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Introduction: John Bellamy Foster recently published an excellent essay on ‘Marxism and Ecology: Common Fonts of a Great Transition’. Foster advocates a steady-state (eco)socialism. He argues that “a system of meeting collective needs based on the principle of enough is obviously impossible in any meaningful sense under the regime of capital accumulation.” He continues: “capitalism as a system is intrinsically geared to the maximum possible accumulation and throughput of matter and energy”. “Economic growth (in its more abstract sense) or capital accumulation (viewed more concretely)…cannot occur without expanding rifts in the Earth system.” “Society, particularly in rich countries, must move towards a steady-state economy, which requires a shift to an economy without net capital formation”.
In principle, I agree. Intuitively, and given our experience of capitalism, this makes perfect sense. Economic growth appeared under capitalism, and economic growth is almost 1:1 related to growth in material and energy use. But let me be a little bit more scholastic, with the intent of advancing and fortifying (rather than undermining) Foster’s argument. . .

> Part II