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The Forum > Article Comments > Postcapitalising post carbon for the win > Comments

Postcapitalising post carbon for the win : Comments

By Karun Cowper, published 23/5/2018

Postcapitalism is not about inventing something new or imposing unrealistic utopias but is about building on existing movements, emerging successes and resilient ecosystems.

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We will not have an economic if we keep 'transitioning’ away fossil fuels to renewable energy which is simply unaffordable; subsidies alone cost is $3.4 billion annually, to say nothing of the gouging of AGL and the like.

“Postcapitalism” can only mean communism; so, talking about “building on existing movements” is nonsense
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 9:25:26 AM
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//We have the beginnings of a radically democratised new socioeconomic framework that enables increased capacity for innovation and resilience that prefigures new ecosystems for sustainable communities with solidarity that can be prototyped and defended politically at local and transnational scales.//

//It's about prefiguring, as much as is conceivable, the lives we want in the here and about maximising progressive utilisation of both ancient and modern, physical and non-physical, human and non-human potentialities.//

New ecosystems for sustainable communities with solidarity that can be prototyped? Maximising progressive utilisation of non-physical potentialities?

Dear gods.

Don't bother, folks. It's not an essay, it's a word salad.
Posted by Toni Lavis, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 9:41:57 AM
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Post-capitalism, post-carbon is the only economy that'll survive beyond the 21st century. And will be both digitized and massively automated. And necessarily, recycle everything. Even human waste will be tasked with producing methane which when scrubbed will power the domiciles that created it and forever and a day. Current insane exploitative extreme capitalism will be replaced by the extreme logic of cooperative capitalism, as opposed to simply selling or offshoring everything. Almost as if these were the last days and the future and the next generations didn't matter. Recycling will prove to be the most profitable of enterprises, especially if operated by government facilitated and funded co-ops. And give the great unwashed productive tasks they cans till do, as opposed to paying 90% of the great unwashed unemployment benefits as far into the future as the eye can see. Or just waiting until widespread revolt and rebellion turn the joint into forty thousand ungoverned tribes from what once was a robust and functional civilisation. All competing for what is left of a functional society? If we continue down the present path, everything we own or value will be traded away along with our economic sovereignty for the modern equivalent of forty pieces of silver and a few jobs and possible kickbacks? The green strategy of replacing manufacturing with tourism has resulted in once affordable places being priced beyond the means of joe average and simply can't continue! TBC. Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 23 May 2018 10:03:05 AM
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We can have a better future that leaves nobody behind or begging for their very survival. Or as seen elsewhere, being forced into a lifetime of crime for the same reason. And as long as politicians, good or bad are quarantined from the consequences of their decisions, good or bad. Then outcomes they alone engender will continue to serve nobody. Or foreign interlopers who would see us as tenants in our own country, with a little help from their highly placed friends. Warm and comfortable, says the frog in water being ever so slowly brought to the boil. Only to discover with the dying breath, it's far to late to jump and survive! Our future has to be a largely carbon-free one and with underpinning energy cheap enough to make recycling everything, economically viable. And therefore needs to be nuclear. Not current nuclear, but MSR and thorium. Why? Because one unit of thorium contains as much dispatchable energy a one million hydrocarbon units. I mean, just eight grams costing around a hundred dollars to both mine and refine, could conceivably power your house and car for a century as well as providing your manufactured or processed needs. And I've laid out chapter and verse, in dozens of earlier posts, how we'd earn enough money burning other folks nuclear waste very safely to pay for all of it! Can't died in a cornfield over a century ago! Won't is alive and well and working strenuously against us and the nation's best interests! Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 23 May 2018 10:24:00 AM
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Karun Cowper suggests, perhaps without quite realising it, a reinvention of socialism with a green tinge. Fortunately, this time around Karun does not suggest eliminating price signals or private property - only that these high-tech renewable energy powered communes will emerge of their own accord. Certainly technology has opened up a lot of areas to competition and crowd rule, with the emergence of the likes of Wikipedia. But just how these green powered communes might be of use in activities such as iron ore mining, building bridges or washing powder making - to name just a few economic activities that go on every day - is not explained. However, as Karun does not seem to be suggesting any policy changes he can be left to wait for his expected revolution. The rest of us will move on.
Posted by curmudgeonathome, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 10:44:12 AM
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Cowper's ideas might work very well, if applied to a Solomon Island village of no more than 30 people. Once the population exceeds that you have just too many takers & not enough producers & the whole thing ends in starvation, as so often proved.
Posted by Hasbeen, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 11:45:26 AM
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Our economy may or may not evolve into something postcapitalist (and I expect in the future people will be arguing about whether or not is has) but we can not afford to make our environmental objectives dependent on major changes to the economic system.

