Why all the population control hate?

282 posts / 0 new
Last post
piter
Offline
Joined: 30-06-08
Sep 17 2011 07:49

LBird is right in saying that humans arr not only consuming earth ressources.

humans ares also producing earth ressources and as productive natural being are part of earth ressources.

anyway as he said opposing humans and nature is idealistic.

but to be honest I guess Tojiah and others on Libcom are aware of it and are saying nature for "nature exept humans" (but if it cease to be crudely idealistic it is still a wrong reasoning maybe, there is no such thing as nature exept human or exterior to it).

but I think what is at stakes here is the following question :

will humans be able to increase the combined human/earth capacity to produce enough, and that before the actual destruction of the earth reach its point of no return?

will people realised soon enough that it means producing a new kind of human/earth metabolism implying a radically different social system.

otherwise said the actual "limits" of earth ressources are the limits of capitalist relations. (I don't mean that the quantity of water, sun, etc...at "disposal" is not also a "physical" question, but that our capacity to manage this question depends mostly of our capacity of replacing capitalist relations).

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 17 2011 16:04
LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
Are you sure you want to be cited as calling humans a resource?

Are you sure you want to ignore the context of my 'citing', Tojiah?

Aladinane talked about 'the Earth's limited resources', and to carry on their phraseology in the interests of the flow of the discussion, I carefully said 'If we regard "humans" as "earth's main resource"'. I then go on to say that 'Nature isn't a 'resource''. So, anyone actually reading what I wrote can see that, in fact, I didn't 'call humans a resource'.

I thought I was pointing out that the earth and humans are natural products. And as nature is constantly changing itself, the idea of the separation of a 'static' pile of 'resources' from an 'un-natural' leach upon those finite 'resources', is a mistake.

Tojiah wrote:
Is that a good position for a communist to be in?

I'd argue that it's the only 'position for a Communist to be in', regarding our relationship to nature.

The other position, that humans are in some, in fact any, sense separate from nature, will end up with God.

I'm a god-less Communist, so I don't want to take that starting position of the separation of humanity and the earth.

That was a "human resources" joke. But never mind. roll eyes

LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
Because they are living beings...

No, mate, 'because they are natural, productive beings...'.

Nature can amend itself. It is not a 'limited resource'. Nature is us, and we can develop ourselves as natural beings.

The only reason this Nature you speak of can amend itself is because of a specific flux of energy it receives from the Sun on a daily basis, and this flux is limited. If it is overburdened then there will be no Nature, only a desolate piece of dirt like many throughout the universe.

LBird wrote:
I think we all need to have a discussion about these philosophical underpinnings of these two views of the relationship between humans and nature, Tojiah.

I suspect we'll end up in different political positions, depending upon our different philosophical starting points.

My political position is that there's a finite number of people that will be able to sustain themselves on Earth regardless of what social relations they have with each other, and that space travel in order to spread to other planets while terraforming them to human needs is not something we can depend upon to happen without a huge expenditure. If you want me to reformulate this as there being a limited amount of humans on Earth with which Nature can express itself, and its ability to spread them outside of Earth is non-trivial and fraught with difficulty, and there are ways in which Nature could kill itself in the process.

I assume that by Nature you are referring to Earth's biosphere, if you're not then this is a kind of pantheism that is really very removed from real human experience, if you are but think of Nature as being all of reality, then replace "Nature" with "Biosphere" wherever relevant.

In what way does your political position diverge from this?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 17 2011 17:21
Tojiah wrote:
...a specific flux of energy... from the Sun... and this flux is limited. If it is overburdened...

You'll have to clarify this for me, Tojiah, because I don't understand what you're saying.

You seem to be saying that this 'flux' can be 'overburdened' by humans. Is that correct?

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 17 2011 19:24
LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
...a specific flux of energy... from the Sun... and this flux is limited. If it is overburdened...

You'll have to clarify this for me, Tojiah, because I don't understand what you're saying.

You seem to be saying that this 'flux' can be 'overburdened' by humans. Is that correct?

