A Conference of the Union for Radical Political Economics
Co-sponsored by New Politics
St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, October 5, 2013
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/o 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 visit: www.urpe.org.