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David Duffy

"...that without property and profit, sustained productivity growth is not so easy to generate". I though LeGuin has explicitly said that the constraints on growth were environmental. One of her models is the Israeli kibbutz and worker cooperative movement, and in that setting at least there were many examples she would have been aware of where the coops outcompeted the capitalists. In parallel to The Dispossessed, one analyses of the 70-80s changes mention that frequent role rotation in administrative positions could weaken the possibility of reducing the informal power of the old guard. I am relying on Simons and Ingram The Kibbutz for Organizational Behavior [2000].

Schliesser, Eric

David, undoubtedly others will make different claims about anarchism, but I think Le Guin is fairly hard-nosed about productivity growth in an anarchist society in the novel. This is not to deny your claim that the environment is definitely an important constraint (both at lower bound and upper bound) in The Dispossessed. But in that novel, the anarchist society is having a hard time keeping the existing infrastructure going. It is exhibited to be very fragile (during famine). Undoubtedly some of the problems the anarchist society experiences are due to the harsh environment, but it is very revealing that it is incapable of moving much beyond subsistence (and it is clearly technologically inferior in wealth and technology to the capitalist society it left behind). I am not implying that the capitalist society is therefore preferable; Le Guin makes clear that it is built on permanent violence and injustice.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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