Skip to main content

Political Economy of the Environment: A Conference of the Union for Radical Political Economics Co-sponsored by New Politics


A Conference of the Union for Radical Political Economics
Co-sponsored by New Politics
St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY • Saturday, October 5, 2013
Call for Workshop Presentations

If you would like to make a workshop presentation related to the theme of this conference, please send an email to the URPE National Office at urpe@labornet.org.

We are living in a period of increasing environmental crisis and growing inequalities within and between the countries of the world. The obstacles to sustainable development and the equitable distribution of the products of our labor lie in the ways in which our political economic system operates. The necessary technology is already available, and the resources required to end the use of fossil fuels, for example, exist. But multinational corporations, and the governments they control, base their decisions on the maximization of profits, not on the well-being of the world’s people. Understanding and challenging capitalism is therefore essential for the building of local, national and international environmental movements.

The goal of this conference is both to clarify areas of agreement among progressive environmental activists and to promote friendly discussion of disagreements. Thus we would like the plenaries and workshops of the conference to address questions such as the following:
  • What would a sustainable and just future look like? 
  • What short-run reforms, if any, can enable us to survive the climate crisis until fundamental change can be achieved? 
  • Would sustainable development necessitate a reduction in living standards? 
  • What have been the main successes of environmental movements and how were they achieved? 
  • How do we promote environmental justice, making sure that environmental movements in the US address the specific concerns of African American and Latino/a communities? 
  • Is there a conflict between the environmental movement and the labor movement? 
  • How are people in the US and other countries responding to the challenge of fracking? 
  • How do we assess the Kyoto Protocol? Why did the Copenhagen summit fail? 
  • How should we address hazardous waste disposal -- locally, nationally, and internationally? 
  • What are the relative merits of carbon taxes and tradable carbon-emission permits as ways of reducing worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases? 
  • What are “green taxes” and how could the imposition of taxes on pollutants be made “revenue neutral” or used to make a tax system more progressive? 
  • Does environmental regulation result in the loss of jobs, the creation of jobs, or is this the wrong question to ask? 
  • How does the changing balance of international power, such as the rise of the BRICS, affect the prospects for reducing environmental damage? 
For updates on the conference program, please visit the program page. For a flyer announcing this call for workshops, click here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?