On September 14, 2020, in front of an audience of digital business leaders, Emmanuel Macron uttered this dense, mature and nuanced statement about opponents of 5G: “ I hear many voices rise to explain to us that we should address the complexity of contemporary problems by returning to the oil lamp ! I do not believe that the Amish model solves the challenges of modern ecology. »
In a stimulating book, Green growth versus nature – A critique of market ecologyeconomist Hélène Tordjman sets out to deconstruct this “ rude opposition »according to her, representative of our harmful relationship with nature since the advent of capitalism: a utilitarian, anthropocentric relationship that forcibly puts people above other life forms, when such an attitude is in reality only a matter of neoliberal ideology.
With great didactics despite the complexity of the subject, the lecturer at the Sorbonne Paris Nord University shows how under the guise of “ ecological and digital transformation »of “ progress » or even off “ green growth »the major international institutions, states and multinationals do not ultimately only to aggravate the ecological crisis that they and they, hand on heart, claim they will stop … after being the cause of it.
en “ financing of nature »
This essay is thus about the production of new organisms intended to produce petrol or plastic, f. “ big data », nanotechnology or even privatization of genetic information, transformed into resources intended for commercial exchange. In short, revenue generation and “ financing of nature »phenomena that have the consequence of inducing “ a certain form of dematerialisation and delegemisation: a forest is no longer perceived as a stand of trees with different species and characterized by subtle interactions, but as a stand of biomass and / or a carbon drain ».
A vision based on “ performance enhancement » and “ the pursuit of maximum profit »considered catastrophic by the author, who remembers it “ the myth of the neutrality of science and technology » is hardly relevant “ the interplay between power games, institutional structures and ideological impregnation results in favoring certain possibilities among the many possibilities that science explores ».
“ Contrary to what the Liberal Party has claimed for forty years, it is possible to imagine other lasting solutions. »
It also clearly shows how the search for efficiency, specific to financed capitalism, sometimes, “ turns towards himself » : in line with Jacques Ellul, a critical thinker of the technical society, she thus devotes fascinating pages without manicism to the self-growth and autonomy of modern technology: “ New techniques will again create new problems, which will require the invention of new means, and this in an endless process. »
“ Eat or drive, you have to choose »
To support his thesis, and not without humor, Hélène Tordjman explains, for example, that pt. “ eat or drive you have to choose » : The growing production of agrofuels to supply the tanks in our cars thus involves the conversion of land that was originally dedicated to food crops … which is also mostly utilized by the agro-industrial system, which in addition to being extremely polluting would produce much less food than small farms (the latter would be the source of 80 % of food in non-industrialized countries, according to a 2014 study conducted by the association Grain).
This is enough to pressure the researcher to outline some lines of thought and action for a paradigm shift, far from the alleged “ green spots » highlighted for example in “ green pact » European launched in 2019. “ Contrary to what has been claimed by the Liberal Party for forty years, it is possible to imagine other lasting solutions »she writes with reference to self-management or even a project of “ social security of food » carried by farmers and engineers.
Aware that these local initiatives of agroecology and farming “ will not be enough to change the system » – she also calls for getting out of capitalism, and humbly adds that she has no “ plan B to propose »Hélène Tordjman believes that a first step could be a far-reaching reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). That said, it would be necessary to do this “ a little political courage ».
- Green growth versus nature – A critique of market ecologyHélène Tordjman, published by La Découverte, 352 pp., 22 euros, 2021.