In 1997 when foreign traders suddenly pulled the plug

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Unformatted text preview: hat power to take remedial action. Second, when faced with the energy crises of the 1970s and the widespread popular reaction, they did their best to confuse the real issues and limited themselves to making soothing promises which they promptly forgot—and obviously never intended to honor—when things calmed down. (Again Berman and O’Connor provide a wealth of confirming evidence.) By the late 1980s what had seemed to be a snowballing popular movement for an energy new deal was effectively scotched and by now is hardly more than a fading memory. 18 | P a g e Capitalism Critique BDL Capitalism Bad Impact – Environment [___] [___] Capitalism is the root cause of environmental destruction Paul Sweezy, economist and former instructor at Harvard, 2004 (Paul Capitalism and the Environment. Monthly Review, Vol. 56, October 2004) It is this obsession with capital accumulation that distinguishes capitalism from the simple system for satisfying human needs it is portrayed as in mainstream economic theory. And a system driven by capital accumulation is one that never stands still, one that is forever changing, adopting new and discarding old methods of production and distribution, opening up new territories, subjecting to its purposes societies too weak to protect themselves. Caught up in this process of restless innovation and expansion, the system rides roughshod over even its own beneficiaries if they get in its way or fall by the roadside. As far as the natural environment is concerned, capitalism perceives it not as something to be cherished and enjoyed but as a means to the paramount ends of profit-making and still more capital accumulation. Such is the inner nature, the essential drive of the economic system that has generated the present environmental crisis. Naturally it does not operate without opposition. Efforts have always been made to curb its excesses, not only by its victims but also in extreme cases by its more farsighted leaders. Marx, in Capital, wrote feelingly about nineteenth -century movements for factory legislation and the ten-hours bill, describing the latter as a great victory for the politic al economy of the working class. And during the present century conservation movements have emerged in all the leading capitalist countries and have succeeded in imposing certain limits on the more destructive depredations of uncontrolled capital. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that without constraints of this kind arising within the system, capitalism by now would have destroyed both its environment and itself. Not surprisingly, such constraints, while sometimes interfering with the operations of individual capitalists, never go so far as to threaten the system as a whole. Long before that point is reached, the capitalist class, including the state which it controls, mobilizes its defenses to repulse environmental-protection measures perceived as dangerously extreme. Thus despite the development of a growing environmental consciousness and the movements to which it has given rise in the last century, the environmental crisis continues to deepen. There is nothing in the record or on the horizon that cou ld lead us to believe the situation will significantly change in the foreseeable future. If this conclusion is accepte...
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This document was uploaded on 02/06/2014.

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