Humans and their actions. Or expressions of Nature, if that's how you want to formulate it. For example, if there are more humans than the amount of energy received from the sun per unit time divided by the amount of energy a human needs from a high quality caloric source per unit time, then people are going to start dying off prematurely due to starvation, either immediately or after all terrestrial resources are consumed. And that ignores entirely many other constraints on human survival and the generation of this caloric intake (since humans do not photosynthesize, although progress may be able to change that, and since humans require certain elements to exist, which progress is not likely to be able t change), so it would be a very lax upper limit.

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 17 2011 23:40

Let me proceed with this in a different fashion, LBird, because it seems to me that I am taking part in a process of digging trenches with jargon: it seems to me that you are suggesting that there are no limitations on how many people can live and thrive on Earth (or generally) that do not result from current social relations. I personally find that this is simply not correct, that there are natural constraints that will apply regardless of the form of social organization, and that that must be taken into account, which is what I was apparently expressing very ineptly.

Now, did you really mean what I think you meant, or did I simply misunderstand you?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 05:10
Tojiah wrote:
Let me proceed with this in a different fashion, LBird, because it seems to me that I am taking part in a process of digging trenches with jargon...

Thanks for re-formulating your answer, unprompted, Tojiah, because I know nothing about 'fluxes' and 'calorific intake', but know a little about political philosophy.

You are right that I do suggest "that there are no limitations on how many people can live and thrive on Earth (or generally) that do not result from current social relations".

Tojiah wrote:
I personally find that this is simply not correct, that there are natural constraints that will apply regardless of the form of social organization, and that that must be taken into account, which is what I was apparently expressing very ineptly.

No, you were not being 'inept', just not getting to the philosophical basis to your political position.

Now that our respective political philosophical bases are 'out in the open', it's easier to take the discussion forward, I think.

My position, in clear: there are no 'natural constraints', only 'social constraints'. Humans are 'natural' and so 'nature' can change itself. 'Nature' is not a fixed phenomenon. All our social production history suggests that this is so: what were considered 'limits' in the past, by the likes of Malthus, have always been shown to be 'social' limits that had the potential to be overcome, rather than absolute 'natural' limits.

Now, I know and you know that we can both point to societies that have exhausted their 'natural resources' and have destroyed themselves.

The question is: which lesson to learn?

'Humans are limited by an external nature', or 'humans are part of a changeable nature'.

It seems to me that these are philosophical questions, and it is my opinion that taking the first lesson will lead to a conservative political position, whilst taking the latter is a necessary step to taking a Communist political position.

What are your feelings on this?

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 18 2011 05:26
LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
Let me proceed with this in a different fashion, LBird, because it seems to me that I am taking part in a process of digging trenches with jargon...

Thanks for re-formulating your answer, unprompted, Tojiah, because I know nothing about 'fluxes' and 'calorific intake', but know a little about political philosophy.

You are right that I do suggest "that there are no limitations on how many people can live and thrive on Earth (or generally) that do not result from current social relations".

Well, then you are wrong. Moreover, it is clear that you diverge from Marx on this point, since he himself based his political philosophy on the material necessities of humans to reproduce themselves, hence on the material.

LBird wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
I personally find that this is simply not correct, that there are natural constraints that will apply regardless of the form of social organization, and that that must be taken into account, which is what I was apparently expressing very ineptly.

No, you were not being 'inept', just not getting to the philosophical basis to your political position.

Now that our respective political philosophical bases are 'out in the open', it's easier to take the discussion forward, I think.

My position, in clear: there are no 'natural constraints', only 'social constraints'. Humans are 'natural' and so 'nature' can change itself. 'Nature' is not a fixed phenomenon. All our social production history suggests that this is so: what were considered 'limits' in the past, by the likes of Malthus, have always been shown to be 'social' limits that had the potential to be overcome, rather than absolute 'natural' limits.

Some things in Nature are fixed. Humans have basic needs, the Sun has a finite amount of energy it sends to Earth, and it will also have a finite lifetime in its current form before it destroys the Earth, though this is geological timelengths away from us so that we can ignore that for the moment. But once all the fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources are depleted, other sources of energy are simply poor-efficiency ways of converting energy from the Sun to our uses.

