Struggles for Dignity in the Web of Life: Capital, Waste & the Violence of Cheap Nature

When I grow up, I hope to write a book half as good as Power Struggles.[1] Its narrative is elegant, engaging, accessible. Its insights will keep you thinking long after you read the last page. Power Struggles is that rare book: scholarly without being scholastic; intimately ethnographic without losing sight of the Big Picture; politically committed without succumbing to dogma.

In my original book endorsement, I wrote that Power Struggles is “indispensable reading for energy justice in the age of climate crisis.” This is true. But Jaume Franquesa has given us something far more significant than an ethnographic masterpiece of renewable energy and its brutal inequalities. His vision refused the dominant fetish energy, piercing its ideological veil, laying bare the contradictions of capitalist power in the web of life. Power Struggles reads as a searing indictment of capitalist power as a Promethean drive to dominate humans by dominating the rest of life (and vice versa). For Franquesa, that Prometheanism does float in the philosophical ether; it is a class project of ideological domination and cultural devaluation, one that seeks to mystify capitalism’s real movements of accumulation, inequality, and laying waste to life, labor and landscapes.[2]

Power Struggles is a fundamental contribution to a new generation of radical scholarship that grasps historical capitalism through its webs of power, profit and life. The reader will quickly find herself entranced by Franquesa’s connective narrative of everyday life, capital accumulation, class politics and state coercion. Above all, Franquesa weaves these through a scintillating ethnography “from below,” illuminating the everyday lives of rural Catalonians in their intimate relations with land, labor and life, and how those connections generate indignation and struggles for dignity. Franquesa reveals how each moment moves in relation to successive “Spanish” – of course we should not reify Spain – national ecological regimes. In Power Struggles, you will find not a whiff of the bourgeois temptation to separate reality into an abstract Nature and an abstract Society. In these stories, the mixing of human labor with the land – to lean on Raymond Williams, who figures prominently in Franquesa’s thinking – is so thorough that nowhere can we separate the two.[3] To do so is to pretend that the three moments of capitalist power – of (some) humans over other humans, of (some) humans over extra-human land and life, of ideological domination – are separated, when we know they are organically joined.

I have called this new wave of radical scholarship the world-ecology conversation.[4] With Franquesa, world-ecology insists that struggles for justice and dignity are the political counterpoint to the dicatorship of capital. Dignity and indignation are emergent “structures of feeling” – again, I lean on our friend Raymond Williams – that takes shape through capitalism’s longue durée alienations: of humans from each other, from the web of life, from our access to means of livelihood and (re)production, and from the necessary internal harmony of mind, body and spirit.[5] These four alienations form a whole, a “rich totality of many determinations.”[6]

To experience alienation is to inhabit modernity’s violence and devaluation of life and work and play, contradictions carried to new heights by late capitalism at the end of the Cheap Nature. To experience indignation is to reject the real abstractions that rule our lives – of Nature as “beyond politics,” of Development and Growth and Progress as inevitable, true and good. Far from backward looking, far from a romantic yearning for an idealized past, Franquesa shows us that indignation is the first moment of outrage against capitalism’s material and ideological violence. Here is a moment of transition pregnant with revolutionary possibility.

This is a great insight. Franquesa joins capitalist efforts to transform everyday life with the structures of feeling – indignation – that give rise to concrete struggles for socio-ecological justice: struggles for dignity. This opens – for these movements, and for the reader – a way of seeing the political possibilities for a future governed by the people rather than the plutocrats; for a future in which energy, work, and power are radically democratized in service to the world’s working classes, paid and unpaid, human and extra-human.

Franquesa therefore travels on a path first blazed by Marx and Engels. In turn, he blazes new dialectical trails. Although Marxists often forget, Marx’s classic formula of the “general law of capitalist accumulation,” through which the concentration of enormous wealth is realized by generalizing poverty, is also a theory of misery. The word runs like red thread through Capital.[7] In its culminating chapters, we learn how “the accumulation of misery [is] a necessary condition corresponding to the accumulation of wealth.”[8] And while there are many people in today’s violently unequal world experiencing much worse misery than Franquesa’s rural Catalonians, we should not lose track of the penetrating dialectical insight. The structures of capital and the structure of feeling – of alienation in our fourfold sense – are fundamental to the political and ideological struggles for justice. The misery that can lead to indignation – although too often, Franquesa reminds us, there is also resignation – may also precipitate struggles of dignity, the dialectical antagonism of capitalism’s law of value.

