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Re: [jox] A response to Michel and Jakob

Hi Michel!

Am 20.03.2012 05:16, schrieb Michel Bauwens:
Do you really think that it is mathematically and physically possible for
an infinite growth system to exist indefinitely ... If yes, I'd like to
hear the arguments for its infinite perennity, which in my understand would
require an overturning of the physical laws that we know. If not, if
capitalism is not infinite, how do we change it.

What are the facts? 400 years of quite steep growth (compared to other periods in the development of mankind), mainly related to the establishment of a cultural-technological infrastructure, that led, mainly within the 20th century, to an explosion of the human population of at least a factor of 10 (from 1 billion around 1900 to more than 10 billion humans those days) driving the relation between the "natural" and this cultural-technological environments into a serious crisis.

So what is the relation to capitalism? Is "growth" a built-in feature of capitalism or did the capitalistic societal structure adapt to growth as an outer factor? There is no practical experience to decide that question since capitalism was growing all the time so far. There is a discussion about the "limits of growth" _within capitalism_ for at least 50 years - a very short time for a process that obviously develops on a time scale of several hundred years. The first answer _within capitalism_ was a notion of "intense development". Starting with the "digital era" we have the "knowledge space" (called the internet) that seems to have no limits so far. Things get more complex. So, can complexity go to infinity within a bounded world?

Anyway, I agree that we are faced with turning points on several time scales and for me there is already strong evidence that it will last 3 or 4 technology cycles (each about 40..50 years and with strong changes within capitalism) better to understand what really will happen on the "long turn". Cycle 2 is the current "revolution in communication" (p2p and all that) that lays the basics for cycle 3, the energetic revolution (ending the era of electrical power as energy transmission, that lasts 150 years, in favour of transport of chemical substances as, e.g., gas). Just two claims, that I will not underpin with more arguments here.

But forgive me if I feel that an approach that is centered on exposing the
strengths of the enemy 'again and again', is much less interesting that one
that analyses the strength of an enemy, in order to overcome it and find
the best ways to do this,

Your personalization ("the enemy") of capitalism is part of the fetish story, that I don't like to tell 'again and again'. I well understand people for whom my story telling is "much less interesting that one ... in order to overcome [the enemy] and find the best ways to do this". I must not tell stories to people who don't like to hear them. I was faced with that militant-marxistic heritage not only once.

May be I misunderstood your point here ...



  Dr. Hans-Gert Graebe, apl. Prof., Inst. Informatik, Univ. Leipzig
  postal address: Postfach 10 09 20, D-04009 Leipzig
  Hausanschrift: Johannisgasse 26, 04103 Leipzig, Raum 5-18	
  email: graebe
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