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Another Capitalism is Possible? From world economic crisis to green capitalism

Another Capitalism is Possible? From world economic crisis to green capitalism

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Forthcoming in: Kolya Abramsky, ed., (2009) Sparking a World-wide Energy
Revolution - Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. Oakland:
AK Press1
Chapter 56
Another Capitalism is Possible?
From world economic crisis to green capitalism
by Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis
Chapter 56
Forthcoming in: Kolya Abramsky, ed., (2009) Sparking a World-wide Energy
Revolution - Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. Oakland:
AK Press1
Chapter 56
Another Capitalism is Possible?
From world economic crisis to green capitalism
by Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis
Chapter 56

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Published by: Permaculture Cooperative on May 18, 2010
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02/17/2013

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1
Forthcoming in: Kolya Abramsky, ed., (2009)
 Sparking a World-wide Energy Revolution - Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World 
. Oakland:AK Press
1
 
Chapter 56
 
Another Capitalism is Possible?
 
From world economic crisis to green capitalism
 by Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis
2
 
Introduction: what to do in case of crisis?
Things really
have
changed. A little more than a year ago, writing from the left aboutthe necessary and terminal crisis of neoliberalism was still a very marginal activity,and had that odd feeling of déjà-vu about it. There is an old joke that out of the last 3recessions, Marxist economists had correctly predicted 15… Okay, maybe it’s not thefunniest joke, but it is telling: from many a critical perspective, capital(ism) is alwaysin crisis, and all the moves made within ‘the system’ are simply more or less effectiveattempts to postpone the ‘final reckoning’. Nowadays, though, trying to tell the worldthat neoliberalism has entered its final crisis feels rather like carrying coals to Newcastle. The end of a particular era of capitalist accumulation necessarily imposesa particular difficulty on critical analysis: having so often wrongly predicted thedownfall of capitalism as the result of a particular crisis, many anticapitalists have

1ThisarticlewillbepublishedunderaCreativeCommonsAttribution_Non‐Commercial_Share‐Alikelicence.Youarefreetoshareorremixaslongasyouattributeittotheauthorsandeditor.2WearegratefultoKolyaAbramskyandmanyunnamedfriendscomradesforcommentsonearlierdraftsofthischapter,aswellasforcountlessdiscussionsthathelpeduscomeupwithsomeoftheideascontainedhere.Allremainingerrorsare,asusual,ourown.
 
 
2
developed a tendency to overstate capital’s ability to emerge from every crisisstronger, meaner, and more resilient than ever. Obviously, the problem with alwayssaying ‘capital will win in the end’ is the same as with saying ‘it’s going to rain on thewashing’ – well, yes, if we don’t bring the washing in, it probably will. In short, andwith the necessary revolutionary pathos: if we don’t even believe in the possible (theend of capitalism), the impossible (communism) will surely never come to pass.At the same time, to not start looking towards the field of force relations that seems tous a very likely outcome of the current crisis,
if and only if 
capital and thegovernments of the world are indeed capable of stabilizing the crisis in such a waythat leaves the fundamentals of their power untouched, would be a massive strategicmistake, and would leave us unprepared for what might very well be to come: a bravenew world of green capitalism, where what used to be the left wing of globalgovernance (Kyoto, binding environmental regulation, renewable energies, you nameit) has moved towards the centre. This text, then, is a mix of prediction andanticipation, in order to allow us to act in such a way that might create a
different 
 future from the one described below. It is about knowing where to strike in the future.
1. The triple-crisis
The legitimation crisis
Arguably, the first significant global (as opposed to regional) crisis experienced byneoliberalism was a
 political 
 
legitimation crisis
. Starting in the late 1990s, aided bythe spectacular and internationally visible protests organised by thecounterglobalisation movement, the institutions of global governance that had been socrucial to the neoliberal project – the World Trade Organisation (WTO), theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and others – began to seriouslylose public legitimacy, as a result of which the WTO-negotiations have since then been effectively stalled; the IMF was, until the crisis hit, nearly out of business; whilethe World Bank began to reinvent itself, rather tellingly, as a global ‘green’ bank.
3
All

3ForacriticalanalysisoftheWorldBank’sattemptsto‘greenwash’itself,cf.ZoeYoung,(2002)
 ANewGreenOrder?TheWorldBankandthePoliticsoftheGlobalEnvironmentalFacility 
;onthedefeatoftheWTO’sagendaseeOlivierdeMarcellus,(2006)
BiggestvictoryyetoverWTOand‘free’trade.Celebrateit! 
.Availableat
 
 
3
the while the G8 kept trying to reinvent itself, at its 2007 summit in Germanyclaiming to be the right institution to solve the climate crisis. At the nationalregulatory level, too, central institutions, including national governments, were losinglegitimacy: in the global North, the disappearance of anything that could berecognised as ‘Social Democracy’ meant that hardly any of the major parties wereseen as representing the interests of those disadvantaged by neoliberalism. In theUnited States, the author of a recent report on trust in public institutions is quoted inthe
 Financial Times
as saying that “belief in authority has collapsed”, and that “over the last few years the trust between the public and the elites has completelycollapsed”. As a result, “the public is much less willing to trust corporate leaders’advice on the national economic interest.”
4
 To be sure, such a crisis does not necessarily lead to emancipatory political action – itcan just as well lead on the one hand to apathy and the decomposition of collective political actors, on the other hand to an ugly politics of fear and scapegoating. But italso does provide an opening for ideas of social and ecological transformation. Theincreasingly unequal distribution of incomes and wealth during the neoliberal era,coupled with the non-fulfilment of the free marketeers’ central ideological promises(efficient markets, trickle down…) had produced a serious crisis of legitimacy. And
authority
is only stable in the medium term if it is seen as legitimate by its subjects.
5
 But the legitimation crisis did not slow down the economics of neoliberalism much: privatisation, commodification, enclosure, they were all proceeding apace. Althoughhere, too, trouble was brewing.
The accumulation crisis
 And so we return to the economic crisis rocking the world economy, hitting

http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=06/08/18/0417238&tid.ForongoingcritiquesoftheWTO,theIMFandtheWorldBank,aswellasmaterialsonthecrisisoflegitimacy,cf.http://focusweb.org;http://www.ourworldisnotforsale.org;and http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org.4KrishnaGuhaandEdwardLuce,(01/10/2008)"failuretoleadfuelsmainstreetbacklash",
FinancialTimes
.Availableathttp://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3c696e88‐8f18‐11dd‐946c‐0000779fd18c,dwp_uuid=11f94e6e‐7e94‐11dd‐b1af‐000077b07658.html5MaxWeber,(1964)
Soziologie,WeltgeschichtlicheAnalysen,Politik 
(Stuttgart:AlfredKroener)

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Glad I found this piece about green capitalism and how it might and does work. Mueller and Passdakis are on the ball and probably on the money too!
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