Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Urbanization, Industrialization, and Feminism

Under capitalism, feminism and environmentalism may be at odds with each other: urbanization and industrialization usually are necessary conditions for the development of feminism (beyond the elite) and gender equality; but urbanization and industrialization tend to bring more energy-intensive lives and push up per capita energy use. It may be possible to urbanize and industrialize without wrecking the environment under another mode of production; but it must be noted that historical socialist records on the environment are on the whole unpromising. In any event, it doesn't look like we can switch from capitalism to a higher mode of production before capitalism really aggravates global warming. The only "solution" on the political horizon in the United States -- the "solution" that got on the political horizon thanks to underinvestment during the era of cheap oil, Washington's incessant wars and terrorism, and other social conflicts -- is higher oil prices, but even higher prices are only temporary: higher prices will eventually bring about attempts at conservation, but conservation attempts appear to end as soon as prices go down substantially.

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