Archive for the 'sustainability' Category

Nobel price, commons and growth

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Maybe the “smarter factions of capital” knows that capital is doomed, but if that is the case, why do they insist on finding ways for “growth”, even if only through the oxymoron of “sustainable development”? Their intelligence, demonstrated for example by the awarding of the Nobel price to Elinor Ostrom, is to see the commons as the basis for new capitalist growth . . .yet you cannot have capitalist growth without at the same time capitalist enclosures. Their intelligence thus risks to push us all to be players in a drama of the years to come, the civil war of the XXIth century: capital will need the commons and capital will need enclosures, and the commoners at these two ends of capital will be reshuffled in new planetary hierarchies and divisions.

Elinor Ostrom Nobel price helps giving legitimacy to the discourse of the commons. After decades of neoliberalism this is certainly a victory. Elinor Ostrom gives us in principle all the elements we need for a discoursive counterattack, if we link her stuff to a sharp understanding of capital. Her basic point is that self government in commons is not only a viable solution, but preferable on many accounts to markets and states (sustainability, democracy, justice). Yet she also teaches us that for commons to work, they require basic conditions to happen. When you think about these conditions within broader dynamics of capitalism, you realise that many of these conditions are threatened by the working of global competitive markets, the wealth polarisation they create, the regimes of state intervention to limit in many occasions grassroots empowerment through commons, and the necessary enclosures than any regime of capitalist growth require. There is a strong incompatibility between a regime seeking economic growth and the universal creation of conditions that facilitate the development of commons. This incompatibility must be stressed and debated, and in this debate we cannot avoid to stress the role of capital in undermining the conditions for commons for all.

Some of the C0₂ emissions of global production chains

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


An article today on The Guardian reveals the hypocrysy of it all. The world’s shipping fleet without which the burgeoning production chains of global capital would be paralised, emits 1.21bn tonnes of CO2 a year. Aviation, 600million tonnes. Yet shipping has been completely absent from public debate and government targets. (more…)

Microcredit, enclosures, commons

Monday, December 18th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifThis is an extract of a debate on microcredit broadcasted by Democracy Now! (13 December - go here for full coverage in real player) between Susan Davis, founder and chair of the Grameen Foundation, and Vandana Shiva. The occasion was the Nobel Peace price acceptance speech made by the founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. The Commoner has already pusblished a critique of Grameen Bank with the article by George Caffentzis titled Varieties of Bancocide: Left and Right Critiques of the World Bank and IMF, linking microcredit to IMF and World Bank policies.

The debate here extracted is not only informative, it is also enlightening of the gap we have to overcome in our critical discourses. Susan Davis and Vandana Shiva epitomise here two opposite ways to deal with “poverty” and “development”. Susan Davis, in a business like fashion, (more…)

Ethical weaponry

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

The following comes from The Time online edition of few weeks ago. Madness, isn’t it?! Critics may confuse this with hypocrisy, but it is actually much worse than this. It is systemic stupidity. Even managers of an arm company like BAE can be ”ethical” people, worry about the environment and seek for ways to minimise the environmental impact of ammunitions and bomb explosions (sic!) produced by their factories. It is when we measure these individuals’ “ethical” concerns with the practices emerging from the interaction of all these ethical people performing particular roles as business leaders, that systemic stupidity arises. Becasue this is a role that seeks market expansion, and market expansion requires subjecting populations to new rules, new enclosures, new systems of governance. And this increasingly requires war. familyrunning.jpgThe concerns of ethical weapon producers are wahed aside by the sheer growing destructive use of weapons in today’s Empire, the barbaric practices used by the US and Israeli forces in attacking civilians, the maiming and killing children for years to come thanks to scores of unexploded cluster bombs, the use of “next generation weapons” that turn the body into a carbonised lab measuring destructive effectiveness (for a catalogue of latest horrors, browse for example human right watch website). (more…)