The law of value. It’s an old-fashioned term. The law of value derives from Hegel, and is best understood as a historical movement. It is a developing antagonism that cannot be resolved under capitalism. The law of value extends and penetrates the capital relation into life, land and labor while generating the socio-ecological forces and relations that initially resist, and increasingly seek to revolutionize, the capital relation as a whole.

Marxists seldom deploy the law of value wisely, or communicate it effectively. Franquesa is not afraid to use it, however, and for good reason. The orthodox sense of the law of value focuses on the circuit of capital. It communicates how, once established, capitalism imposes the “dull compulsion of economicrelations” on bourgeois and proletarian alike.[9] The capitalist advances labor productivity in the factory, plantation, and office, on pain of competitive extinction. The worker experiences that productivist drive by adjusting to – and wherever possible, struggling against – those economic compulsions. As Marx understood, the law of value is class struggle in its widest sense: a struggle not just for wages, but for collective dignity, respect, and justice. Here Franquesa forces us to wrestle with thorny problems: those associated with economic formalism, as well as those linked to it mirror image, found in so many “critical” ethnographies of global capitalism. We must grasp the law of value as limited neither to economics nor the social; as irreducibly socio-ecological and ethico-political, understood as mutually constituting moment of capital’s endless accumulation. The law of value, in other words, pivots on but is not limited to “the dull compulsion of economic relations.” It is a structure of capital, a structure of ideological power, a structure of feeling… and the springboard of the cultural and social revolutions necessary to carry struggles of dignity to their emancipatory fruition.

All civilizations unfold through laws of value specific to their ways of organizing power, culture, and re/production. These laws shape what and who is valued, and what and who is devalued.[10] They are cultural priorities, political dynamics, economic logics. Feudalism, for instance, privileged a hierarchical holism. There was a “great chain of being” that symbolically arranged social life in a class structure that, for its many problems, emphasized reciprocity throughout. This dialectic of culture and class was entangled within a political economy of power and re/production. These latter favored overlapping and interpenetrating chains of sovereignty, locking in peasantries to modes of cultivation that proved increasingly vulnerable to climatic and agro-ecological contradictions. When those contradictions detonated, across the first half of the fourteenth century, so too did peasant indignation – and revolt.  The outcome was not, as we know, a peasant communism of the sort that broadly prevailed across the post-Roman West a millennium earlier. It did however ensure the epochal crisis of feudalism, a centuries-long destabilization and reinvention of cultural, political, and economic life.[11]

Capitalism’s law of value emerged tentatively and unevenly – but decisively in the long era of climate crisis, economic volatility and political destabilization that historians have long reckoned as the “general crisis” of the seventeenth century.[12] This law of value radically different from earlier, tributary civilizations like feudalism or Antiquity’s great agrarian empires. Gone was the great chain of being. Gone was the notion of reciprocity. Fitting for a civilization that pursued a relentless and unprecedented mathematization, the new law of value installed a binary code at the heart of its cultural operating system. Increasingly, and decisively after the 1550s, a new Civilizing Project with a distinctive cultural logic redefined power, profit and life along starkly dualist lines. Some humans carried the torch of Enlightenment and Civilization, necessary to bring Salvation (or Civilization, or, later, Development) to “savage” and “wild” peoples, who invariably inhabited wastelands (lands to be enclosed, colonized, and otherwise subordinated to world accumulation) – as Franquesa underscores. Such wastelands, in the new bourgeois cosmology, cried out for capitalist Improvement.[13] Not only indigenous and African, not only Celtic and Slavic, this redefinition of most humans under the sign of Nature also extended to virtually all women and peasants, all to ensure that capital and empires could secure the conditions of profitability necessary to advance the rate of profit and extend the reach imperial power.