LBird wrote:
Now, I know and you know that we can both point to societies that have exhausted their 'natural resources' and have destroyed themselves.

The question is: which lesson to learn?

'Humans are limited by an external nature', or 'humans are part of a changeable nature'.

It seems to me that these are philosophical questions, and it is my opinion that taking the first lesson will lead to a conservative political position, whilst taking the latter is a necessary step to taking a Communist political position.

What are your feelings on this?

Again, the first one would be suggested by Marx, who made it clear as the basis of his historical and then dialectical materialism. As for the latter, again, there are things that can be changed (so-called "human nature" is definitely one of them), but if natural physical limits were so easily overcome, somebody would have created a perpetuum mobile and no-one would want of anything. Do you honestly believe that such things are possible? I'm sorry, this sounds like complete fantasy.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 06:14
Tojiah wrote:
Well, then you are wrong. Moreover, it is clear that you diverge from Marx on this point...

Well, I might be 'wrong', mate, but 'diverging from Marx' is not much of an argument to support that position!

Although I would call myself a 'Marxist', I diverge from Marx on lots of issues. Not least, his apparent inability to actually make a 'point' that can be clearly understood! He was a terrible writer, and most of his work can be (and has been and always will be) taken to mean numerous things. But, he's the most thought-provoking bastard...

Tojiah wrote:
...since he himself based his political philosophy on the material necessities of humans to reproduce themselves, hence on the material.

Because we take the position, as you say, that humans are based upon 'material necessities', it doesn't follow that the 'material' is limited. Logically, a 'need' for something doesn't mean that the means of meeting that 'need' are in short supply.

Tojiah wrote:
Some things in Nature are fixed. Humans have basic needs...

'Fixity', eh? Not a good starting point for revolutionaries, eh? And your second point, as I've said, doesn't logically follow from the first.

Tojiah wrote:
...the Sun has a finite amount of energy it sends to Earth, and it will also have a finite lifetime in its current form before it destroys the Earth, though this is geological timelengths away from us so that we can ignore that for the moment.

If, for the purposes of this discussion, we accept that the sun 'has a finite lifetime', and we also know that the end will come in billions of years, how does that affect our current discussions here on Earth, now, in this society?

A cynic would say that switching the discussion from 21st century capitalist society to a far distant consideration, is the tactic of a conservative, who wishes to deflect the discussion from the 'here and now', onto 'angels on a pinhead'.

Tojiah wrote:
But once all the fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources are depleted, other sources of energy are simply poor-efficiency ways of converting energy from the Sun to our uses.

Isn't this just simply saying that 'the way things are now, in our real world, is what we must deal with'? Forgive me for saying this again, but the focus on 'the real world' is also a conservative political tactic. Our position as Communists is precisely to 'change the real' into what is now seen as 'unreal'. Y'know, a revolution.

Tojiah wrote:
Again, the first one would be suggested by Marx, who made it clear as the basis of his historical and then dialectical materialism.

No, I don't agree. You're mistaking accepting a 'material basis' as entailing 'material limits'.

Tojiah wrote:
As for the latter, again, there are things that can be changed (so-called "human nature" is definitely one of them), but if natural physical limits were so easily overcome, somebody would have created a perpetuum mobile and no-one would want of anything.

Yes, I agree with you about 'human nature', but then you're letting rhetoric get the better of you!

Tojiah wrote:
Do you honestly believe that such things are possible? I'm sorry, this sounds like complete fantasy.

Yeah, mate, I agree once again. I'm a Communist. In this 'real material world', a 'complete fantasist'!

