Archive for Lauderdale paradox

Red Earth

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

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.
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Von New Man

Posted in Ecological resilience, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by Rob Wallace

1368191281_gravity-oo6We feel compelled to open the Pandora’s boxes we search for:

The protagonist of Alastair Reynolds’s first space opera discovers an ancient alien artifact. Despite all warnings, his curiosity and ingenuity–and by extension humanity’s–drives galactic archeologist Dan Sylveste to ‘solve’ it.

The artifact proves a von Neumann machine, suddenly weaponized to destroy the civilization a threat enough to open it.

The irony that the aliens are by this time long extinct provoked the thought that should we fail to check the most myopic of our own practices–in my view, capitalism’s first and second contradictions, the Jevons trap, Lauderdale’s paradox, and a self-fulfilling declensionist rationalization–humanity may act as its own von Neumann.