I'm profoundly moved by this critique (pdf!) of my erstwhile champion of awesome, Herman Daly (via Climate and Capitalism).You see, I'm definitely a third way kind of person myself: I'm quite happy to rail against capitalism but I'm not at all convinced by the fractious intellectual snobbery of the socialist mob. That's why I mention evidence-based policy so often: because it rejects all and any ideology. I suppose I'm a technocrat.
Anyway, back to the epic critique of our boy Herman. The main point that the author, Richard Smith, makes about Herman's ecological economic movement- and this is reinforced in his rebuttal of Herman's own response to the original article- is that Herman considers it is possible to conduct steady-state capitalism whilst Smith considers capitalism to be a fundamentally expansionist concept that cannot be constrained by regulation. This is a point I have flirted with several times, comparing the race between regulation and the armies of lawyers accountants and scientists employed by corporations to circumvent that legislation to the behaviour of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. (A metaphor that I am not the first to appropriate.) Unfortunately for Herman, and also for a variety of other "steady state capitalism" advocates , I find this argument entirely convincing. As does Smith, who takes great pains to clarify that he doesn't have the ready-formed and robustly functional alternative to SSE that Herman demands of him in his response. Instead, Smith calls for an urgent debate to be inititated to establish the shape of such a system before we are run out of time and resources.
At this point, unfortunately, my interest in eco-socialism wanes because I cannot see any such debate occurring on any significant scale. Indeed, such debates have been occurring in isolated pockets- and even in more medium sized institutions of late- but they remain an activity of the sideline and I cannot believe that any such conversation will reach the mainstream before the oil runs out, the seas rise and acidify and Sarah Palin launches her holy war against European Islamofascism.
punkscience sighs deeply and flicks back to his PDF of Survival+