Re: Beijing Paper by Michael Perelman
Source Jurriaan Bendien
Date 13/10/08/22:58

Re: Beijing Paper-Constant Capital, Accumulation, Sustainability, and Economic Theory

Michael I admire your effort to go to China to teach people there, but I am not really sure what your paper is about, what the main point is. It is long on personal reflections, and short on expository.

The ruling economics these days is not neoclassical economics, but financial economics, but Marxists are still fighting the economics of the past.

Financial economics has a different way of dealing with capital, in terms of accounting concepts and probability theory.

A lot of environmental economics is just as dubious as what came before it. The concept of sustainability is a bourgeois-ideological concept, which could refer to physical sustainability, human sustainability, technical sustainability or financial sustainability (profitability). But since we can make few accurate predictions for any period longer than 5 years or so, sustainability is largely a speculative, metaphysical concept.

Adding a heavy dose of math does not eliminate the metaphysics of sustainability.

The only real sense in sustainability is that you should simply not do certain activities, period, because they poison the planet. But that is exactly what the sustainability ideologues reject. They think you can have capitalism and sustainability, i.e. they think a capitalism can be found which is sustainable. That is the whole point of their discourse.

Your paper abstracts (perhaps diplomatically) from the Marxist environmental ethic and the Maoist environmental ethic. I think that is a bad move, because judging from my talks with Chinese academics - Chinese Marxism is largely a moralism about how people ought to be.


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