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ETA: ... or can it? Muuaahhahhhaaa!



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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

As the environmental crisis deepens, it is inevitable that capitalism will be driven to find profitable work-arounds and ways to make money out of environmental disaster.

In fact, the process has already begun:

The global push towards a 'green economy' risks being hijacked by large corporate monopolies trying to gain control over natural resources, a [Canadian] report has warned.

There is a growing emphasis on the concept of a green economy in the run-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), in June 2012, in Brazil. A green economy is widely seen as a way of tackling environmental challenges including climate change, failing fisheries and water security.

But [url=]a report released earlier this month (14 December)[/url] has warned that global companies, positioning themselves for a post-petrochemical future, may use the idea as a pretext for gaining control over biomass resources, which would eventually replace petroleum as the feedstock for energy and for industrial products.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Interesting comments following the article, including this one:


"Good eye. The headline is, in fact, redundant.


The whole point of monopolies is to dominate economies."


Yes, and we already know who will be monopolizing green energy subsidized by taxpayers here in Ontario. Their "free markets" in green energy will be a lot like shooting fish in a barrel.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

One major eco-capitalist project that has been flying under the radar in these parts is REDD - the program to "Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation".

Since Copenhagen and Cancun, [url=]REDD[/url] has become central to the strategy of the imperialist governments of the world to derail UN climate talks into eco-capitalism and away from real measures to reduce emissions and conserve the world's rainforests.

In the words of Tom B. K. Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network:


Industrialised-country governments and corporations will pay for the preservation of Indigenous Peoples' forests only if they get something in return. What they want is rights over the carbon in those forests. They need those rights because they want to use them as licenses to continue burning fossil fuels – and thus to continue mining fossil fuels at locations like the Albertan Tar Sands in Canada, the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Niger Delta and Appalachian mountaintops in the United States. They will get those rights by making deals with – and reinforcing the power of – the people that they regard as having "authority" over the forests, or whoever is willing and able to steal forests or take them over using legal means. These people are the very governments, corporations and gangsters who have time and again proved their contempt for the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. The result is bound to be new and more extensive forms of elite appropriation of indigenous and other territories.

Must-see YouTube video: [url=]A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests[/url]

Friends of the Earth International has published a [url=]critical review of the REDD programs[/url] (.pdf).

[url=]No REDD Papers[/url] is a .pdf collection of articles that expose who profits from REDD, and the devastating effect it has on the world's indigenous peoples.


The IEN's Tom Goldtooth, referred to above,  will be speaking in Toronto on Monday, January 23, at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St @ 7 PM, with others, on Indigenous perspectives on the Occupy movement.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= the "Green Economy" the new Washington Consensus?[/url]
8 February 2012

The “Green Economy”: A New Phase of Capitalist Expansion and Structural Adjustment

Today we are facing great risks — even a civilization crisis – manifest in many dimensions and exacerbated by unprecedented inequalities. Systems and institutions that sustain life and societies – such as food and energy production, climate, water and biodiversity, even economic and democratic institutions – are under attack or in a state of collapse.

In the 1980s, faced with a crisis of profitability, capitalism launched a massive offensive against workers and peoples, seeking to increase profits by expanding markets and reducing costs through trade and financial liberalization, flexibilisation of labour and privatization of the state sector. This massive ‘structural adjustment’ became known as the Washington Consensus.

Today, faced with an even more complex and deeper crisis, capitalism is launching a fresh attack that combines the old austerity measures of the Washington Consensus — as we are witnessing in Europe – with an offensive to create new sources of profit and growth through the “Green Economy” agenda. Although capitalism has always been based on the exploitation of labour and nature, this latest phase of capitalist expansion seeks to exploit and profit by putting a price value on the essential life-giving capacities of nature.

The Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit of 1992 institutionalized important bases for international cooperation on sustainable development, such as polluter pays, common but differentiated responsibilities, and the precautionary principle. But Rio also institutionalized the concept of “sustainable development” based on unlimited “growth”. In 1992, the Rio Conventions acknowledged for the first time the rights of Indigenous communities and their central contributions to the preservation of biodiversity.  But, in the same documents, the industrialized countries and corporations were guaranteed intellectual property rights to the seeds and genetic resources they stole throughout centuries of colonial domination.

Twenty years later, in 2012, the plunder continues. The “Green Economy” agenda is an attempt to expand the reach of finance capital and integrate into the market all that remains of nature. It aims to do this by putting a monetary “value” or a “price” on biomass, biodiversity and the functions of the ecosystems – such as storing carbon, pollinating crops, or filtering water — in order to integrate these “services” as tradable units in the financial market....

Case in point: Cap-and-trade schemes embraced by the Liberals, the NDP, elements of the Republican Party, and others.


          Occupy Denialism: Toward Ecological and Social Revolution  -  by John Bellamy Foster

          "...Faced with such enormous environmental problems and the need for massive, urgent changes in society, our worst enemy, as I have indicated, is denialism. Here it is useful to look at what I call the three stages of denial..."

          epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

          Capitalism Makes us Crazy: Dr Gabor Maté on Illness & Addiction


          Humans have always used drugs, but current level of drug abuse could indicate a bigger problem that we’re driving people into addiction. What’s the connection between the increase in chronic diseases, mental illness and drug addiction in our society today? On this edition, Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the relationship between mind and body health – and what the rise of capitalism has done to destroy both.

