Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Fl - Fn   —

The purposeful, though extremely wasteful, burning in the air of escaping natural gas which is often an unused bi-product of oil wells. Of course, this resource should be used too, but it is cheaper in many areas (especially in the oil-rich Middle East) to simply burn it. Satellite images of the world at night show whole vast areas of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region aglow with flared natural gas burning and polluting away. There is also a lot of wasteful gas flaring in the United States and other countries outside of the Middle East.
        Of course, given the serious climate change disaster currently underway, even better than capturing and using this natural gas at the present time would be to just leave it in the ground along with the oil, and to instead foster much greater use of renewable power sources such as electricity generated from solar and wind plants. But capitalist profits are of course far more important than the rational use of resources and the saving of human lives.

“During frigid temperatures in February [2021], Texas’ largest oil field burned off 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in one day—enough to power tens of thousands of homes for at least a year.”   —New York Times, “As Texans Shivered, Drillers Burned Off Enough Gas to Power Thousands of Homes”, March 27, 2021.

[Capitalist finance:] A recent type of sneaky stock trading by brokerage firms on Wall Street which has the two following characteristics:
        1) The brokerage firm secretly monitors for its own benefit the buying and selling of stocks by its customers, and if the orders are substantial (and thus might affect the price of the stock), makes purchases or sales for its own account as well. (And sometimes also sells a 30 milli-second sneak preview to other speculators.); and
        2) The use of very high speed computers to make its own purchases and sales of stock so that its own trading will occur before that of its customers.
        This is yet another form of thievery by the financial capitalists, though in this case it involves cheating other financial speculators. Apparently flash trading is currently legal. (As of August 2009 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering making flash trading against its rules, though it is far from clear how they will be able to enforce such new rules.)

“FLATTENING THE CURVE”   [Epidemiology]
In an epidemic or pandemic (such as that of the
Covid-19 outbreak in 2020) the disease may spread so fast that the hospitals and health care system in a country may be completely overwhelmed. This is especially the case in capitalist society where the government is generally so unconcerned with maintaining the good health of the working class and general population that the health system is quite inadequate all the time! But in an epidemic the situation may suddenly be aggravated to an extreme degree. In order to attempt to deal with this, the health authorities try to keep the disease from spreading so fast through social distancing and isolation, so that—even if the same total number of people are eventually infected—the disease cases will be spread over a longer period of time. This is known as “flattening the curve”.

FLYGSKAM   [Swedish (c. 2018). Pronounced: fleeg-skahm]
        1. Flight shaming; i.e. criticizing someone for traveling by airplane when unnecessary, given the harm to the environment which airplanes create.
        2. The social movement encouraging people to stop traveling by planes in order to reduce carbon emissions and other harm to the environment. This movement began in Sweden in 2018, and one of its most prominent proponents is the young Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg. Although well meaning, flygskam is a liberal reformist movement which is very unlikely to lead to significant environmental improvement worldwide, though for now it has made some impact in Sweden. Like much liberal political action, it focuses on what individuals can do as individuals, and not on what mass protest movements can do. And of course it “forgets” to mention the central role of capitalism and capitalist profits in the destruction of the environment and the absolutely essential need for socialist revolution to truly put an end to this.

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