But capitalism (or at least the way it has been implemented) is holding back the transition to renewable energy. Renewables have a very different cost structure to fossil fuel power; they're more capital intensive. Currently the financiers are taking a big cut, which pushes up the price, making it uncompetitive so subsidies are required. ttbn has already highlighted the economic absurdity of this, but it is almost as bad from an environmental standpoint as the availability of subsidies becomes a limiting factor. If the government were instead to make concessional loans available for renewable power infrastructure, we could have both cheaper power and much less reliance on fossil fuels sooner.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 12:12:01 PM
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Every western style economy rests on just two support pillars! Energy and capital! And we pay far too much for both or either! And would pay double for renewables, wind and solar voltaic, if we transitioned to them! And would continue to do so regardless of the style of government and its ideological imperatives. And simply selling the farm and everything not nailed down to foreigners, is a zero-sum game that could eventually enslave us or worse? We don't need foreign capital. When WE have a two trillion dollar plus super fund. We just need to deploy an investment vehicle that shepherds it back here and leverages that much again as foreign capital that doesn't come with foreign control or ownership! And that vehicle is popular everywhere else, are self-terminating thirty-year bonds. And ours could also be tax-free for the first ten million? Now if we did what I've also suggested and tied ou energy wagon to MSR's and thorium, to reduce the per KwH o just 2-3 cents? Then followed that with genuine tax reform that made the top tax rate 1% flat? And minus any deduction or any way avoidable. It would gather more revenue lower collection costs, end the money churn that's our costly tax system. Return all tax compliance costs to the bottom line! Thereby making the corporate tax rate an effective 8%. After that, all we'd need to do would be to thoroughly embrace cooperative capitalism as the preferred economic model o turn this place into a virtual paradise, every boy and his dog would want to belong to. Along with every energy dependant high tech manufacturing company, ditto every fully cashed up, self-funded retiree! Those that can't see or want that? have to be willfully blind or be intellectually crippled!
Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 23 May 2018 2:49:19 PM
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Venezuela is a prime example of a socialist, post capitalist nirvana.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Thursday, 24 May 2018 12:55:31 PM
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Shadow, what was the point of your post?

Nobody's claiming Venezuela to be a nirvana. They've implemented a particularly stupid anti-business version of socialism that only a total idiot would want to replicate. Even so, their biggest problems stem not from the socialism but from keeping the official value of their currency fixed against the US dollar.

Have you failed to comprehend that what Venezuela did is not the only alternative to capitalism?
Posted by Aidan, Thursday, 24 May 2018 1:20:04 PM
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will 'friends of the earth' and environmentalist ever get back to something useful like picking up the rubbish?
Posted by runner, Thursday, 24 May 2018 4:46:47 PM
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Will you stop littering so they don't have to?
Posted by Aidan, Thursday, 24 May 2018 5:28:40 PM
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Aidan,

Considering that all the countries that have eschewed capitalism have been dictatorships that brought oppression and misery to its people, there are many to chose from such as:

North Korea,
The USSR,
China under Mao
Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge,
Cuba,

Etc.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Thursday, 24 May 2018 6:07:32 PM
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Shadow,
As we're not restricted to what's been done in the past, and Karun was clearly not advocating communism as an alternative, that's irrelevant.
Posted by Aidan, Thursday, 24 May 2018 6:31:34 PM
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Aidan,

Anyone that ignores history is doomed to repeat it. So far any so-called alternative to capitalism has resulted in misery and oppression.

Karun's incoherent mishmash of feel-good concepts is no alternative to anything.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Friday, 25 May 2018 1:19:35 PM
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Shadow,
If you look at the examples you've provided, you'll see that they're all examples of capitalism being suppressed by an authoritarian anti market ideology. And while Karun's vision is quite incoherent, it is sufficiently clear to rule that out.

See my first post in this thread for my own views of postcapitalism.
Posted by Aidan, Friday, 25 May 2018 1:45:18 PM
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Aidan,

The cost of capital is already at an all-time low. Concessional loans and loan guarantees are still subsidies.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Friday, 25 May 2018 2:21:24 PM
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