“Economic growth” and socialism don’t go together

September 2, 2012

The idea of “socialist economic growth” should be “junked” in the twenty-first century: socialism is about human happiness, not simply about more stuff. The assumption, widespread in twentieth-century socialism, that the productive forces are the basis for superceding capitalism, needs questioning carefully – and the way that the instruments of labour “enslave, exploit and impoverish” (Marx) working people should be at the centre of socialist thinking. These are points from a talk I gave last week, and the edited notes are here.

The so-called “limits to growth”, and objections to the Malthusian ideas that dominate that discussion, was the subject of the second part of the talk. There I also tried to summarise the main issues about the limits to fossil-fuel-based energy and to agriculture. GL.