Keep going, because I'm having to think about these issues. But I must say, I think that the real issue here is a 'philosophical' one, rather than a 'scientific' one.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Sep 18 2011 08:51
Quote:
[Marx] was a terrible writer

What?!

piter
Offline
Joined: 30-06-08
Sep 18 2011 11:00

as Lbird said taking into account the materiality of nature doesn't imply it is "fixed", humans are constantly modifying nature with their activities (and changing themselves as natural being, and changing their relation to the rest of nature at the same time).

some things (quantity of energy, water, etc, made vailable for human use) are fixed, but only under some conditions which can be changed.

but the question is : will we have the time to change it, to go beyond its limits (with science and above all by changing our social system and our relation or metabolism with the rest of nature), before we self destruct?

piter
Offline
Joined: 30-06-08
Sep 18 2011 11:03

double post. but btw I think Marx is a pretty good writer, even if it 's true that he sometimes can be quite obscure. but that's OT...

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 11:19
Chilli Sauce wrote:
LBird wrote:
[Marx] was a terrible writer

What?!

Ahhhh.... but here Chili's indignation makes clear his lack of dialectical awareness!

LBird (in opposing polarity mode) wrote:
But, he's the most thought-provoking bastard...

And does 'terrible' also mean 'awesome'? It does in Greek, as my friend Charlie would've known...

Deinos

Thanks for the link, Chili. It's a while now since I read that review, and Wheen's biography of Marx.

Marx? We're all trying to stand on his shoulders. Or should we slaughter our gods, the better to stand on their chests? Which gets us higher, and gives us the better view?

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
Sep 18 2011 11:28

LBird, I think Tojiah is arguing that there material constraints in which humanity must opperate, and it seems you are arguing that this is not the case. Then you are saying 'so what if there are, what does it matter?' (eg in the case of the sun running out of energy billions of years in the future).

At the moment it looks like Tojiah is attempting to work out what your philosophical underpinning is.

The land area of the Earth is about 150,000,000 km2 - source http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/DanielChen.shtml

That would mean if there wew 150 quadrillion people on Earth (I think - 150,000,000 x 1,000,000 people per square kilometre) then we would all have 1 square metre of land.

Do you believe it is possible for the Earth to support a human population so large that every single person on Earth can only occupy 1 square metre of land and there is no room for anything else?

Of course we could build up and we could build down - we could even build vast floating things to live on - but if we all went outside there would quite literally be no room. Is this not a physical constraint? It is I think the kind of 'material limit' that Tojiah has in mind.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 11:41
slothjabber wrote:
It is I think the kind of 'material limit' that Tojiah has in mind.

Yeah, I'm sure he has, and the 'kind of limit I have in mind' is a 'philosophical', not a 'material' one.

As I've already made clear:

LBird wrote:
...I think that the real issue here is a 'philosophical' one, rather than a 'scientific' one.

By quoting figures, you're fighting on the wrong terrain.

This is LibCom, not LibSci.

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
Sep 18 2011 12:33

Yeah but 'Com' is 'SciSoc' not 'Unicorn Dreaming'. Do you accept that gravity, space, time and energy exist?

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 18 2011 13:25

I'm sorry, I thought I may have been misrepresenting your view, but if you really believe that reality is so dependent upon human relationships, to the point where basic problems such as the finite amount of space on Earth, the amount of resources required by a human being to survive, etc, are completely plastic, then your theory of reality diverges from mine to the point that we do not have grounds to discuss any political philosophy, because politics happens in the real world, which you clearly do not accept as in any way a constraint - the mere word being a clear indicator to you of conservatism. To me it seems, on the contrary, that it is you who is buried in conservatism, namely the conservatism of capitalist perpetual growth and limits only being set by the heros` imagination. Indeed, if you do not believe that there is any natural constraint, then why should capitalism ever fail? Why should we ever resist it? It is within our power to sustain unlimited expansion! Surely every red-blooded American neo-conservative would agree with you on that, as would those of the gilded age past.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 14:55
slothjabber wrote:
Do you accept that gravity, space, time and energy exist?

And this issue has what to do with a discussion between Communists about 'human population' and our society?

Tojiah wrote:
...basic problems such as the finite amount of space on Earth, the amount of resources required by a human being to survive, etc...

And this issue has what to do with a discussion between Communists about 'human population' and our society?