Capitalism’s law of value contains an economic logic that is indeed central. But most of what makes that economic logic “work” – in its ruthlessly devaluing and devastating logic – is found outside the circuit of capital. Franquesa shows how capital’s logic unfolds through a double robbery: through territorial enclosure, dispossession and the violence of bourgeois property; and through violent alienations that rob the direct re/producers not only of their lives, land, and wellbeing, but of their dignity. It is precisely for this reason that I find such resonance between Franquesa’s approach and my reckoning of Cheap Nature as capitalism’s fundamental strategy, one that turns in differential but equal measure on geocultural devaluation and economic valorization. Cheap Nature not only forcefully reduced the prices that capital must pay for the Four Cheaps (labor, food, energy, and raw materials). Such cost reduction depends upon, and flows through, the geocultural devaluation of “women, nature and colonies.”[14]

From 1492, Civilizing Projects have turned on a Nature that includes most humans. That Nature is a ruling abstraction at the core of manifold Christianizing, Civilizing, and Developmentalist Projects. It expresses the bourgeois-imperial naturalism – often under the sign of natural law – that has informed counterinsurgency and counter-revolution since Thomas Malthus and indeed even earlier. Nature is the conceptual raw material that makes the ideological hammers of racialized, gendered, and colonial superexploitation. That superexploitation is not a clash of civilizations but a class struggle. It’s a strategy that seeks to increase the rate of exploitation (of surplus value) not only through socio-technical restructuring, but also by increasing the rate of appropriation: the extraction of the unpaid work, human and extra-human. In the same breath, those Civilizing Projects have been continually challenged, upended, and even temporarily reversed by unruly, messy, and contentious webs of life, including modernity’s great liberation struggles, working class movements, and socialist revolutions.

Such Projects are underwritten by capitalism’s peculiar – and peculiarly destructive – approach to waste. The lives and labor of the proletariat, biotariat, and femitariat are rendered waste (as commons), to be rationally “enclosed” by the Enlightened Civilizers and put to work; and they are subsequently rendered waste as “disposable” workers.[15] Happily – or least, hopefully – such disposable workers do not disappear; they are not consigned to the dustbin of history. They are indignant. Cheap Nature’s double logic of valorization and devaluation increasingly finds its revolutionary pivot in the struggle for dignity and mode of re/production that values the life and labor of all the Earth’s creatures. Power Struggles is a mighty contribution to those revolutionary possibilities at an epochal turning point in human – and more-than-human – affairs.

[1] Preface to the Spanish translation of Jaume Franquesa, Power Struggles: Dignity, Value, & the Renewable Energy Frontier in Spain (Madrid: Errata Naturae, forthcoming late 2022; 2018 original, Indiana University Press). Correspondence: Jason W. Moore: A pdf of this essay may be found here:

[2] J.W. Moore, “Power, Profit and Prometheanism, Part I: Method, Ideology and the Violence of the Civilizing Project,” Journal of World-Systems Research 21(2, 2022), 415-426

[3] R. Williams, “Ideas of Nature,” in Culture and Materialism (London: Verso, 1980), 67-85.

[4] J.W. Moore, El capitalismo en la trama de la vida: ecología y acumulación del capital (Madrid: Traficante Suenos, 2020); idem, La trama de la vida en los umbrales del Capitaloceno (Ciudad de México: Bajo Tierra Ediciones, 2020); Yoan Molinero Gerbeau, Gennaro Avallone & Jason W. Moore, eds., Ecología-Mundo, Capitaloceno y Acumulación Global, Parte 1, Relaciones Internacionales, 46 (2021); idem, eds., Ecología-Mundo, Capitaloceno y Acumulación Global, Parte 2, Relaciones Internacionales, 47 (2021). See several hundred books and essays in the world-ecology conversation here:

[5] R. Williams, Politics and Letters (London: Verso, 2015).

[6] K. Marx, Grundrisse (New York: Vintage, 1973), 99.

[7] F.K. Satrio, Living in the Ruins of the Capitalocene, PhD dissertation (Binghamton University, 2022).

[8] K. Marx, Capital (New York: Vintage, 1977), 799.

[9] Marx, Capital, 899.

[10] J.W. Moore, “The Value of Everything? Work, Capital, and Historical Natures in the Capitalist World-Ecology,” Review 37(3-4, 2017), 245-92.

[11] J.W. Moore, “La naturaleza y la transición del feudalismo al capitalismo,” La trama de la vida en los umbrales del Capitaloceno (Ciudad de México: Bajo Tierra Ediciones, 2020), 41-114; R. Patel and J.W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2017).

[12] J.W. Moore, Empire, Class & The Origins Of Planetary Crisis: The Transition Debate in the Web of Life, Esboços: histories in global contexts 28 (2021), 740-763; idem, “Del gran abaratamiento a la gran implosión: Clase, clima y la Gran Frontera,” Relaciones Internacionales, 47 (2021), 11-52.

