derivative ( you get more utility with more money but there are diminishing returns as wealth goes up) but you don’t need the math at all— you can state it plainly.

You can have a society which tries to maximize total human happiness or you can have a society which favors the rich. That’s what the weights are about. The second utility function, according to DeLong, is what the market maximizes and it favors people with a greater lifetime income.

Don’t know if one could prove this but it seems like common sense. I was once told ( years ago— haven’t checked it) that there was no serious research into a cure for Chagas’s disease because it mainly hits poor Andean peasants ( and maybe Darwin).

"Why isn’t the unequal distribution of ex ante expected lifetime income—inequality of opportunity—conceptualized by us economists as the greatest of all market failures?"
Public schools are a market failure?

You misread badly. It is opportunity inequality that troubles DeLong.

Yes, I did. I do that sometimes. I'll have to try to figure out how what he means and what his evidence is. I appreciate you clearing that up. I've passed along your comments to my economist friend.

As far as cows, 41% of the land area of the continental US is used to feed livestock, the vast majority of that being cows.

Just to be clear, some (I have no idea the percentage) of those cows graze on BLM administered land. (Which people like the Bundys seem to feel is theirs to use, for freem by right.) Unless the cost of doing so is something like market rate for grazing on private land, that is arguably a subsidy.

Let them inject bleach with a side dish of ivermectin!

Unfortunately, the worms are in their brains, and ivermectin has a problem crossing the blood/brain barrier.

Why isn’t the unequal distribution of ex ante expected lifetime income—inequality of opportunity—conceptualized by us economists as the greatest of all market failures?"

OK, I did go back and reread. He's simply asserting that income inequality over a lifetime is the same as inequality of opportunity. Nope, not buying it. Logically, that would mean that outcomes are predetermined based on some kind of assigned opportunity early in life. I'm missing the evidence for any of this.

Donald,

Thanks.

I think the log is used more for mathematical convenience - "tractability" - than because anyone thinks it accurately measures utility, which is a problematic undertaking for a number of reasons.

Charles,

Public schools are a market failure?

In your opinion, would an educational system based entirely on private schools be more or less equitable than public schools?

Anyway, what are the sources of inequities in the public schools? Surely the method of financing plays a part.

As far as cows, 41% of the land area of the continental US is used to feed livestock, the vast majority of that being cows.

Just to be clear, some (I have no idea the percentage) of those cows graze on BLM administered land. (Which people like the Bundys seem to feel is theirs to use, for freem by right.) Unless the cost of doing so is something like market rate for grazing on private land, that is arguably a subsidy.

Ok, we need to unpack this a bit. I suspect you get to 41% by adding all of the land in Texas and the other wide open spaces that is supposedly ranch land, but which supports one cow for every 50 acres or some similarly insignificant agricultural footprint.

The heavy water usage is most likely irrigation for crops, not for watering livestock, which is not that much of a much if the underlying aquifer is rechargeable and if you get regular rain.

He's simply asserting that income inequality over a lifetime is the same as inequality of opportunity.

No. He's not. He is asserting that "unequal distribution of ex ante expected lifetime income" is the same as inequality of opportunity.

IOW, he is more or less saying that people with worse opportunities will, on average have lower lifetime incomes than others with more opportunity.

Logically, that would mean that outcomes are predetermined based on some kind of assigned opportunity early in life. I'm missing the evidence for any of this.

Not at all. You are confusing individual outcomes with average outcomes of a group.

Take a bunch of kids who like to play tennis, say. Give them good coaches and lessons, lots of opportunity for practice, the means to travel to tournament, etc.

Now take a similarly skilled and interested bunch and give them none of that, or maybe just a bit.

Which group is more likely to get tennis scholarships, maybe even to turn out a pro or two?

None of that means no individuals in the second group will succeed at tennis, or that the whole thing is baked in early.

In your opinion, would an educational system based entirely on private schools be more or less equitable than public schools?

Conveniently, we have historical data to judge this. Because we started out with pretty much all private education, especially at the post-secondary level. Perhaps our ancestors made a major stupid mistake in turning a majority of the Land Grant colleges into state universities. Considering that most states did so, that's a lot of widespread stupidity being posited.

But whether they were or not, we can see how well the education system then worked, for the whole population, as opposed to for those who were able to afford them.

In your opinion, would an educational system based entirely on private schools be more or less equitable than public schools?

Allowing more school choice would help. Allowing students and their parents to choose public, charter, private, or other educational approaches. And, instead of sending funding directly to the schools, attach the funds to the students. The schools the students choose would then get the funds.

Middle-class and up parents already have school choice. They can buy houses in neighborhoods served by schools they like. The poor have to take whatever is dished out to them.

Middle-class and up parents already have school choice. They can buy houses in neighborhoods served by schools they like.

In most cases, only because they can commute from those neighborhoods to work on government created highways.

I have always wondered how private K-12 schooling is supposed to produce better education through free-market competition. Are we supposed to believe that competing schools would pop up on every corner like Starbucks? That most kids would live within easy distance of several schools for their parents to choose from, like McDonald's?

And, on what basis would such schools compete? Cost? Test results? Adherence to parents' ideology?

--TP

The heavy water usage is most likely irrigation for crops, not for watering livestock, which is not that much of a much if the underlying aquifer is rechargeable and if you get regular rain.

The crops being irrigated are mostly corn and soybeans intended for livestock feed. Those commodities are subsidized by the government.

The Ogallala aquifer is not being replenished and has not been replenished enough for years due to overuse (http://duwaterlawreview.com/crisis-on-the-high-plains-the-loss-of-americas-largest-aquifer-the-ogallala/). This will become a worse problem as those areas become more arid due to climate change. And one of the biggest causes of that change in patterns? Factory farming practices.

Not that fracking is helping our methane situation one bit, and a lot of that fracking happened in the areas that may take on the agricultural burden from the Southern Great Plains once that area becomes less productive and less livable.

Which it will if we don't stop this foolishness.

if the underlying aquifer is rechargeable and if you get regular rain

GftNC gives a sick laugh, and quotes the Spartans: "If"

I'm guessing you not only didn't read this recent piece in the Atlantic (the same issue I think as the AA piece you liked)

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2021/08/well-fixers-story-california-drought/619753/

but that you also didn't read about the Ogallala aquifer. This piece from Scientific American is from 2009, but if I remember correctly I read about this before then in the context of the fight by certain rich landowners (I have a faint memory one of the Hunt brothers was involved, but cannot find link) to extract (by land right) unlimited amount from the aquifer:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-ogallala-aquifer/

The Ogallala Aquifer, the vast underground reservoir that gives life to these fields, is disappearing. In some places, the groundwater is already gone. This is the breadbasket of America—the region that supplies at least one fifth of the total annual U.S. agricultural harvest. If the aquifer goes dry, more than $20 billion worth of food and fiber will vanish from the world’s markets. And scientists say it will take natural processes 6,000 years to refill the reservoir.

The challenge of the Ogallala is how to manage human demands on the layer of water that sprawls underneath parts of eight states from South Dakota to Texas. As landowners strive to conserve what’s left, they face a tug-of-war between economic growth and declining natural resources. What is happening here—the problems and solutions—is a bellwether for the rest of the planet.

***

Industrial-scale extraction of the aquifer did not begin until after World War II. Diesel-powered pumps replaced windmills, increasing output from a few gallons a minute to hundreds. Over the next 20 years the High Plains turned from brown to green. The number of irrigation wells in West Texas alone exploded from 1,166 in 1937 to more than 66,000 in 1971. By 1977 one of the poorest farming regions in the country had been transformed into one of the wealthiest, raising much of the nation’s agricultural exports and fattening 40 percent of its grain-fed beef.

But the miracle of new pumping technology was taking its toll below the prairie. By 1980 water levels had dropped by an average of nearly 10 feet throughout the region. In the central and southern parts of the High Plains some declines exceeded 100 feet. Concerned public officials turned to the U.S. Geological Survey, which has studied the aquifer since the early 1900s. With their state and local counterparts, USGS officials began monitoring more than 7,000 wells to assess the annual water-­level changes.