Tojiah wrote:
...are completely plastic...

Ahhh, 'strawmanning' already, eh?

Tojiah wrote:
...politics happens in the real world...

Would that be the real social world, or the real scientific world?

Tojiah wrote:
...it is you who is buried in conservatism, namely the conservatism of capitalist perpetual growth and limits only being set by the heros` imagination.

Yet more 'strawmanning'. Dear oh dear.

Tojiah wrote:
Indeed, if you do not believe that there is any natural constraint, then why should capitalism ever fail?

So, for you, it's 'natural constraints' that will see the end of capitalism?

Tojiah wrote:
It is within our power to sustain unlimited expansion!

Strike three!

And there's me thinking I was on a Communist board.

When are we going to get to discuss philosophy? Or is 'science' outside of philosophy for you two?

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Sep 18 2011 17:08

What is 'strawmanning', oh and LBird, you took tojiah's comment saying "it is within our power to sustain limited expansion" horribly out of context. He said that as if he was you sarcastically.

Picket's picture
Picket
Offline
Joined: 20-12-10
Sep 18 2011 17:19

A straw man is a claim you pretend the other person made in an argument, so you can attack it instead of the thing they actually said. It normally looks similar enough to what they did say that your opponent might start defending a position they did not hold, if they're not careful.

It's not always a deliberate practice, careless interpretation can lead to straw man attacks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 18 2011 19:58
the croydonian wrote:
What is 'strawmanning', oh and LBird, you took tojiah's comment saying "it is within our power to sustain limited expansion" horribly out of context. He said that as if he was you sarcastically.

Croy, Pikel's link is a good one for you to read up on 'strawmanning'.

And, as I'm sure you'll now recognise as easily as I did, Tojiah's comment was indeed an example of 'strawmanning', by attributing a sarcastic, pretend quote to me, of something I don't argue.

And, not to appear picky croy, but if you quote someone, you really should try to get it correct: he attributed to me the word 'unlimited', not, as you have it, 'limited'.

To help orientate you , croy, the essence of this debate is whether we can talk about 'science' and 'material' outside of social considerations.

Tojiah and slothjabber are trying to drag the discussion into a debate about non-social physical limits, whereas I'm trying to keep it within a discussion of socially-determined (and therefore malleable) limits. I think at the moment I'm supported by pikel, but pikel will have to confirm that themself.

You'll also notice that, so far, all I've done is ask reasonable questions of their position, whereas Tojiah has falsely attributed words to me, and slothjabber has asked a silly question and been rather insulting.

My stance so far? I'm a Communist. Science is a social activity. Humans are part of nature. Nature can change itself. Questions regarding 'human population' are social questions.

Picket's picture
Picket
Offline
Joined: 20-12-10
Sep 18 2011 20:08
LBird wrote:
I think at the moment I'm supported by pikel, but pikel will have to confirm that themself.

I'm a he. Yes I support what you've said by and large, LBird, however as I've said before I don't like the idea of throwing out all but the One True Ideology. I'm still trying to understand the nuances of your opposition to what Tojiah has said, because Tojiah's position seems fair enough when we put down the "everything is social" spectacles for a minute.

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Sep 18 2011 20:58
LBird wrote:
the croydonian wrote:
What is 'strawmanning', oh and LBird, you took tojiah's comment saying "it is within our power to sustain limited expansion" horribly out of context. He said that as if he was you sarcastically.

And, not to appear picky croy, but if you quote someone, you really should try to get it correct: he attributed to me the word 'unlimited', not, as you have it, 'limited'.

Whoops, that's my bad. I knew I should of just clicked the quote button instead of glancing up and doing it manually.

LBird wrote:
My stance so far? I'm a Communist. Science is a social activity. Humans are part of nature. Nature can change itself. Questions regarding 'human population' are social questions.

I can agree with this 100%

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
Sep 19 2011 00:43

I'd like to see you lot "human relation" yourself out of eating and defecating on a daily basis without dying. On some level I'm hoping this is merely an elaborate group troll.

