by lehman scott Tue May 20, 2014
If I had to pick just one word to describe human civilization right now, that word would have to be "overdetermined". I first encountered it when I was an undergraduate student working my way through French philosopher Louis Althusser's 1969 work, For Marx, where he uses it to describe the conditions that give rise to revolutions. While that particular definition is certainly applicable to our current times, I would like to turn our attention to the more general one:
Overdetermination is a phenomenon whereby a single observed effect is determined by multiple causes at once, any one of which alone might be enough to account for ("determine") the effect. That is, there are more causes present than are necessary to cause the effect.
Let's explore this concept in two ways to see how it might help us in thinking about what we're facing in the monumental task of constructing any new economic paradigm: first, in understanding an important aspect of our brains, and second, in trying our hands at a bit of traditional political economy. After we do that we'll poke through some of the jumbled building blocks in the rubble of the collapsed neoclassical paradigm and see where we might go from there. …. Continued at link
by Jack A. Smith / May 23rd, 2014
Climate change is occurring with extreme rapidity. Recent news headlines warn us: “Earth Could Warm 11 Degrees by 2100,” “Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing,” and “Climate Change Risks Security and Wars.” — and this is just the beginning.
Had extreme measures been inaugurated worldwide 20 years ago to sharply curtail reliance on fossil fuels, much of what we are now experiencing — unwelcome temperature change, dangerous storms, droughts, floods, etc. — would have been minimized. But to this day Washington is among the tiny minority of countries that have refused to ratify the basic UN document on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.
…..Despite the reality of climate change, the major capitalist industrialized countries — most certainly the United States — are moving at a snail’s pace, if moving at all, to mitigate its decimating effects on life on Earth. At issue is whether the capitalist system is willing and able to bring about the immense changes required to prevent climate change from developing into a global catastrophe from mid-to-end century. The evidence so far is that it will not move fast enough…..continued at link