Tagged ‘Growth‘

Green Autarky: Self Sufficiency Against the Growth Based Model of Industrial Capitalism

Nullus Locus Sine Genio – No place without spirit

July 30, 2019

By Robin Monotti Graziadei

Green Autarky: Self Sufficiency Against the Growth Based Model of Industrial Capitalism


Pier Paolo Pasolini: “Intelligence will never have much value in the collective judgment of this public’s opinion.”

Those who want “growth” in that sense are those who produce; that is the industrialists. And, as “growth” in Italy is this growth, they are more exactly those industrialists who produce superfluous goods. Technology (applied science) has created the possibility of a practically unlimited industrialization, of a solidly transnational character. The consumers of superfluous goods, on their part, irrationally and unknowingly agree in wanting “growth” (this growth). For them it means social advancement and liberation, with a consequent repudiation of the cultural values that had provided them with the models of being the “poor”, the “workers”, the “savers”, the “soldiers”, the “believers”. The “masses” are therefore for “growth”: but they live this ideology only existentially, and existentially they carry the new values of consumerism. This does not deny that their choice is decisive, triumphalist and adamant. – Pier Paolo Pasolini “Growth and Progress” (1973)

The model which environmental or ecological awareness places under threat is the “growth” based model of industry based capitalism.

It is the “growth” based model of industrial capitalism which is the main driving force behind the production of superfluous goods.

It is the industrial production of superfluous goods which is the main driving force behind today’s dominant ideology of mass consumerism.

The environmental problem this raises is that there are not enough resources, not enough nature to pursue a growth based industrial model of capitalism and save the planet’s ecology at the same time, given that industrial capitalism comes intrinsic and intertwined with the mass production of superfluous goods and the ideology of mass consumerism.

It is clear that in order to save the planet it is the industry based model of economic growth that needs to go.

Industrialists and financiers are very aware of this, and are once again turning the problem on its head.

They have turned ecological concern of the masses into a marketing campaign for industrially produced renewable energy.

This is because they are trying to save their own profits, not the planet.

They are trying to save the “growth” based model of industrial capitalism, not the ecology.

Any form of energy, also renewable energy, that is deployed on an industrial scale in order to supply a “growth” based model of industrial capitalism will ultimately destroy the ecology of the planet.

Therefore they are putting a human face on industrial renewable energy in order to save the growth based model of capitalism which provides them huge profits.

They are up to their old tricks, and need to be exposed for the frauds they are and have always been.

The new human face of “Green” renewable industrial energy is also a fraud if its not divested from a growth based model of industrial capitalism and also is a declared anti-war of aggression position at the same time: corporate neocolonialist wars for resources are the direct result of unfettered growth based capitalism, as the supply chains of renewable energy on an industrial scale means many more wars in mineral rich regions such as Congo, and other regions of Africa.

It is the growth based model of capitalism it feeds which is the problem of industrial production, regardless of the colour of its energy.

Therefore growth based capitalism and industrial production are two sides of the same coin: you can’t separate one from the other.

The entire first world society that has already experienced a growth based economy needs to be the first to transition towards a de-growth economy, an economy of self sufficiency where you eat and consume what you really need. This needs to happen outside the logic of consumerism promoted by industrial capitalism. Growth based industry seeks economic profits globally and it is this model which ultimately depletes the planet environmentally at a global scale and economically only enriches industrialists and their shareholders while impoverishing everyone else.

It does not matter if the new face of industry is now “Green” energy: It is still a massive fraud if it does not promote a de-growth model which moves away from industrial production for profit to production for self sufficiency (to survive on at a local scale not to sell on a global scale). That is why self sufficiency is also a key concept of the de-growth model.


[Robin Monotti Graziadei is an Italian architect and film producer based in London. He is the managing partner of Robin Monotti Architects, a firm that he founded in 2007. In 2010, Monotti won the RIBA and Royal Parks Foundation’s International Drinking Fountain Design Competition with his Watering Holes fountain design. In 2016 Robin co-founded the film production company Luminous Arts Productions. You can follow him on twitter.]

LISTEN: The Lies They Tell. The Pitiful State of Environmentalism and its Neoliberalization

Wrong Kind of Green

October 29, 2016

The “New Economy” is Not Inclusive

“The route for real change is not via those who are already totally vested in the growth economy and have gained power through it. Rather look for power amongst those who are disenfranchised by the capital accumulating system. Give them voice. Look to organisations that care for them and if they do not exist, create them. Remember that the vast majority are disenfranchised by the current economic system.”