Just to defend myself from these spurious accusations of strawmanning, this is what LBird said earlier:

LBird wrote:
You are right that I do suggest "that there are no limitations on how many people can live and thrive on Earth (or generally) that do not result from current social relations".

There are consequences to such a statement, which I think I explored as honestly as I could.

CRUD's picture
CRUD
Offline
Joined: 11-04-10
Sep 19 2011 06:59

Another thing (i'm not sure if someone already brought this up)....consumption under capitalism indeed can't maintain a large exponentially expanding population (but in many ways needs an expanding population to expand markets). If every person on earth consumed as much as the average American we would need 4 earths to maintain that level/manner of consumption.

The answer isn't to implement some draconian population control techniques but to end capitalism and change the "breeding" culture that was passed down generation to generation where people have 4, 5 or 6 kids.

Consumption habits would drastically change under anarchism/advanced communism anyhow. If we assume capitalism is never going away and globalization is going to bring advanced capitalism to every nation on earth then yes population control will be necessary as is already happening in the poorer nations that support the advanced capitalist nations.

In my opinion capitalism is the problem not population.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 19 2011 07:38
the croydonian wrote:
I can agree with this 100%

Right, then. Let’s see how much further we can push your philosophical agreement.

As I think Pikel pointed out on another thread, any position which ignores the qualitative aspect of an issue in favour of only the quantitative aspect, is making a methodological mistake.

Furthermore, the focus on isolated constituents, as yoda insists on doing on yet another thread, and the reduction of a higher-level phenomenon to its parts (like ‘class’ to ‘individuals’) is another methodological error.

Einstein captured the essential criticism of this viewpoint with his famous statement that:

‘not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted’

So, let’s see how Tojiah and Slothjabber’s method measures up to these philosophical considerations.

Their main focus has been on numbers such as ‘150 quadrillion people’.

They are assuming that merely counting individuals is methodologically correct. From the Communist viewpoint, it isn’t. We use both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

Let’s see how our method works.

First, we count, as do they, what we consider important.

One.

Yep, that’s it. One.

One population.

Now, having exhausted the quantitative aspect of our problem, we have already, in an instant, surpassed Tojiah and slothjabber, and now turn to the far more fundamental (for Communists) qualitative aspect.

Why is ‘population’ a problem?
Who says ‘population’ is a problem?
How many bosses and how many workers make up this ‘population’?
What are the historical circumstances of the creation of this ‘population’?
What class would benefit from an unhistorical focus upon ‘isolated individuals’, a timeless setting and on ‘universal material constraints’ when considering the problem?
Why the ‘scientific’ focus on biology and not sociology?
Is ‘science’ outside of the society that ‘identifies’ the problem?
Is ‘the sun’ a more important consideration than ‘Bill Gates’, for example?
Does this population love itself?
Is it happy?
Etc., etc. etc…

Time to take stock – let’s see their latest attempt to address this vital issue.

Tojiah wrote:
I'd like to see you lot "human relation" yourself out of eating and defecating on a daily basis without dying.

Oh dear, oh dear. Scoffing and pooing. Hmmm…. Not very profound, is it? ‘Biological necessity’, eh? Personally, croy, (and I’m assuming we both come under the heading ‘you lot’) I’d use a ‘social’ solution to this by building restaurants and toilets, and I think you’d agree, but perhaps we’re missing some real profundity here, like lack of bricks or sewer pipes.

Well, croy, I’ve done my best to point out why, as I predicted, we’ve strayed inadvertently (as in ‘been dragged’) into philosophical musings, and away from ‘scientific number crunching’ of ‘components’. I hope this helps you to decide which method has the greater potential to deal with our ‘problem’ (?) of ‘population’.

I’m a Communist. I use Communist methods to define and understand the problems of science.

How about you, croy?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Sep 19 2011 07:44
Pikel wrote:
Yes I support what you've said by and large, LBird, however as I've said before I don't like the idea of throwing out all but the One True Ideology. I'm still trying to understand the nuances of your opposition to what Tojiah has said, because Tojiah's position seems fair enough when we put down the "everything is social" spectacles for a minute.

