[ExI] Malthus and Marx

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Fri Jul 10 22:48:23 UTC 2020

Nature, long regarded as a top-tier journal in virtually all fields of  
science, recently published an overtly political article, that as  
scientist, I have mixed feelings about. They give ecologically-based  
Malthusian arguments for how it is the consumption of the affluent  
that drives environmentally unsustainable growth of capitalism and why  
Marxist-style growth-limiters, income caps, and redistribution of  
wealth are therefore necessary to stave off environmental collapse.

For over half a century, worldwide growth in affluence has  
continuously increased resource use and pollutant emissions far more  
rapidly than these have been reduced through better technology. The  
affluent citizens of the world are responsible for most environmental  
impacts and are central to any future prospect of retreating to safer  
environmental conditions. We summarise the evidence and present  
possible solution approaches. Any transition towards sustainability  
can only be effective if far-reaching lifestyle changes complement  
technological advancements. However, existing societies, economies and  
cultures incite consumption expansion and the structural imperative  
for growth in competitive market economies inhibits necessary societal  


The timing of this article in light of the bizarre pandemic, race  
riots, and other current events seems supportive of the notion that  
some world-wide "cultural revolution" is underway. For a journal of  
Nature's standing and credibility to stake its 151 year long  
reputation for scientific objectivity and integrity on a naked  
endorsement of Marxism is unprecedented.

I am most upset by the complete disregard for discussing the physical  
expansion of the economy to encompass space-based resources such as  
asteroids, SPSS, and off-world colonies. The article seems to insist  
that there are no alternatives to simply tightening our belts and  
satisfying ourselves with an ever-shrinking piece of the global pie  
rationed out to us by bloated yet somehow enlightened (woke?)  
governments. The article does not, for example, discuss eliminating  
pensions for members of Congress or the English parliament.

I am interested in what other list members think about this. Without  
allowing for the use of space-based resources, it seems that we are  
left with the horrible choice of fighting an all out xenophobic  
resource-war to cull the excess consumers from our population or  
holding hands and singing Kumbaya while our quality of life slowly  
deteriorates until we are splitting the last bean 10 billion ways.

Why is there no serious scientific support for alternative solutions  
involving coupling economic growth with physical expansion through  
space. Always the critics come with excuses like "manned space-flight  
is unsafe". Well so is fighting World War III for resources. On the  
other hand, maintaining communist solidarity while quietly starving to  
death in our so-called "safe space" is not simply risky, it is  
guaranteed extinction eventually.

Stuart LaForge

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