If capitalism can’t be reformed to subordinate profit to human sur-vival, what alternative is there but to move to some sort of nation-ally and globally planned economy? Problems like climate changerequire the ‘visible hand’ of direct planning. …Our capitalist cor-porate leaders can’t help themselves, have no choice but to systemati-cally make wrong, irrational and ultimately – given the technologythey command – globally suicidal decisions about the economyand the environment. So then, what other choice do we have thanto consider a true ecosocialist alternative? Richard Smith1
Ecosocialism is an attempt to provide a radical civilizational alternative towhat Marx called capitalism’s ‘destructive progress’.2 It advances an eco-nomic policy founded on the non-monetary and extra-economic criteria ofsocial needs and ecological equilibrium. Grounded on the basic arguments ofthe ecological movement, and of the Marxist critique of political economy,this dialectical synthesis – attempted by a broad spectrum of authors, fromAndré Gorz (in his early writings) to Elmar Altvater, James O’Connor, JoelKovel and John Bellamy Foster – is at the same time a critique of ‘marketecology’, which does not challenge the capitalist system, and of ‘productivistsocialism’, which ignores the issue of natural limits.According to O’Connor, the aim of ecological socialism is a new societybased on ecological rationality, democratic control, social equality, and thepredominance of use-value over exchange-value.3 I would add that theseaims require: (a) collective ownership of the means of production (‘col-lective’ here meaning public, cooperative or communitarian property); (b)democratic planning, which makes it possible for society to define the goalsof investment and production, and c) a new technological structure of theproductive forces. In other words, a revolutionary social and economic trans-formation.4

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