newbie on Participatory Economics

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Jul 21 08:53:56 PDT 1998

Mathew Forstater wrote:

>On Tue, 21 Jul 1998, Doug Henwood wrote:
>> Blind item of the day - what famous localist critic of technology and
>> development won't go anywhere without a first-class air ticket being
>> provided?
>Well, I remember you making some similar comment about Vandana Shiva a
>year or two ago on the femecon list. and Louis Proyect makes some
>similar--though not altogether clear--remark on his web-page, I believe
>in the article on the Rethinking Marxism conference of a couple years ago,
>so that's my guess. But, not being an insider and having no more
>information than this, I have a feeling this is not entirely fair or

Actually I think it speaks volumes about the class nature of a lot of the antidevelopmentalist critique - that in many cases it comes from a position of privilege, even though it's framed in democratic rhetoric. It's closely related to Rockefeller environmentalism, which is (literally) Malthusian and contemptuous of the masses. Didn't some British lord or other object to the proliferation of trains by saying that they will only encourage the masses to scurry needlessly about? One of the challenges for a red-green synthesis is to develop an ecologically sensitive economic system that doesn't reproduce this elitism - and to expose that elitism it wherever it lurks. Anti-enviros like Ron Arnold have found it easy to recruit middle- and working-class people to his Wise Use movement precisely because of this class snobbery. It's no accident that when he wasn't developing his population theories, Malthus was also an apologist for elite overconsumption.


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