[13] J.W. Moore, “Wasting Away: How Capitalism Lays Waste to the Web of Life, and Why It Can’t Stop,” Working Paper, World-Ecology Research Collective, Binghamton University (2022),

[14] M. Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale (London: Zed, 1986), 77,

[15] J.W. Moore, “El hombre, la naturaleza y el ambientalismo de los ricos. Antropoceno, Capitaloceno y el proletariado planetario,” In Pensar la ciencia de otro modo, Francisco F. Herrera Daniel Lew Nerliny Carucí, eds. (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para Ciencia y Tecnología [Mincyt]), 55-82


Capitaloceno y justicia planetaria

La crisis que estamos experimentando no es el fracaso de una especie, es el fracaso de un sistema. Esta es la historia de un modelo interpretativo alternativo que ve el Antropoceno como un discurso parcial que culpa a las víctimas y es una referencia débil para el nuevo movimiento verde.

¿Quién es responsable por la crisis climática?

Para todas las personas que no sean negacionistas climáticas, hay una respuesta fácil a esta pregunta: la humanidad. ¿Quién, en su sano juicio, podría cuestionar la idea de que el cambio climático es antropogénico (hecho por humanos). ¿Acaso no vivimos en el Antropoceno: la era del Hombre como una fuerza geológica?

Bueno, sí y no. A fin de cuentas resulta que decir “¡Los humanos lo hicieron!” puede oscurecer tanto como clarifica. Hay un mundo de diferencias políticas entre decir “¡Los humanos lo hicieron!” -y decir “¡Algunos humanos lo hicieron!”. Pensadores radicales y activistas por la justicia climática han empezado a cuestionar una distribución tan fuertemente igualitaria de la responsabilidad histórica por el cambio climático, en un sistema empeñado en una marcada desigualdad en la distribución de la riqueza y el poder. Desde este punto de vista, la frase cambio climático antropogénico es una forma especial de culpar a las víctimas de la explotación, la violencia y la pobreza. ¿Una alternativa más acertada? La nuestra es una era de crisis climática capitalogénica.

Capitalogénica: “hecha por el capital”. Como su concepto hermano, Capitaloceno, puede sonar incómodo cuando se dice. Eso, sin embargo, no tiene mucho que ver con la palabra -es porque bajo la hegemonía burguesa se nos enseña a mirar con sospecha cualquier lenguaje que nombre al sistema. Pero nombrar al sistema, las formas de opresión y las lógicas de explotación es lo que los movimientos sociales emancipatorios siempre hacen. Los movimientos por la justicia se despliegan a través de nuevas ideas y nuevos lenguajes. El poder para nombrar una injusticia canaliza el pensamiento y la estrategia, algo dramáticamente subvalorado por los movimientos obrero, anti-colonial y feminista a lo largo del siglo veinte. En este sentido, la corriente principal del ambientalismo desde 1968 -el “ambientalismo de los ricos” (Peter Dauvegne)- ha sido un completo desastre. La “huella ecológica” dirige nuestra atención al consumo individual dirigido por el mercado. El Antropoceno (y antes de eso, la Nave Espacial Terrestre) nos dice que la crisis planetaria es más o menos una consecuencia natural de la naturaleza humana, como si la crisis climática actual fuera una cuestión de seres humanos siendo seres humanos, tal como las serpientes son serpientes y las zebras son zebras. La verdad es más matizada, identificable, y procesable: estamos viviendo en el Capitaloceno, la Era del Capital. Sabemos -históricamente, y en la crisis presente- quién es responsable por la crisis climática. Tienen nombres y direcciones, empezando con los ocho hombres más ricos del mundo con más riqueza que los 3.6 billones de humanos en el fondo.

¿Qué es el capitaloceno? Permítanme empezar diciendo lo que no es el Capitaloceno. No es un substituto de la geología. Y no es un argumento que dice que un sistema económico dirige la crisis planetaria -aunque la economía es crucial. Es una forma de entender el capitalismo como un sistema histórico, geográficamente  conectivo y con patrones. En esta visión, el Capitaloceno es una geopoética para comprender el capitalismo como una ecología-mundo de poder y re/producción en la red de la vida.

