April 3 12 ENV222 lecture format.doc.docx

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School of Environment
Kenneth Mac Donald

ENV222 23) April 3 Power – increased equity, social justice Lecture format Solution addressed in lecture: the radical solution of ecosocialism, which has as its core value the elimination of capitalism. Capitalism is seen as the basic and most important cause of the environmental crisis and so the solution is to eliminate it and replace it with ecosocialism. 1. Review: power relations as cause Feb. 14 class: domination human-human, linked to human- nonhuman; eg Merchant, plus Hathaway reading ecofeminism (March 29); same male values lead to exploitation of both; plus Macdonald argument Feb. 14; total quantum H-H power (technology; organization; values) is then applied to H-NH, meaning the greater the disparity in H-H power, so also the disparity in H-NH power 2. Concept of ecosocialism . capitalism: from Jan. 26 lecture: a society in which (1) means of production are primarily owned privately; (2) market exchange is the primary means of distributing goods and services; (3) “self-expansion through ceaseless accumulation” – dedication to never ending material production and economic growth; and (4) has a “dark side” of injustice (poverty, unemployment) and environmental damage This raises the question posed Jan. 26, but not answered in that lecture: is it possible to have a “green capitalism”? could we eliminate the dark side re environment and still keep capitalism as defined above? is it possible to eliminate the environment dark side without also eliminating the human social injustice dark side? The Wall (2010) reading implies we cannot – capitalism cannot be reformed, and so must be replaced by socialism and then that must be combined with environmentalism. . ecology: in political terms, comparable to “environmentalism” (Harper, p. 219 ideology calling for reduction of human impact on the nonhuman world, plus action) . socialism: comparable to “social democracy” (eg Sweden, Canadian NDP when first founded) and thereby distinguished from communism of the former USSR which was not democratic and in which means of production were owned by the state and distribution of goods and services was decided by the state, not market; social democracy/socialism, on the other hand, has elections and allows the market to function – however, the state acts to increase social equity (provide housing, income support etc), plays a much larger role relative to the market than in capitalist societies and generally is more favourable to labour than capital . ecosocialism: based on the belief that environmentalism is deficient because it accepts capitalism and that socialism is deficient because it ignores the effects of industrialization on nature; so combines the two (reader p. 446) 1 3. Arguments in favour of ecosocialism . environmentalists do not see capitalism as the basic cause and so cannot solve the problem, even if their prescriptions are adopted . ecosocialism will allow both solving the environmental problem and the social justice problems which were the original impetus for socialism 3. Environmental policy solutions in Wall reading 3.1) Many of the policies proposed in the reading are similar to those advocated by environmentalists: local, organic agriculture; 2) waste reduction; 3) clean energy; 4) clean production, sustainable and recyclable goods; 5) public transportation; and 6) phase out nuclear bombs and nuclear-produced electricity. 3.2) Economic democracy (p. 471) – defined as workers, instead of factory owners, deciding what the factory will produce (or the factory is owned by the workers); or co-operatives instead of for-profit firms; see the list of product design designs recommended by workers at Lucas Aerospace; this would be a radical change in existing power relations between capital and labour; But why would worker owners necessarily make better environmental decisions than
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