Professor Clive L. Spash holds the Chair of Public Policy & Governance at WU in Vienna and is Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Values. He has conducted research on climate change economics and policy for over 25 years and his work in the area includes the book Greenhouse economics: Value and ethics as well as numerous articles. His critique of carbon trading was the subject of attempted censorship while he was a senior civil servant at the CSIRO in Australia. More information can be found at

[Filmed by Nemnövekedés – Degrowth – Published September 9, 2016]



Creating a Movement for Ecological Sanity

by Lorna Salzman

It has not escaped notice that global warming impacts are proceeding apace with no impediments and barely noticeable responses. Numerous groups scramble each day, wring their hands, scratch their heads, yet an effective political response COMMENSURATE WITH THE THREAT is still absent. Clearly we still lack some important tools, concepts and objectives to confront those – in the majority – who still think marginal and incremental reforms to Business As Usual will do the trick. Here are some thoughts about how we might create an effective movement to bring about the fundamental and systemic changes needed, focusing on what will be needed at a minimum to reverse our race to the precipice.


A handful of committed scientists, academics, economists and writers, including Gus Speth, James Hansen, Bill McKibben, and E.O. Wilson, have spoken out and some are preparing to join in nonviolent direct action. But these are not enough. Across the country, in universities and elsewhere, there are thousands of worried scientists and teachers who need to join their voices and hands in a unified movement that will focus on two things: informing the public of the truth, and making their voices heard by lawmakers in congress. As soon as they take the lead, they will find millions of people behind them, allowing them to provide the legitimacy and credibility needed to counteract the doubters, deniers and growth-fixated corporations. THESE LEADERS MUST SPEARHEAD AN ECOLOGICALLY BASED LEGISLATIVE AGENDA BASED ON SCIENCE, NOT POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE.


The obstacles to serious action are numerous and consist primarily of institutions and policies that grow out of the economic growth paradigm that created the problem to begin with. These include both social and economic policies such as: tax codes, subsidies, building codes, land use control, habitat management, unenforced health, safety and environmental regulations, investment criteria, the electoral process, lobbying and PACs, “free” trade, corporate dominance, and globalized investment. Most significantly, the legislative response in congress has been gravely diluted to accommodate special interests, minimize inconvenience to international capital, facilitate increasing consumption, retain access to cheap labor, and is based on political feasibility rather than science. WE MUST ORGANIZE TO PROMOTE OUR AGENDA, NOT THE MEEK DILUTED ONE OFFERED TO US BY CONGRESS.IF OUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES REJECT OUR DEMANDS, WE MUST REPLACE THEM AT ELECTION TIME.

The public has traditionally accepted the decisions of its legislative, executive, regulatory and financial wizards, in exchange for cheap fuel, food and mobility. The climate change regime can no longer provide these benefits. It is time to reject the hegemony and conditions laid down by the agencies of government and finance who got us into this mess, while accepting our own responsibility for overconsumption and economic inequality. We can no longer believe in or trust our lawmakers, our mass media, and above all our financial structures. We need to withdraw our reliance on the bureaucracies and institutions that we do not control, by starting to resist and withhold the powers we unwittingly bestowed on them.


The evidence of the Democratic Party’s betrayal of progressive policies and legislation is now on the record, as is their deference to corporate and financial interests. In the past year alone, the president and the Democrats in congress have slaughtered climate change legislation even after drastically diluting it down under energy industry pressure; made their opposition to universal single payer health care clear and unwavering; continued the military’s drain on the treasury and taxpayer by funding an unwinnable war in the middle east, to the extent of enriching Pakistan’s ISI which in turn is training and assisting the Taliban to kill American soldiers; been unwilling to pursue banking and Wall St. thieves and criminals for demonstrable high crimes and misdemeanors, among other things. Enrolled Democrats, scared out of their wits over the Tea Party rabble rousers and a conservative trend in the Supreme Court, continue to swallow their party’s scare tactics and blackmail and vote the same men into office who are directly responsible for allowing the country’s economy, health care system and environment to be sacrificed in the name of the false idol called Economic Growth. The Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the solution, and should be shown the door for once and for all.


