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  •  greening capitalism & decarbonized global economy (5+ / 0-)

    some excerpts from a paper I am using for a series of postings in the lead up to COP 18 , which focuses on the 'climate capitalism" and CDMs (Clean Development Mechanism)

    Moore (2010) argues that the contemporary neoliberal era has a problem in this regard, however. It has been unable to revolutionize productivity, or to significantly expand access to inexpensive new flows of natural resources, as ecological regimes of the past had done (early capitalism, for example, with its scientific revolution; the 19th century’s ‘new imperialism’; or the post-World War II, America-led ‘golden age’). It has only managed to secure a relatively stable regime of accumulation by facilitating an immense redistribution from poor to rich, through flows of capital around the globe, and through temporal deferments made possible by new forms of financialization. It has been unable, however, to significantly intensify its material base, resulting in secular trends of consistently rising costs for food, energy and raw materials. Hence, for Moore, contemporary neoliberal capitalism urgently needs to devise new opportunities for the appropriation of surplus value, and new forms of commodification of nature are shaped by this imperative. Carbon markets can be seen as serving precisely this kind function within the current global system.


    ... the politico-economic dynamics of carbon markets are not really new. What Marxists have been arguing for a few decades now is that capitalism, as a socio-ecological system, involves unequal forms of global development; these uneven forms of development often constitute creative new ‘neo-colonial’ practices, which dispossess people in so-called developing countries, while elites, especially powerful elites of the Global North, enrich themselves. There is sufficient evidence in the existing literature that shows that the ‘green’ development solutions being financed through carbon markets such as the CDM, which are allegedly being explicitly designed to further sustainable development goals, are, instead, perpetuating this capitalist pathology. This is in line with Banerjee’s (2003, 2008) exploration of the contradictions inherent in the idea of ‘sustainable development.’ He argues that, despite claims of a paradigm shift towards a ‘greener’ and more equitable capitalism, the sustainable development paradigm is ultimately based on an economic, rather than an ecological, rationality, which entails, as a result, very concrete negative outcomes, particularly for the environment and for non-elite groups, such as indigenous people, peasants, subsistence farming communities and workers.

    To distinguish the specific roles played by different countries in the contemporary development of capitalism, we have argued that it is of particular importance to understand the central place of ‘emerging economies,’


    Many authors, including Newell and Paterson (2010), have expressed the hope that capitalism might be able to decarbonize and ‘green’ itself, effecting a dramatic transformation of its own business practices. Maybe they will be proven right; perhaps carbon markets will be able to achieve some degree of decarbonization of the global economy – although the signs are currently not propitious. The main aim of this paper has been, however, to discuss the contradictions, as well as economic, social and economic costs associated with the particular ‘decarbonization’ strategies being implemented through carbon markets. We have argued that carbon markets, rather than transforming capitalism, are reproducing and deepening unequal relations between North and South, and benefiting Northern and Southern elites while perpetuating uneven development and dispossessing non-elites.

    •  sorry its a really long paper (2+ / 0-)

      and i meant to paraphrase but heading out now ...

    •  This is deep stuff and I'm sure I don't fully (1+ / 0-)
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      understand.  I'll look forward to your posts revolving around this issue.  

      An idea I've had is the necessity to redefine what we consider wealth.  Right now we measure economic wealth generation largely in terms of consumption (i.e. GDP) .  In large measure consumption is not the creation of wealth but the extraction of wealth (resources) for the satisfaction of wants and desires.  

      Wealth should be thought of in 2 different ways:  1.  Wealth dissipation - i.e. consumption.  2.  Wealth creation: Like increasing the energy/power/ability to do things.  This is accomplished through education/research/development, capturing (not depleting) more energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal, and increasing efficiency of energy use (mass transit, smart power grid)  The final concept would be wealth conservation which would involve all efforts to reduce consumption and reuse waste products as of a result of consumption.  

      An expanded measure of wealth would go a long way to redefine how we judge economic health.  

      Just some ideas.  Part of my project I've been working on.  

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

      by John Crapper on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:33:05 PM PST

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