Yes, you're right, Pikel, when we put down our "everything is social" spectacles, and put on Tojiah's spectacles, what they say does 'seem fair enough'.

Errr... you're not of the ideological persuasion that we can understand the material world without a pair of 'ideological spectacles', are you?

'Nature in the raw', so to speak.

No? Phew! Thank god! I thought for a minute there that you'd gone over to the dark side of 'positivism'!

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Sep 19 2011 16:51

Wow, that was really well explained, you 'pwnd' them ! One negative, I would say that it is not strictly necessary sometimes to use communist methods to define and understand the problems of science. You can use scientific methods. This is because science constantly tries to prove itself wrong, and tries to be as objective as is possible through double blind testing etc. Of course, you cant ever be completely objective, and I'm not saying science exists outside of society (I don't think anything can), but there are few scientists that will say science as we know it today is truth and it won't ever change, they acknowledge there is a possibility that in the future we could discover something that proves everything we know at the moment wrong, and they will embrace it when that moment comes if there's enough proof etc.

I hope I haven't just fucked up our nice and tidy complete agreement tongue

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Sep 19 2011 17:35

Communism is not something that exists in a separate reality that we can make up as it suites us. We can change the world but not as we want we are subject the the constants of material reality whatever ideology we may hold, so any ideology/political theory that we may have must be based in this reality.
basically our theory must derive from the material world if we are to have any hope to change it, so we are materialists, because reality doesn't care about us or anything else.

tastybrain
Offline
Joined: 11-11-07
Sep 20 2011 03:21

Yeah I don't think Lbird is "pwn"ing anyone. And I'm surprised to see all this support for his wackiness.

Piter wrote:
LBird is right in saying that humans arr not only consuming earth ressources.

humans ares also producing earth ressources and as productive natural being are part of earth ressources.

anyway as he said opposing humans and nature is idealistic.

What "resources" are we "producing"? We're producing a bunch of petroleum-based shit that will never decompose, greenhouse gasses that threaten to destroy the planet, toxic cancer-causing chemicals, antibiotic meat that will probably diminish our capacity to fight disease, and crops that are grown in an utterly unsustainable way that already has destroyed topsoil and is getting us closer and closer to making the most arable areas into wasteland.

Humans are the only animal with the capacity to alter (and it seems destroy) our environment to the extent we are doing. This is legitimate grounds for separating humans from nature for analytic purposes.

Piter wrote:
I don't mean that the quantity of water, sun, etc...at "disposal" is not also a "physical" question, but that our capacity to manage this question depends mostly of our capacity of replacing capitalist relations

No one is denying capitalist social relations are a huge part of the problem. Lbird is denying that it actually is a "physical" question AT ALL. As if 30 trillion people could survive on the planet.

LBird wrote:
Because we take the position, as you say, that humans are based upon 'material necessities', it doesn't follow that the 'material' is limited. Logically, a 'need' for something doesn't mean that the means of meeting that 'need' are in short supply.

Actually, natural resources (there, I said it) ARE limited. When white people came to North America they were impressed by the incredible amount of cod in the ocean off the Atlantic coast. Guess what? There's barely any cod left.

LBird wrote:
'Fixity', eh? Not a good starting point for revolutionaries, eh?

Terrible argument. Do you see ANY difference between the society we live in being totally fixed and static and the planet earth having a finite capacity to support life?

LBird wrote:
By quoting figures, you're fighting on the wrong terrain.

Why do you say this? Every single scientist is in the employ of the vast bourgeois conspiracy and they're just making this shit up about global warming, earth's capacity to support life, etc?

LBird wrote:
whether we can talk about 'science' and 'material' outside of social considerations.

This is a total strawman! I don't think Tojiah or anyone else is saying social conditions don't matter or that the solution doesn't start with changing society. He is simply saying there ARE material limits on population expansion and resource use which you appear to be denying.

radicalgraffiti wrote:
Communism is not something that exists in a separate reality that we can make up as it suites us. We can change the world but not as we want we are subject the the constants of material reality whatever ideology we may hold, so any ideology/political theory that we may have must be based in this reality.
basically our theory must derive from the material world if we are to have any hope to change it, so we are materialists, because reality doesn't care about us or anything else.

