imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Future as Transformation

by Birgit Mahnkopf Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at 4:28 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

There is no future with present-day capitalism. Capitalism stands for a movement of endless profit-making. Only a radical breach with the capitalist accumulation dynamic can nurture the hope of a reasonably tolerable future for human civilization on this planet.

THE FUTURE AS TRANSFORMATION


There is no future with present-day capitalism


By Birgit Mahnkopf


This article published in Luxemburg 2/2015 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.linksnet.de. Birgit Mahnkopf is a professor of European social policy in Berlin.]


We are presently not only in a structural or "systemic crisis" of capitalism as a world economic system. No way can lead back to the growth constellation before the outbreak of the 2007/2008 financial and economic crisis. At the same time, we find ourselves in a profound crisis of capitalism as a world-ecological system, a crisis that for the first time in history links the future of all persons living on the planet.


Capitalism is not only a global economic system that in its modern form – as a production system – is based on private property and paid labor, on a pressure of accumulation and growth and on the separation of politics and the economy. Simultaneously, it is a specific and historically unique form of the transformation of materials and energy into useful goods and services through human labor. Its metabolism rests on the development and plundering of all renewable and non-renewable "free services of nature" (Marx) and on the completely irresponsible filling of natural depressions (or sinks) for solid, liquid and gaseous materials that remain and are treated as "waste" after their use in production and services.


In capitalism, the inner and outer nature of persons become objectd of economic exploitation sooner or later. This includes incursions into the biological realities of life like changing whole landscapes, the destruction of countless species, and the change of the world climate. Much has been discussed on the left about the causes, forms and momentous consequences of the socioeconomic crisis of capitalism. The dynamic of the ecological crisis of capitalism is still treated as a secondary problem. However, why capitalism as a world-ecological system has no future should be clear. Only a radical breach with the capitalist accumulation dynamic can nurture the hope of a reasonably tolerable future for human civilization on this planet.


Capitalism stands for a movement of endless profit-making. Its driving force sweeps away the old rule relations in the past, replaces staid technology with new and more flexible technology and thereby brings many easements and improvements of everyday life. Again and again, capitalism was strengthened and emerged rejuvenated out of the crisis of its accumulation dynamic. Why couldn't this also be true in the future? Couldn't the stuttering economic engine in western industrial countries be stimulated by massive investments in resource-saving new technologies increasing efficiency, through information-based services and "smart" infrastructures – financed by enormous public-private partnership projects between global financial capital and public funding sources? The "green economy" is a rewarding business. That is the promise of the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, UN organizations like UNCTAD and UNEF, the European Commission and countless think tanks and lobby organizations of transnational corporations and Green parties. The German government also expects an improvement of urban infrastructures and recycling techniques from a low-coal energy supply and from bio-refineries utilizing CO2 as a carbon fuel source so "the environment," "the climate" or even "the planet" will be saved.


Climate change is not avoidable anymore today even if its cumulative effects are first expected in the middle of the millennium. The higher CO2 concentrations and the subsequent global warming mark a planetary limit whose exceeding could lead to a collapse of complex eco-systems. The nitrogen cycle and the loss of diversity of species are also in the red. The planetary limits are very near with the hyper-acidity of the oceans and in global fresh-water consumption as well as in changes of land use. In the new report of the Club of Rome, Jurgen Randers makes a global prediction for the coming 40 years. His prognosis is depressing because the "war against the planet" (Bardi) will continue in the first half of the century. The world after 2050 will land in the dangerous path of self-reinforcing global warming. "Everyone, particularly the poor, will live in a world increasingly marked by chaos and climate damage," Randers warns. Only "a miracle" could ensure that human civilization will be "in a desirable and stable situation" by the end of the century.


But can we expect such a turn from capitalism? What is "new" in capitalism is controlled by the infinite movement of capital. The capital investment for the sake of profit must increasingly return to the investor…


Thus the future is planned as an extension of the present. Capital investors are mainly conservative and hardly open to the new. The future should raise more money tomorrow on the basis of what is conceivable today and not really give rise to anything categorically new… What appears tomorrow as new is what promises a high return on capital today.


If a technology, a piece of nature, a group of persons or some cultural artifact does not promise a little more income or return on capital in the near future, it will probably not be developed, produced, preserved or protected in capitalism. Gunther Anders described this peculiarity of capitalism as the "presentation of the future." We could even speak of a "colonization of the future by the present." Therefore, whoever wants another future than what the omnipresence of capitalism allows should really hope a "miracle" brings human civilization into a halfway desirable and stable situation at the end of this century.


But there are only miracles in fairy-tales. In banal reality, politics must help the unlikely to breakthrough. One prerequisite is the immediate and radical exit from the coal-based energy foundation of modern industrial capitalism – before reaching the tipping points of the bio-physical systems…


To contain climate change, 80 percent of known reserves in fossil fuels should remain in the ground. In the US, this amounts to 92%, in the EU 78% of all coal reserves and around two-thirds in China and India. Large parts of the oil reserves in the Middle East, as well as 60% of gas reserves, must stay in the ground. Unconventionally produced oil whose production in North America works like an economic engine for the world economy and production in the Arctic would be completely taboo (cf. Ekins/ McGlade 2015).


The interests of the coal-, oil-, natural gas- petrochemical and auto-industries and energy suppliers dependent on these industrial branches stand in the way. Their representatives will do everything to prevent the fast and extensive transformation in energy, agriculture, transportation and production required in the next two to three decades. Their arguments are heard again and again. A "good life within the burden limits of our planet" – according to the new report of the European Environmental Agency (EEA) – will only be possible if the very profitable fossil energy is replaced by renewable energy and energy needs altogether are reduced. However, three-quarters of the energy consumed in the EU are still produced with fossil fuel.