What they found was alarming: yearly groundwater withdrawals quintupled between 1949 and 1974. In some places farmers were withdrawing four to six feet a year, while nature was putting back half an inch. In 1975 the overdraft equaled the flow of the Colorado River. Today the Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted at an annual volume equivalent to 18 Colorado Rivers. Although precipitation and river systems are recharging a few parts of the northern aquifer, in most places nature cannot keep up with human demands. “We have optimistic locations. Other places we can see the end,” says David Pope, who administered groundwater regulations in Kansas from 1983 to 2007 as the state’s chief engineer.

Aha, I see nous got there first, and his piece, even more usefully, is from 2018.

It would be good if the goalposts were only moving along 2 dimensions, they are moving more along 5 or 6 in this conversation.

AlaMcT glommed on to "technocratic modernization" and then made this about technology. I admit, if one only grabs that word, one could make that mistake. Which is why you shouldn't do that. Nuance!!!

OK, I did go back and reread.

Rinse, repeat.

McTX: I have no idea how litigation expense and payment of awards (or findings of no liability) affect GNP.

I have no explicit idea either. But it seems plausible that selling more (more, more) stuff, whether it's widgets or billable hours, is what makes GDP "grow".

And of course the legal profession is not unique. Stockbroker commissions are like billable hours. Well, except that there's no biological limit to those like there is to human hours. (Old joke about St. Peter and the young lawyer notwithstanding.) Unlimited "economic growth" is possible: we just have to trade "financial instruments" more and more and get into more and more lawsuits over them.

--TP

Do you have a consensus cite for this? My limited knowledge of Nazi human experimentation is that we know stuff like how long it takes for people to drown and how much radiation a human can take over time without dying. IOW, stuff we can infer without having to actually kill people to prove the point.

Just off the top of my head: several lines of antibiotics and bacteriostatics and the still used procedure to treat severe hypothermia (the procedure previously used everywhere turned out to be actually lethal in many cases).
The US protected leading figures from both the German and the Japanese programs and had them work for US programs consequently*. Some years ago ITV got their hands on some previously classified papers on that leading to a panicked reclassification effort by US authorities. Obviously their work and experience was seen as very valuable but also too politically embarassing (given that no one involved was still among the living).

*at least the German guys not on bio warfare. They Japanese guys, who were specialists on that, probably yes.

I have no idea how litigation expense and payment of awards (or findings of no liability) affect GNP.

Litigation expense surely goes into GDP, as legal fees are payment for service.

I'm not sure about awards, but I think they do not count, as they are not purchases of goods or services.

As for paying the barber $25 instead of $20, that's only going to increase GDP if you weren't spending $5 less on something else. Forgo the $5 cup of coffee to be generous to the barber and you haven't increased GDP.

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190723-the-ethics-of-using-nazi-science

https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/horror-of-nazi-medical-experiments-emerges-in-survivor-s-account-1.5395473

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199005173222006

https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2044.2004.04034.x

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2184360/

You are redirecting HSH's argument into a climate change contention. No problem there--take it up with the PRC et al.

Actually, if you go back, hsh's original comment had an implicit sense of, and my enthusiastic agreement with it straight after had an explicit reference to climate change. It was you, McKinney, who wanted to segment this argument so as to exclude it. As for the PRC, they are already making some moves (not enough), but apart from that, and the necessity (with which everybody agrees) to keep putting pressure on them to do more, and finding ways which could help them and the rest of the less developed world ditto, what is the actual point of your bolded phrase?

GDP is an imprecise measure of an economy. A group of people could be paid a million dollars to dig and fill holes. GDP would increase by a million dollars but no new wealth would be created. Overall wealth would decrease by the amount of resources consumed to dig and fill the holes.

On that, Charles and I agree.

So do I. Now let's ask CharlesWT to define "new wealth" and its creation.

In particular, do those hole diggers&fillers get to spend their wages on, say, new houses for themselves? Are those "new wealth"? Or on food they could not previously afford? Would that provide income to builders and farmers which they would not otherwise have?

Of course Charles is riffing off old Keynes's line back during the Great Depression. But Keynes was a commie pinko, of course, and depressions can't really happen in Libertopia, can they?

