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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Michael Pollan has an article in The New York Times today about sustainability, especially when it comes to agriculture and food production:

To call a practice or system unsustainable is not just to lodge an objection based on aesthetics, say, or fairness or some ideal of environmental rectitude. What it means is that the practice or process can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends. It means that, as the Marxists used to say, there are internal contradictions that sooner or later will lead to a breakdown.
The article goes on to focus on two stories in the news this year that suggest a sustainability tipping point could be upon us, antibiotic-resistant staph infection and Colony Collapse Disorder. Via Pandagon, which gets this right, I think:
Pollan argues that the word “sustainability” is losing its meaning, and it’s clear why—it’s incompatible with capitalism, and openly arguing for economic systems to replace capitalism is simply verboten in our society. Taboo, unacceptable, off the table. And it will be until it’s too late to reverse the damage done by the need for unchecked growth for profit.