Carrying capacity, technology, and ecomodernist confusion
Publisher: Climate and Capitalism
Date Written: 29/08/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23048
Biologist Michael Frieman responds to an article titled "The Earth's Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed" by Ted Nordhaus, an executive director of the Breakthrough Institute and strong proponent of ecomodernism. Friedman counters the idea that capitalist technology is capable of solving virtually any of the environmental problems generated by humankind while still making eternal capitalist growth possible- a viewpoint based on assumptions that are fraught with problems.
Underlying all, there is a dynamic - capital accumulation - which is responsible for most resource use and waste, but does not derive from consumption, much less from human need, although it demands increasing levels of consumption and strives toward unending growth. As environmental writer and soil scientist Fred Magdoff asked at the recent inauguration of the new Science for the People magazine, "why must capitalists spend billions of dollars on marketing if ordinary people are prone to endlessly growing consumption?"