Capitalism – crisis and critique (defunct)

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Basic statements about capitalism

March 29th, 2010 · No Comments · general

This won’t be very systematic but Iwill be keeping notes on this blog on the basic ideas and statements about capitalism.  I have started reading Economics and the Crisis of Ecology by Narindar Singh (3rd edition 1989 OUP). For him the real villain of the piece are the petrochemical and associated industries.  The initial argument of the book is that no proposed solution to the forthcoming environmental crisis has a hope in hell of working if it tries to do so within (and thus preserve) the capitalist status quo. He goes through a range of strategies including zero growth, the marketising of externalities, population control, and technological fixes, including nuclear power, and demostrates how none of these can possibly work leaving capitalism in place as the fundamental and defining characteristic of capitalism is its need for continuous growth.

According to Marx, the capitalist “shares with the miser the passion for wealth as wealth. But that which in the miser is mere idiosyncrasy, is, in the capitalist, the effect of the social mechanism, of which he is but one of the wheels”.  Capital Vol I Allen &Unwin 1957 p 603.

Look up Schumpeter’s ideas on capitalism as creative destruction.

Treadmill of production: “In 1980, Schnaiberg developed a conflict theory on human-environment interaction. The theory is that capitalism is driven by higher profitability and thereby must continue to grow and attract investments to survive in a competitive market. This identifies the imperative for continued economic growth levels that, once achieved, accelerate the need for future growth. This growth in production requires a corresponding growth in consumption. The process contains a chief paradox; economic growth is socially desired but environmental degradation is a common consequence that in turn disrupts long-run economic expansion”. Taken from


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