Economic growth has already contracted because of the recession; we need to continue our “voluntary frugality” so as to reduce the size and impact of our corpulent wasteful society back to a sustainable and just level. This means preaching, practicing and pursuing all means of reducing individual consumption and waste, while committing ourselves to the redistribution of wealth. REDUCED CONSUMPTION REDUCES THE POWER OF THOSE IN CONTROL OF OUR ECONOMIES.

Numerous groups have sprung up, variously supporting “green jobs”, “green growth”, “Jobs for all”, and notably the Apollo Alliance, based on the prospect of a renewable energy economy. Unfortunately most of these groups lack a sense of urgency about the need for rapid deep cuts in energy consumption and for focusing sharply on energy efficiency, preferring to avoid the negative impacts of climate change so as to not alarm the public. This distraction has soothed the anxiety of the public but in so doing has distracted attention away from the actions that need to be taken IMMEDIATELY.

Additionally, these groups have neatly avoided the issue of economic growth and in so doing have created a false sense of security, leading many people to believe that the renewable energy economy(as well as the federal stimulus funds) can mature soon enough to rescue the country, and that it will allow a continuation of the consumer society without major social disruption. This is a huge disservice and one that could doom any movement for the far greater systemic changes that are necessary and that cannot occur until the fixation on consumption and economic growth is ended.


We unquestionably do this for our children. Why should we not do it in the interest of saving the earth…on which our children will need to live? Not all the things we need to do actually involve some kind of pain or inconvenience: walking or biking instead of driving; putting on a sweater instead of overheating our homes; eating fresh unprocessed foods instead of the pre-packaged food surrogates that populate our supermarket shelves, while refusing to eat out-of-season foods imported from thousands of miles away, such as strawberries and tomatoes in winter. Major sacrifices will have to be made in order for us to shut down coal power plants expeditiously and the public needs to know this. SOME HARDSHIP NOW WILL BRING A BETTER WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN IN THE FUTURE.


While the sustainability of large cities which import their food, water and energy from elsewhere will be called more and more into question as climate change proceeds, smaller towns and regions will be able to adjust more readily by a relocalization of their economies, both those of the local community and of the larger bioregion whose natural resources will need to be preserved and utilized for local and regional benefit, not export. Serious analysis and planning will be needed not just to promote local economies but to defend against the forces at the national level that penalize them or prevent them from achieving local self-reliance. RELOCALIZATION IS ARGUABLY THE MOST URGENT TASK FACING AMERICAN SOCIETY AND MUST BE CONFRONTED QUICKLY.

Attempts have already begun in New England and the Hudson River Valley (Sustainable Hudson Valley) to envision what needs to be done or not done, to allow the survival and flourishing of local economies, with special attention given to small scale development, land reclamation, preservation of fresh water supplies, lakes, streams, wetlands, minerals, forests, agricultural land, and wildlife habitat, as well as ending suburban and exurban sprawl and controlling population growth. Distributed renewable energy, regional low impact transportation, compact settlements, animal husbandry, agriculture, and artisanal food will be indispensable. ONLY SMALL SCALE LOCALIZED ECONOMIES POSSESS THE SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL RESILIENCE NEEDED TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE.


The avenues to the necessary kind of change are few in number but evident: legislation/regulation; taxation; redefinition of public and private property.
Environmental havoc has been wreaked because of a failure to define and protect the public COMMONS. Capitalism has failed to protect the ecological capital that belongs to everyone: air, water, soil, and natural resources. By first commodifying all aspects of the commons, it has then allowed the privatization and sale of its parts, starting with land and the resources under and on top of it; efforts have started to privatize water (the scarcity of which is rapidly increasing and already generating conflicts), and the proposal to allow the trading of carbon permits for greenhouse gas emissions has in effect conceded ownership of the atmosphere, and the right to pollute it, to private industry. COMMODIFICATION AND PRIVATIZATION OF THE EARTH’S RESOURCES AND ECOSYSTEMS MUST BE REVERSED.

No political movement will be successful unless it integrates these parts into a comprehensive agenda that can be implemented through federal legislation, regional land use planning, decentralized economies, community empowerment and decision making, guided by an ecological sensibility rather than economic feasibility, a sensibility that refuses easy paths and compromises and is willing to accept interim sacrifice in the interest of long-term survival.