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Provides the evidence that the green agenda was started by big business and its advisors meeting at the Council of Rome to boost profits by generating demand for new products whilst simultaneously cutting wages. A useful counterargument to the current western propaganda that we are all doomed unless we believe in made-made global warming and take a cut in living standards to maintain the current 1%/99% wealth distribution.
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Cynical Brit Skewers Green Consumerism2 April 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I thought I was a cynical anti-capitalist Brit, but James Heartfield takes the biscuit!
In summary, the book proposes that the climate crisis and concepts like sustainability have been manufactured by capitalism to further it's own ends. Ultimate scorn is reserved for green consumerism: a scorn which I share. I used to subsrcibe to Dwell magazine but it rapidly became clear that it is a lifestyle magazine for self-styled rich hip greens who can afford VOC-free carpets and solar power while the rest of wallow in the toxicity of our lead-infested innercity homes. The magazine is full of ads for luxury cars and gas guzzling SUVs - go figure. I also agree with Heartfield that corporations and capitalists in general are profiteering from the environmental despoiling of the earth with the aim of maintaining the class divisions in society, etc, etc. But what irked was that in no point in the book did he admit that there IS an environmental problem nor propose any real alternative to address it. I don't think there's many well-informed individuals of any political stripe who do not admit that we have negatively impacted the environment and and that its resources will eventually run out. It would have bolstered Heartfield's argument to have admitted this. Does he really believe that there is no environmental crisis?
There is also some suspect scholarship. When talking about green socialismm, with a quick aside he dismisses John Bellamy Foster's insights into the relationship between Marxism and ecology. It is very hard to read Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature without admitting that Marx considered natural ecology to a significant degree in the formulation of his materialist viewpoint and his critique of capitalism. And consequently how Marxism provides useful tools for thinking about the material relationship between humans and nature. Has Heartfield actually read the book?
The book is clearly self-published (good for him!) and needs a good proof-reading to correct errors in the table of contents, inconsistent heading styles and grammatical errors. Not huge issues in themselves but they do add up to give an impression of sloppiness.
In spite of these negatives the book is a thought-provoking look at how capitalism manufactures the circumstances for its own survival. And althought the book irks me it did make me think. I am speaking on a panel about green capitalism and will definitely be mentioning Heartfield.