Entraremos en el Capitaloceno en un momento. Primero, aclaremos el concepto de Antropoceno, del que existen dos. Uno es elAntropoceno Geológico. Este es la preocupación de los geólogos y científicos del sistema terrestre. Su asunto principal son las marcas doradas: marcadores clave en la capa estratigráfica que identifican las eras geológicas. En el caso del Antropoceno, estas marcas son reconocidas generalmente como plásticos, huesos de pollo y basura nuclear. (¡Esa es la contribución del capitalismo a la historia geológica!). De forma alternativa y perceptiva, los biogeógrafos Simon Lewis y Mark Maslin argumentan que 1610 marca el inicio del Antropoceno Geológico. Considerando la “Punta Orbis”, el período entre 1492 y 1610 fue testigo no solo de la Invasión Colombina. El posterior genocidio en las Américas llevó a una reforestación y una rápida captura de CO2 hacia 1550, contribuyendo con algunas de las décadas más frías de la Pequeña Edad de Hielo (c. 1300-1850). El Antropoceno Geológico es por lo tanto una abstracción deliberada de las relaciones históricas en orden a clarificar las relaciones biogeográficas de los humanos (como especie) y la biósfera. Eso es completamente razonable. La tesis del Capitaloceno no es un argumento sobre historia geológica.

Es un argumento sobre geohistoria –algo que incluye los cambios biogeológicos como fundamentales a las historias humanas de poder y producción. Aquí, el Capitaloceno confronta a un segundo Antropoceno: el Antropoceno Popular. Este segundo Antropoceno engloba una discusión mucho mayor en las humanidades y las ciencias sociales. Es una conversación sobre el desarrollo histórico y las realidades contemporáneas de la crisis planetaria. No hay una separación limpia y ordenada, y muchos científicos del sistema terrestre han estado felices de moverse desde el Antropoceno Geológico al Popular, ¡y luego de vuelta!

Para el Antropoceno Popular, el problema es el Hombre y la Naturaleza -un problema que contiene algo más que un pequeño prejuicio de género, como deja claro Kate Raworth cuando señala con sarcasmo que estamos viviendo en el Mantropoceno. Este Antropoceno presenta un modelo de crisis planetaria que es cualquier cosa menos nuevo. Reencarna una cosmología de la Humanidad y la Naturaleza que se remonta en algunos modos hasta 1492 – y en otros a Thomas Malthus en el siglo dieciocho. Esta es la narrativa de la Humanidad haciéndole cosas terribles a la naturaleza. Y lo que impulsa estas cosas terribles es, como siempre, el fantasma de la sobrepoblación – una idea que ha justificado consistentemente la violenta opresión de mujeres y personas de color.

Quizás van a percibir que he capitalizado las palabras Humanidad y Naturaleza. Eso es porque no son solo palabras, sino que abstracciones que han sido tomadas como reales por imperios, estados modernizadores y capitalistas con el objetivo de abaratar las naturalezas humanas y extra-humanas de todo tipo. Históricamente, la mayoría de los humanos han sido excluidos en términos prácticos de la pertenencia a la Humanidad. En la historia del capitalismo, ha habido poco espacio en el Antropos para cualquiera que no sea blanco, hombre y burgués. Desde 1492, los super-ricos y sus aliados imperiales despojaron a las personas de color, a los Pueblos Indígenas, y virtualmente a todas las mujeres de su Humanidad, y los asignaron a la Naturaleza – así se podían transformar mejor en oportunidades de generar ganancia. El resultado es que la cosmología del Hombre y la Naturaleza en el Antropoceno Popular no solo es analíticamente defectuosa, sino que está implicada en historias prácticas de dominación. Cuando el Antropoceno Popular rechaza nombrar el cambio climático capitalogénico, fracasa en ver que el problema no es Hombre y Naturaleza, sino  ciertos hombres comprometidos en la lucrativa dominación y destrucción de la mayoría de los humanos y el resto de la naturaleza.

