From an article by Richard A. Smith, his three principles for an ecosocialist economy to save us from collapse.
Ecosocialist economy of stasis. Massive cutbacks on growth and rationing in the developed world combined with strictly planned growth in the third world.
But under what mechanism could this occur? It would require either complete consensus or a very heavy-handed government indeed. Plus, the political and financial blowback from forced rationing could easily be massive and probably violent. That we need a worldwide planned approach to global warming is a given. The question is – how can this be accomplished without huge blowback,Â chaos, and serious dissension?
Restructured economy of production for social need and for use. Stop manufacturing vast amounts of unneeded stuff, including much of consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, and military arms.
While we certainly need fewer weapons on the planet, this smacks a bit of anarcho-primitivism to me, a desire to back away from technology. Some pharmaceuticals are unquestionably beneficial and posting on websites that we need fewer consumer electronics is contradictory. But then I’m an unapologetic hardcore geek. Phones are good. So is penicillin. And yes, of course way too much junk is being made.
Socialist economic democracy. Replace the profit motive with concern for the common good.
Absolutely. But how do we get there? These three proposals all assume the existence of a powerful state (or international governing body) that can mandate such changes. We don’t have that now nor is there any real possibility of there being one. In fact, things seem to be moving in the opposite direction.
As John Robb points out in Brave New War (we reviewed it on 5/5), the state is increasingly becoming “hollowed-out” and less able to deal with problems effectively, as witness the US response to Hurricane Katrina and the Kansas tornado. But mandating major restructuring on a global level to deal with global warming assumes an entity with the power to do so. That entity doesn’t exist.
If it did, it would need to operate at least largely by agreement that such changes were needed. Otherwise it’ll spend much time being a repressive enforcer, with all the counter-attacks and rebellions that would invariably spawn.
So, how do we create a planetary response to global warming? (And this discussion appliers whether you be ecosocialist or ecocapitalist.)