Exactly.

ocelot wrote:
Reproduction is a feminist issue.

Since the stalinist-style state-enforced population control programmes of China and India in the 70s, in the 80s and 90s less dogmatic development researchers reviewed the actual data on various birth-control associated programmes by outcome. Looking at the results they found that the programmes with the most significant outcome on lowering fertility rates were not the free distribution of condoms, the pill or whatever (although access to affordable/free contraception is a necessary but not sufficient enabler) but female literacy programmes. Want to reduce fertility rates? Teach the poorest women how to read. The empowerment of women in the lowest classes (whether peasant, or proletarian/slum-dweller) is the route to women being able to stand up to their husbands and refuse to be reduced to perpetual baby-producing machines.

In addition there are economic factors, such as market/commodity dependency versus subsistence relations, and crucially, the availability of providing for old age care other than through dependency on one's offspring.

The right have always said that the poor are poor because they have too many children. The alternative viewpoint is that the poor value having many children precisely because they are poor and/or oppressed. My argument would be that any survey of the scientific literature on this question will show that the latter position is more correct than that of the right.

In that context, framing the issue as the "population crisis" rather than the "poverty crisis" is ideologically laden.

I agree with everything you said, and I think you and others who have objected to what Yoda was saying initially are right that the problems are social and we shouldn't support bullshit, racist, poor-hating malthusianism. But there's no reason it can't be a 'population crisis' CAUSED by a 'poverty crisis'.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I admit that there is, in fact, some maximal "human carrying capacity" that the earth could sustain - altho I must confess a lack of knowledge of what that might be.

Right now I think the problem is our predatory social system and the people who are in charge of it - not the number of human beings on the planet.

Thank you for admitting this totally obvious and inescapable truth that others seem to be denying. I don't disagree that the problem is our social system. What you said in your post before is a strawman, tho. If we can all voluntarily and collectively decide to perform labor, grow food, etc, than we can voluntarily and collectively decide to stop mindless and ecocidal reproduction.

Also, people are being a bit glib in the whole "capitalism is the problem" thing. I would broadly agree, but didn't the tendency for unchecked population growth start long before capitalism?

Sorry about the monster post btw.

piter
Offline
Joined: 30-06-08
Sep 20 2011 06:32
Quote:
What "resources" are we "producing"? We're producing a bunch of petroleum-based shit that will never decompose, greenhouse gasses that threaten to destroy the planet, toxic cancer-causing chemicals, antibiotic meat that will probably diminish our capacity to fight disease, and crops that are grown in an utterly unsustainable way that already has destroyed topsoil and is getting us closer and closer to making the most arable areas into wasteland.

I clearly said that if we don't want to self destruct we'll have to create another radically different producing system, differently and different things,etc...
so th'at's a bit a strawman...

the point was just that people consume but also produce (and more people produce more...) and produce means to produce (machines, computer, science, etc...and I think we could be able in a not as much as destructive as now).

Quote:
This is legitimate grounds for separating humans from nature for analytic purposes.

depending of the context, of the purposes as you say it...and anyway that's only an analytic separation, not an ontological one...but I think we agree on that...

Quote:
No one is denying capitalist social relations are a huge part of the problem. Lbird is denying that it actually is a "physical" question AT ALL. As if 30 trillion people could survive on the planet.

can't answer for Lbird but I think he's more saying that having the physical debate now is not the point as long as we don't change social relations which is the priority. and that when social relations are changed we'll have many more solution to deal with the problem if problem there is (or will be).

anyway if there is a need and if we are willing to "check" population growth, it should be a kind of self "check" or something, a choice of having less kid if it's a neccesary for them to have good conditions to live under. you can't forbid people to make kids...

anyway I don't think we are up to this point, and not sure that we will be (especially if we destroy capitalism).

I stop before my post becomes a monster...