--TP

A group of people could be paid a million dollars to dig and fill holes. GDP would increase by a million dollars but no new wealth would be created. Overall wealth would decrease by the amount of resources consumed to dig and fill the holes.

Sort of. It depends on who is coughing up the million and why.

A better criticism of GDP is that it does not account for unpaid work - notably housework, child care at home, and other such tasks most often performed by a certain category of person.

Unpaid work is an interesting thing.

In principle, it's easy to count person-hours of work, paid or not. It's a good metric, in the sense that it's unambiguous. But it's not a measure of goodness, of course. More person-hours spent "doing something you druther not" isn't anything to pine for.

I don't know what the best measure of goodness would be, on a national, statistical level. GDP ain't it, but some people are wedded to it and measure "growth" by it.

--TP

It seems to me (as a casual observer) that GDP is favored by the professional managerial class because it flatters what they purport to offer with their services.

Wondering what those with a deeper economic kink than I think of this (short) Harvard Business Review piece: https://hbr.org/2019/10/gdp-is-not-a-measure-of-human-well-being

It seems to me (as a casual observer) that GDP is favored by the professional managerial class because it flatters what they purport to offer with their services.

I'm not so sure. I think it's entirely possible that, for all it's failings, the economists simply haven't come up with anything that's a better combination of informative and readily measurable.

Like Tony, I don't know what the best measure would be. I'd like to think there is one, but I know I'm not the guy who will come up with it.

I'm not so sure. I think it's entirely possible that, for all it's failings, the economists simply haven't come up with anything that's a better combination of informative and readily measurable.

To be clear, I wasn't questioning why economists use it, but why financiers and the talking heads on business channels who pander to the PMC focus on it as the measure of how well the economy is doing.

I'm a rhetorician by training, so I naturally think less about the explanatory power of a measure for analysts and more about the persuasive power of a measure for the people hoping to employ that analysis for their own purposes.

That's my kink.

It's interesting, I wasn't thinking of the economics, I did mention Marxian economics, but that was only to show how normalized Marx was here in Japan, I don't believe any of my colleagues in my small town university have their hands on any levers of power.

So this wasn't where I was thinking the convo would go, but that's on me. What struck me was the idea of making something like Kenkoku university and finding that espousing things like Pan-Asianism might backfire on you. Post-war history has kind of made a mess of Pan-asian ideas, though I think it is lurking and with the right conditions and leaders, it could be pretty powerful.

There is the the scene in English Patient (the book, and not the movie, which is another interesting point) where Kip, the Sikh bomb disposal expert, is furious and is about to kill the English patient because he has heard the news of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I remembered the book as having Hana and Kip marry, but checking, that's not the case, it is just that Kip keeps the memory of Hana.

I don't want to suggest that the author, Ondaatje (a Sri Lankan-Canadian), represents all asians, but I do know that every Indian knows Subhas Chandra Bose
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhas_Chandra_Bose

Anyway, if there are people who are interested in Kenkoku university or Pan-Asianism, a few more links

https://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/6591/

http://www.law.tohoku.ac.jp/gcoe/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/gemc_04_cate4_2.pdf

i had never heard of pan-Asianism until i got to Thailand and saw it in the headline of one of the English-language newspapers our hotel was offering - something about a big pan-Asian conference that was being held in Bangkok (IIRC).

seemed like an idea that would be obvious to Asians, but that i had never heard about simply because i'm normally on the other side of the world.

Well, that's why I'm here! lol

I'm still not sure about it, I feel comfortable with Japanese and hyphenated Japanese, because there is a cultural shorthand. But there are more cross-cultural marriages that I'm seeing and I may be carrying older attitudes. Also, though I'm teaching uni students and some of them have married non-Japanese, it's not like I'm in their social circles.

I'm not sure it will ever work, there are too many power asymmetries, and it's far too easy for one country (like Japan did) to convince itself that they have everyone else's interests at heart.

Though I do see some of the push to resist China coming from the same sort of warped reasoning. Like this

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232469.shtml
(yes, a Chinese English newspaper so I don't give it the lj seal of approval, but I do note what they raise up. As do the next two links)

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/kamala-harris-rebukes-china-in-speech-on-indo-pacific-vision/articleshow/85603282.cms

https://www.scmp.com/video/world/3146260/us-vice-president-kamala-harris-china-continues-coerce-and-intimidate-south

to see the kind of nimble footwork the US is going to have to deal with, see this
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-undercuts-kamala-harris-1-million-vaccine-donation-to-vietnam-2021-8

Going to be an interesting century...

Apologies for going back to economics, but I can't resist putting this one forth as, possibly, a better example than Charles' hole-digging scenario.

Let's say I have a chair. I sell that chair to my next-door neighbor for $50. A week later, I buy it back from her for $50. A week after that, she buys it back for $50. And so on for a total of 100 weeks.

I know these sorts of transactions aren't normally recorded, but let's assume for the sake of argument, since this is already a ridiculous proposition, that each purchase gets treated the same as if each of us were retailers. (Maybe we've each formed an LLC to sell the chair to each other and we charge sales tax, which means we're just handing money to the State of New Jersey the whole time at a loss for the sake of this experiment. Or maybe we moved to Delaware to avoid the tax part. I like that better.)

So, $5000 in sales, no new chairs, and no net exchange of dollars when it's over. I'm not sure what in the real world would be analogous to this in some way, but all you smarty-pants can give it a shot.

Used goods are excluded from GDP. I should have googled first. Womp! Womp!

Maybe I pay her $50 to dig a hole and she pays me $50 to fill it back in. (I sit in the chair while she digs the hole and she sits in the chair while I fill it back in. I don't want to abandon the chair. I've become emotionally attached to it.)

Tony,

I don't know what the best measure of goodness would be, on a national, statistical level. GDP ain't it, but some people are wedded to it and measure "growth" by it.

No, GDP isn't the best measure of goodness. It's a measure of economic output. That's all. (And besides the unpaid work business note that it doesn't take depreciation or losses into account. If your car needs new brakes the cost of the replacement is part of GDP, but the wearing out of the old ones is not deducted.)

If we use improved GDP as a proxy for "better society" that's for one of a couple of reasons:

1. We have no better quantifiable objective measure.

2. We value economic growth so highly as to obscure other values.

3. We believe economic growth can help us address some social ills. In the manner of such things this tends to be left as an abstract claim, rather than acted on.

4. "A rising tide lifts all boats." Though not, as someone once noted, the sunken ones.

Speaking of cars, as a family, we have a car for every licensed driver in the house because it's really, really inconvenient to conduct our affairs otherwise. There are many reasons for this, all of which can be generalized into "The Way We Do Stuff as a Society."

This affects GDP, our household finances, the environment, and our quality of life in various ways. I would argue that it's inefficient in terms of the consumption of resources. I would argue that it makes GDP greater than it otherwise could be. I would argue that it does not increase our happiness or well-being over what either could be if we didn't need a car for every driver.

hsh,

I couldn't agree more.

The car-centered structure of much of the country is not a good thing.

Many of the costs - pollution, land used for parking, etc., are socialized.

I wasn't thinking of the economics, I did mention Marxian economics, but that was only to show how normalized Marx was here in Japan, I don't believe any of my colleagues in my small town university have their hands on any levers of power.

This seems reminiscent of the situation in Italy after WW II. There were lots of folks, including the mayors of various towns, who were officially communists. But they did not, generally, attempt to actually implement communism. In fact, if not in name, they were more like democratic socialists in Europe today.

I'd say that four out of five marxist scholars I know are democratic socialists in their leanings, with a strong green streak (European, not the dysfunctional crap that the US party has on tap at the moment), and closer to the liberal side than to the Jacobin side on balance.

I've often said that not much on economics, but when one talks about Marxism, the phrase economic determinism comes up, and the wikipedia entry on that is quite interesting

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_determinism

The end result of economic determinism in this view is both economism (a narrow focus on how people earn their livelihood) and economic reductionism (the attempt to reduce a complex social reality to one factor—the economic—such that this one factor causes all other aspects of society).

If capitalism is so damn good, why don't we have any parties with capitalism in their name?

