Archive for John Bellamy Foster

Red Earth

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2017 by rgwallace

Red Earth 4They lived like monkeys still, while their new god powers lay around them in the weeds. ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars

For a column to be published on Earth Day, the day of the March for Science, a reporter asked me three questions: Why are capitalism and environmentalism inherently incompatible? Why is industrial farming harmful to the environment? And why are corporate sustainability and carbon footprint reduction programs so often a farce?

Drawing from previous essays, the newly emergent ecological Marx, both sides of the John Bellamy Foster and Jason Moore debate, and the clash over environmental destruction under pre-capitalist formations, I answered all three together in what follows, parts of which the columnist may excerpt.

Capitalism is fundamentally different from any other social organization in human history. There is the matter of scale, of course. The environmental destruction arising from the system’s mode of production is now global and geological.
Continue reading

Advertisements

The Alan Greenspan Strain

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by rgwallace

First, a question with which few biogeographers bother. If a goodly chunk of their discipline is dedicated to veiling the impact capitalism imposes on the natural world (discussed here and here), how can researchers interested in paying their bills study the crises that threaten the posh gamblers for whom, however distally, they ultimately work?

For those who study pathogens, the answer is a short one. Focus on viruses and bacteria as biomedical objects alone. The spread and evolution of these lil’ nasties can be tracked underneath the microscope or, at the public health level, across computer maps, but rarely over their rough-and-tumble geographies.

Otherwise, the problem of a pathogen, already treacherous, becomes in such a political context nigh impossible. God forbid, researchers might be forced to study the social relationships that bind together and separate out populations across  capitalist landscapes near and far. The corrupt omission, a constant headache, is eased with a trail of career pellets, however routinely the solutions that result may fail.

As recent work on one virus illustrates, however, there is another way.

Continue reading