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The New Marxism

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12/16/2005

Or: "We'll keep the green flag flying!"

As this excerpt from a rather uncritical article by CFO.com reveals, we are being asked to deify not so much the Labour Theory of Value, as the Gaia Theory of Value, so as to prevent all hardened capitalists from driving dear old Mother Earth down to a subsistence wage:-

Indeed, it's hard to glimpse how blasphemous the concept seemed to economic traditionalists. Emergy lectures "used to send economists screaming from the room," quips Mark Brown, an associate professor of environmental-engineering sciences at the University of Florida who considers Odum his mentor. "Emergy questioned their core beliefs," asserts Brown in explaining why so many economists were bothered by the concept.
The uneasiness had philosophical roots. Emergy analysis relies on a donor system of valuation, rather than the traditionally accepted receiver system. Donor systems assign value based on how much energy, time, and material have been invested in a product or service, while a receiver system determines value by assessing what buyers are willing to pay for a product or service.
Receiver systems work well in a classic supply-and-demand marketplace, where price sets value. But when more comprehensive factors, such as the depletion and remediation of natural resources, are considered, a donor system like emergy is the better yardstick, contends Brown.

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