Not much will change in the foreseeable future. For the next 20 years – and these are crucial years for avoiding the worst case – the EEA only expects negative developments regarding greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the extent of energy consumption and the use of fossil fuel.


The "war against the planet" cannot be stopped with a mix of half-hearted production of renewable energy, accelerated technological change, and appeals for changing consumption and lifestyles. As long as production is expanded as in the auto-industry, scale-effects of growth will consume efficiency gains through new, resource-sparing technical procedures or substitute materials. This has been thematicized for many years under the term rebound-effects. However, financial capital plays a decisive braking role in "ecological restructuring." Credits or investment capital must be made available for the desired change. This would inevitably put pressure on productive capital… However, financial capital only pursues short-term interests in the profitability of invested capital. Therefore, risk-adverse investments have priority over investments in technologies necessary for a radical paradigmatic change of production structures. Financial capital is not only necessary for the ecological transformation of the existing industry infrastructures but also for building many labor-intensive services (in transformation, health, information technology and tourism). These produce fewer CO2 emissions but need much fixed capital for building the necessary infrastructures.


Wind- and solar energy also require a considerable material input for their production. They need special raw materials that cannot be substituted and are also sought for other projects. This forces up both the consumption and the costs of extraction of many of these materials identified as strategic by the EU. These materials scarce in the geopolitical sense are only produced in an energy-intensive way and are very hard to recycle and decompose…


In the developed industrial countries of the OECD world, the vision of a "green capitalism" fulfills an important ideological function. It promises to bridge the chasm between unlimited pretentious thinking (in the form of profit or consumption) and the physical finiteness of resources and sinks through technical innovations. This is a dangerous illusion because it legitimates the postponement of political decisions that must be made today to avert the collapse of the eco-systems before reaching the tipping point.


The social and economic systems also inevitably fall under pressure at the tipping points of the eco-systems. Woe to the one without increasing adaptability to the changes that change inevitably brings – and if this elasticity of the social systems and the readiness and capacity of people to react to shocks do not skyrocket. Many people in countries of the global South may be better prepared for this challenge than people in developed industrial countries who can hardly conceive a life beyond "always the same time" and "more and more of the same."


Social advances in the sense of protecting and expanding political, social and industrial civil rights and participation of all citizens in the community in "public affairs" holds societies together. However, advances do not result as unintentional side-effects of increased production, profit, and consumption. Advances will only be possible when people can imagine the future as something fundamentally new and different than an extended and improved capitalism.


No one can predict what forces will initiate the "great change" – whether plights, catastrophes or wars will decide the balance or whether the change will be reason-guided and triggered by the many little experiments and initiatives existing everywhere in the world today.

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
"Liberalization of Public Service" Christine Wicht and Carsten Lenz Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at 12:07 PM
Hear Joe Kennedy on PBS! marc Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 at 3:19 PM
The Art of the Lie Democracy 21 and Common Cause Education Fund Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 at 5:23 AM

Local News

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out J30 3:44PM

Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter J26 7:02PM

Women's March L.A., 2018 J24 4:39PM

The case for US government sanctions on Israel J23 5:36PM

 Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4 J22 9:07PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3 J22 8:24PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2 J22 7:36PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1 J22 7:14PM

Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform J21 12:43PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

Chris Ballew beat up by Pasadena police J05 5:01PM

Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey explains how the LAPD's Board of Rights hearings work J05 3:40PM

An Ex-Cop Talks About Police Shootings J05 3:39PM

Do Nukes Kill? J02 4:40PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Le serment d'impunité F25 2:14AM

Subversion de la théorie F24 1:02AM

Feds Using Mobile X-Ray Vans On U.S. Streets (Fox News) F23 8:38PM

Tantra & The San Francisco Two-Spirit PowWow F23 5:59PM

Adam Smith as Philanthropist F23 6:43AM

The Shortwave Report 02/23/18 Listen Globally! F22 5:03PM

Hero Hunters Cheat - Guide - Tips to Win F22 12:57PM

Paraphysique de l'anaphore F21 11:14PM

“Lost in a Dream” Karaoke Competition Promises $20,000 Prize! F21 10:43AM

NYPD Case Calls Attention to 'Consent Defense' That Can Be Used by Officers Accused of Rap F20 11:59PM

Hero Hunters Hack - Get Unlimited Bucks and Gold F20 3:27PM

Our Beneficial River Jordan F20 11:43AM

State Investments and the Public Sector F20 6:13AM

Apprentissage irrémissible F19 11:12PM

Sauve-qui-peut du gâchis F18 12:09AM

Talon de fer F17 1:50AM

The Shortwave Report 02/16/18 Listen Globally! F15 4:24PM

The judiciary could force America to solve the homeless crisis F15 9:56AM

The torrefied pellet plant will not be built on the Limousin mountain! F15 6:19AM

Endf Russophobia! Time for a New Detente Policy F15 4:27AM

Paraphysique du catastrophisme F14 11:22PM

Baltimore police union balks at policy requiring officers to pay some legal damages themse F14 6:19PM

Researching Islamic Terrorism in Europe. F14 5:08PM

Asian American Stereotypes in Media F14 2:33PM

La diversité clonée F14 1:59AM

Forever Fierce Day F13 3:18AM

A l'époque du spectaculaire concentré et diffus ( Hommage à feu Michel Noury ) F12 10:34PM

Zombie Capitalism F12 4:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy