Interesting thread, but I don't think ecosocialists or degrowthers are arguing that if German socialists had come to power the world would be green by now. Socialism is not automatically green. Eco-socialism is what it says - a green version of socialism - to be tested /1
The historical counterfactual also in not totally convincing. So let's assume Germany and Europe went socialist. The world economy would have evolved exactly the same way it did? 🤔 I doubt it, this is too deterministic. Examples: /2
We do not know if the transition from coal to oil would have taken place when it took place, the way it did. From Timothy Mitchell we know that oil was a fix for capitalism to bypass the labour strikes of coal workers. One would think that socialists would treat workers better /3
We also do not know if socialist governments would strong arm the Middle East the way capitalists did, starting wars to secure cheap oil, and setting up puppet governments. One would want to think that Rosa Luxembourg would not go down that path..../4
We also do not know if they would have continued colonial unequal exchange, extracting raw materials as cheap as possible from the rest of the world. Without cheap oil and cheap materials, it is anyone's guess if GDP and CO2 would be where it is now. /5
Socialism in Europe, would enable socialism in Africa or Latin America. Socialists there were against the appropriation of their resources for the sake of Northern growth. They sought to make them significantly more expensive. /6
Socialists like Gandhi, Fanon, Sankara, etc were against growth as an objective even in their own countries. Closer to what we call post-development or ecosocialism today. /7
But also domestically within Europe, we can't be so sure of how national projects and economies would have evolved. I have studied tangentially the Republicans in Catalonia. And they were committed to decentralized peasant based agriculture. /8
Maybe they would have ended up with large-scale, oil-based industrial agriculture. Maybe yes. But also maybe not. Maybe a coalition of socialist states would have pushed ahead with a model that sacrificed some growth for support of peasants or coal workers. Who knows /9
Especially, if we were to assume that there was no Cold War competition, then there would be even less pressure to grow economies (the arms race was a significant driver of growthmanship and growth target competition - see @MGSchmelzer 's book) /10
Final point. The argument I've seen degrowthers and ecosocialists make is that the 20th cent socialist regimes were not truly socialist (some call them even 'state capitalist'). They emulated capitalism's 'surplus to make more surplus', substituting private control of ../11
..the means of production, with state. So the critique to capitalism as a system tied to limitless and ultimately destructive growth, extends to systems nominally socialist that reproduce the same pattern. / END

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More from @g_kallis

29 Sep 20
On twitter we spend time in silly debates: is degrowth impoverishment, negative GDP, lockdown misery bla bla. But in our normal lives we are producing some pretty k.a. research. Here are 22 papers by researchers from the (broader) degrowth community published just the last year!
I give these in no particular order. And they range from the most quantitative to the most ethnographic or the most philosophical (disclaimer: I am in involved in 4). These are papers that I happened to read. I am sure I miss many more - please add at the end of the thread!
I wont summarise the papers. Take a look at the abstracts. And if you don't have access to the full paper, email the first author for a copy. In the degrowth community we are happy to share our research. So, here we go, let's start the countdown! 22 papers to go :)
Read 34 tweets
25 Sep 20
One of the seemingly strongest arguments in support of green growth is that an economy can keep growing based on non-material goods and services without using more energy. @Noahpinion distills this into a thought experiment of a Matrix economy. THREAD/1
The Matrix economy is a world where energy/resource input is steady, but GDP keeps growing as we pay more and more for virtual experiences that give us more and more pleasure (paying with virtual work) /2
This is a thought experiment, a parable meant to show that a service-based green growth is possible. The response cannot be that a Matrix world is technically impossible, or socially undesirable, as Keanu and co thought. @Noahpinion does not propose this literally, granted /3
Read 26 tweets
22 Jul 20
Last year I published a book on Malthus and Limits. Let me explain what I argued, and how it is relevant to current debates where the name of Malthus and his supposed false prophecy keeps popping up / THREAD Image
According to the standard story, Malthus posited that while food production can grow only arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4), population grows geometrically (1, 2, 4, 8), predicting thus famines. Malthus, the story goes, underestimated the power of technology and was proven wrong. /2
Environmentalists today, this story continues, commit the same fallacy as Malthus. They predict climate disasters and resource depletion, but they underestimate the power of technology. They want to limit growth, but they will be proven wrong too. /3
Read 29 tweets
7 Jul 20
@ii_sambliss wrote an excellent thread fact-checking Shellenberger's ‘Apocalypse never’. . If you want a researched story of the origins and evolution of the ideas behind the book check our 2019 paper @journalofpolit1… /THREAD
Shellenberger styles himself now in the ‘born-again’ mold that Americans love. He is supposedly an environmentalist who saw the light, and comes out to tell the world the truth about environmentalism /2
Truth is Shellenberger has been styling himself the same way and saying the same exact story ever since he appeared in the mid-2000s, as we explain in our paper… /3
Read 19 tweets
11 Jun 20
One of my side-projects is a website on how to write better papers, mostly for social scientists. Here is a thread with the posts you can find there #writingcommunity #academicwriting #postdoc #PhDthesis #AcademicTwitter #researchpapers #PhDChat /1
My most-viewed post is the one on how to write simply – how to cut the crap, that is. I was inspired by William Zinsser’s ‘On writing well’ (highly recommended!). A workbook accompanies the post with exercises on how to simplify your own text.… /2
I plan a series of posts on writing different parts of a paper: the abstract, the conclusions, etc. For now, here's a piece on how to get a nice title for your paper…. (Laughed out loud with the terrible titles academics, myself including, come up with..)/3
Read 26 tweets
8 May 20
This is a good point. I have addressed it in my recent book ('Degrowth', 2018, @agendapub) and in my work with @jasonhickel. Let me summarise and hopefully clarify for the sake of a better conversation. THREAD /1
Our claim is NOT that the relationship between GDP and GHGs is immutable, or a law of physics. (If I have used language in my less mature texts that made it seem so, my apologies – but I don’t think I did ☺). /2
Indeed, if that were the case, then the only way to reduce GHGs to 0 would be to halt all economic activity, an absurd conclusion, for which we would not have to wait for the current crisis to prove it wrong. /3
Read 24 tweets

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