Sunday, June 15
A Review of Joel Kovel's The Enemy of Nature
Ted Dace, Counterpunch, June 14, 2003
[The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?
by Joel Kovel
For Joel Kovel the revolution is only a matter of time. Marx was right: Capitalism cannot help but prepare the stew in which it will roast. But the old man got one thing wrong. The ultimate antagonist of capital is not labor but nature. [...] If the argument that capital is incorrigibly ecodestructive and expansive proves to be true, then it is only a question of time before the issues raised here achieve explosive urgency."
True enough, but that doesn't mean the Revolution is just over the horizon. What Kovel overlooks is the likelihood that worsening environmental conditions will exacerbate the scarcity that already pits us against each other. While the rich compete to survive as rich people, the poor compete to survive, period.
.. Precisely when, between now and doomsday, do the masses finally revolt?
As Kovel himself points out, capitalists are perfectly willing to perpetuate eco-destabilization as long as they successfully insulate themselves and perhaps even profit from the meltdown all around them.
He cites an article in London's Guardian Weekly purporting to show a shift in elite opinion since the early 70s, when the Club of Rome called for "limits to growth." These days, digging our own grave is the ultimate business opportunity.
Taking Kovel to task in the September, 2002 issue of Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster noted, "We should not underestimate:
-- capitalism's capacity to accumulate in the midst of the most blatant ecological destruction, to profit from environmental degradation... and to continue to destroy the earth to the point of no return--both for human society and for most of the world's living species."
Times are tough? How about a liquidation sale? Like Marx before him, Kovel finds a silver lining where none exists. There's just no pulling the socialist rabbit out of the capitalist hat.