          M. Spector M. Spector's picture

          [url= Capitalism Save the Planet?[/url]

          by Ted Steinberg [excerpt]

          The idea that markets and individual initiative can save the world has reached a fevered pitch in the past couple of years. Exhibit A is the wild success of Thomas Friedman, the chief publicist of the neoliberal order. In his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—And How It Can Renew America, Friedman argues that the conjunction of climate change, globalization, and population growth present a unique opportunity for Americans. In his earlier work, Friedman explained that a flat world is one in which technological change combined with global markets could expand economic opportunity and bring millions out of poverty into the middle class. In his new book he seems more worried about the consequences of this expanded bourgeoisie, deliriously going out and buying automobiles and air conditioners.

          The global crisis in environmental relations with its effects on everything from biodiversity to forest cover—substantial as it is—is nothing that the capitalist system cannot handle. The new project in the United States—”Code Green,” as Friedman calls it—is about creating the right market incentives for green innovation to take place. At almost every turn Friedman seeks to naturalize the free market. As he explains, only the “free market” can lead us down the path to clean energy. “Only the market can generate and allocate enough capital fast enough and efficiently enough to get 10,000 inventors working in 10,000 companies and 10,000 garages and 10,000 laboratories to drive transformational breakthroughs; only the market can then commercialize the best of them and improve on the existing ones at the scope, speed, and scale we need.”

          At points in the book Friedman seems to be renouncing the emphasis on individual initiative that also characterizes green liberalism. He makes fun of tracts such as “205 Easy Ways to Save the Earth” and “40 Easy Ways to Save the Planet.” If only environmental reform were so easy, explains Friedman. While urging readers to “personally lead as environmentally sustainable a life as you can,” he also advocates for a more “systemic approach” to environmental reform—reforms such as properly factoring price into the cost of goods and seeing that externalities are absorbed within the financial equation. But since Friedman is not advocating any structural transformation it is impossible to see how, for example, corporations—which are legally obligated to operate in the financial best interests of their shareholders—would relinquish the idea that plants, soil, water, forests, and other natural resources are anything but a form of capital. Nor is it clear how Friedman’s prescription for the world’s ecological ills can come about without renouncing the pro-growth ideology that has governed capitalism since at least the nineteenth century. What Friedman means by fundamental change is, at most, “changes in our lifestyle,” not in the prevailing mode of production.

          M. Spector M. Spector's picture

          [url=]The greening of capitalism?[/url]
          by Heather Rogers

          Green capitalism’s bottom line is that it promises a growing economy that uses less from the biosphere. We don’t have to have a slow-growth or no-growth economy to save the planet. To prove this point, the authors of Natural Capitalism [Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins] recount the success story of DuPont, the chemical company. In the late 1990s, DuPont voluntarily adopted the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, which meant they would cut their greenhouse gas emissions to less than half of 1991 levels. This led to a net savings of $6 for every ton of carbon dioxide that DuPont shed. Natural Capitalism uses this example to say, “Look, it works.” Hawken and the Lovinses go on to point out, “America could shed $300 billion a year from its energy bills using existing technology. The Earth’s climate can thus be protected, not at a cost, but at a profit.” This is the strand of thinking that others, including Thomas Friedman, have picked up on. It sounds really good to a lot of powerful people, powerful corporations, and powerful politicians beholden to those corporations.

          But when you think it through—it’s not that complicated, I’m not an economist—what does DuPont do with the money they save? They put it right back into making more chemicals. They put it back into growing their business because that’s what you have to do in capitalism. That’s the logic of the market. You have to grow or you lose out to the competition. (So we get more chemicals—wonderful!) Other questions spring from this. If corporations have slightly greener methods of producing whatever it is they make, isn’t that better? It could be, except that these energy savings aren’t retired. Whatever energy Wal-Mart forgoes in its more efficient stores and delivery trucks nevertheless gets used by the company. That energy, and more, is consumed by the next Wal-Mart that’s built and the next.


          Social State Vs Corporate State - by John McMurtry

          "...In post 2008 times, slash and burn of the life-serving public sectors and services becomes a war of movement towards their elimination. Facts do not compute in the process. Consistent demonstration of decline in life goods and cost-efficiency wherever the corporate money-sequence system invades is forgotten in the culture of occupation.

          Behind a culture of pervasive lies and ostentation, the 'enemy', is, decoded, any social ordering or public sector universally providing necessary life goods without mediation by corporate price or profit..."


          Occupy Denialism: Toward Ecological and Social Revolution - by John Bellamy Foster

          "..We need to recognize that despite our increasing numbers we are losing the battle, if not the war, for the future of the earth. Our worst enemy is denialism: not just the outright denial of climate change skeptics, but also the far more dangerous denial - often found amongst enivironmentalists themselves - of capitalism's role in the accumulation of ecological catastrophe..."

          M. Spector M. Spector's picture