Papers on 'degrowth'
https://sci-hub.se/10.3197/096327113x13581561725194

https://sci-hub.se/10.1080/14747731.2020.1807837

https://undisciplinedenvironments.org/2018/03/27/think-big-socialism-and-the-spectre-of-degrowth-part-i-the-ghost-of-progress/

https://theecologist.org/2020/apr/07/techno-socialism-or-de-growth

Being American marks you out as a techno-socialist (whether you recognize you are one or not), and I am no exception, but I do think one needs to consider the alternative.

Here in Japan, there is a 'compact city' strategy, and this article connects it to degrowth and gives some interesting details
https://sci-hub.se/10.3828/tpr.2017.7

If capitalism is so damn good, why don't we have any parties with capitalism in their name?

Perhaps because parties take names, in part, to emphasize what is diffetent about them. (E.g. Social Democrats, Socialists.) But, at least in the minds of their founders/leaders, all the main parties in their country favor capitalism in one form or another. So having that in your name isn't effective branding.

Just a guess.

Every election seasen the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany puts up election posters all around this part of town (where it's constituency is in the tenth of a percent range) rivalling all major parties. I rarely see their posters anywhere else (just a single one recently in Eastern [=former communist part of] Berlin). No idea why.
My personal experience with communist electioneering/sloganeering (not necessarily under any party label) is that the activists never actually read any of the basic texts of their political 'faith' (word chosen deliberately for the same seems true for many religious fundamentalists). I don't believe the actual Marxist intellectuals and scholars have any love for them (and I don't mean that in the sense that they, like 'conservative' leaders, see them as marks or useful idiots. It's embarassment to have these wanna-be revolutionaries use the same once respectable label).

hsh and anyone else who is interested

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article49553

a review of Saito's Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism
Capitalism, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy

I found a copy in one of the usual places. From the forward:

For quite a long time, the expression “Marx’s ecology” was regarded as oxymoronic. Not just critics of Marx but even many self-proclaimed Marxists believed that Marx presupposed unlimited economic and technological developments as a natural law of history and propagated the absolute mastery of nature, both of which run counter to any serious theoretical and practical consideration of ecological issues such as the scarcity of natural resources and the overloading of ecospheres. Since the 1970s, when grave environmental threats to human civilization gradually but undoubtedly became more discernible in Western societies, Marx was repeatedly criticized by new environmental studies and an emerging environmental movement for his naïve acceptance of the common nineteenth-century idea advocating the complete human domination of nature. According to critics, such a belief inevitably led him to neglect the destructive character that is immanent in the modern industry and technology that accompanies mass production and consumption. In this vein, John “Passmore went so far as to write that “nothing could be more ecologically damaging than the Hegelian-Marxist doctrine."
[...]
In spite of its unfinished state, Marx’s political economy allows us to understand the ecological crisis as a contradiction of capitalism, because it describes the immanent dynamics of the capitalist system, according to which the unbounded drive of capital for valorization erodes its own material conditions and eventually confronts it with the limits of nature. Here it is important to understand that to refer to the limits of nature does not mean that nature would automatically exert its “revenge” on capitalism and put an end to the regime of capital. On the contrary, it is actually possible for capitalism to profit from the ruthless extraction of natural wealth indefinitely, destroying the natural environment to the point that a large part of the earth becomes unsuitable for human occupation. In Marx’s theory of metabolism, nature nonetheless possesses an important position for resistance against capital, because capital cannot arbitrarily subsume nature for the sake of its maximum valorization. Indeed, by attempting to subsume nature, capital cannot help but destroy, on an expanding scale, the fundamental material conditions for free human development. Marx found in this irrational destruction of the environment and the relevant experience of alienation created by capital “a chance for building a new revolutionary subjectivity “that consciously demands a radical transformation of the mode of production so as to realize free and sustainable human development. In this sense, Marx’s ecology is neither deterministic nor apocalyptic. Rather, his theory of metabolism emphasizes the strategic importance of restraining the reified power of capital and transforming the relationship between humans and nature so as to ensure a more sustainable social metabolism. Here exists the nodal point between the “red” and “green” project in the twenty-first century, about which Marx’s theory still has a lot to offer.

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