‘Let Them Eat Pollution’

“‘Let Them Eat Pollution’: Capitalist Economics and the World Environment” [PDF] (John Bellamy Foster) Monthly Review vol. 44, no. 8 (January 1993), pp.10-20. DOI: 10.14452/MR-044-08-1993-01_2

On December 12, 1991, Lawrence Summers, chief economist of the World Bank, sent a memorandum to some of his colleagues presenting views on the environment that are doubtless widespread among orthodox economists, reflecting as they do the logic of capital accumulation, but which are seldom offered up for public scrutiny, and then almost never by an economist of Summers’ rank. This memo was later leaked to the British publication, The Economist, which published part of it on February 8, 1992, under the title “Let Them Eat Pollution.”


  • Third World Resurgence, no. 34 (January 1993), pp. 7-10.
  • Johnathon Petrikin, ed., Environmental Justice (San Diego, California: Greenhaven, 1995), pp. 100-07.
  • George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana and Herbert Schiller, ed., Invisible Crises: What Conglomerate Control of the Media Means for America and the World (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996), pp. 221-28;
  • Amanda Konradi and Marta Schmidt, Reading Between the Lines: Toward an Understanding of Current Social Problems (Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1998), pp. 491-95.
  • Persian translation in Paul M. Sweezy, et. al., Capitalism and the Environment (Tehran: Digar Publishing House, 2008).


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