La insinuación del Antropoceno Popular de que todos los humanos lo provocaron, por lo tanto, claramente no es el caso. La proporción de emisiones de CO2 de Norteamérica y Europa occidental entre 1850 y 2012 es tres veces más grande que la de China. Incluso esto no llega suficientemente lejos. Tal contabilidad nacional es afín a individualizar la responsabilidad por la crisis climática. No considera la centralidad del capital norteamericano y europeo occidental en la industrialización global desde 1945. Desde la década de 1990, por ejemplo, las emisiones de China han servido abrumadoramente a los mercados de exportación Europeo y Norteamericano, y durante décadas fueron respaldados por masivas inversiones extranjeras. Hay un sistema global de poder y capital que siempre tiene hambre de más Naturaleza Barata, y que desde la década de 1970  ha significado una brusca ampliación de la desigualdad de clases. Consideremos a los Estados Unidos, el líder histórico-mundial en carbonizar la atmósfera. Darle la misma responsabilidad por el calentamiento global a todos los norteamericanos es un gran borrón. EE.UU. fue, desde el principio, una república de apartheid basada en el genocidio, el despojo y la esclavitud. Ciertos norteamericanos son responsables por las emisiones de EE.UU.: los dueños de capital, plantaciones y esclavos (o las prisiones privadas de hoy), fábricas y bancos.

El argumento del Capitaloceno, por lo tanto, rechaza el aplanamiento antropocéntrico “Hemos conocido al enemigo y somos nosotros” (como en el icónico afiche de Walt Kelly para el Día de la Tierra en 1970) -junto con el reduccionismo económico. Para estar seguros, el capitalismo es un sistema de infinita acumulación de capital. Pero la tesis del Capitaloceno señala que para entender la crisis planetaria hoy en día, necesitamos mirar al capitalismo como una ecología-mundo de poder, producción y reproducción. En esta perspectiva, los momentos “sociales” de la moderna dominación de clases, la supremacía blanca y el patriarcado están íntimamente conectados con proyectos ambientales dirigidos a la incesante acumulación de capital. Esencialmente, la gran innovación del capitalismo, desde sus orígenes después de 1492, fue inventar la práctica de apropiación de la Naturaleza. Esa Naturaleza no era solo una idea sino que una realidad territorial y cultural que encerró y vigiló a las mujeres, a los pueblos colonizados y las redes de la vida extra-humanas. A causa de que las redes de la vida resisten la estandarización, aceleración y homogeneización de la maximización de ganancias capitalista, el capitalismo nunca ha sido meramente económico: la dominación cultural y la fuerza política han hecho posibles la devastación capitalogénica de las naturalezas humana y extra-humanas en cada ocasión.

¿Por qué 1492 y no 1850 o 1945? No hay duda de que los famosos gráficos de “palo de hockey” del Antropoceno indican puntos de inflexión mayores para la carbonización y otros movimientos en estos puntos, especialmente en el último. Estas son representaciones de consecuencias, sin embargo, no de las causas de la crisis planetaria. La tesis del Capitaloceno persigue aquellos análisis que vinculan tales consecuencias a las historias más largas de la dominación de clases, el racismo y el sexismo, los que se forman, en el sentido moderno, después de 1492.

Hacia el siglo dieciséis, vemos una ruptura en cómo los científicos, los capitalistas y los estrategas imperiales entendían la realidad planetaria. En la Europa medieval, los humanos y el resto de la naturaleza eran entendidos en términos jerárquicos, como la Gran Cadena del Ser. Pero no había una separación estricta entre las relaciones humanas y el resto de la naturaleza. Palabras como naturaleza, civilización, salvajismo y sociedad solo alcanzaron su significado moderno en el lenguaje inglés entre 1550 y 1650. Esta fue, no por coincidencia, la era de la revolución agrícola de Inglaterra, la revolución de la minería de carbón moderna y la invasión de Irlanda (1541). Este giro cultural no ocurrió en aislamiento en la anglo-esfera -había movimientos emparentados en desarrollo en otros lenguajes de Europa occidental alrededor de la misma época, mientras el mundo Atlántico experimentaba un giro capitalista. Este quiebre radical con las formas anteriores de conocer la realidad, previamente holísticas (pero aún jerárquicas), abrió el camino al dualismo Civilización y Salvajismo.

Donde fuera y cuando fuera que los barcos europeos desembarcaran soldados, curas y comerciantes, ellos inmediatamente encontraban “salvajes”. En la Edad Media, la palabra significaba fuerte y feroz; ahora significaba el antónimo de civilización. Los salvajes habitaban algo llamado “tierras vírgenes” (wilderness), y la tarea de los conquistadores civilizados era Cristianizar y Mejorar. Y estas tierras vírgenes (wilderness) en estos años eran conocidas frecuentemente como “basura” – y en las colonias esto justificaba devastar para que esas tierras y sus salvajes habitantes pudieran ser puestos a trabajar barato. El código binario de Civilización y Salvajismo constituye un sistema operativo esencial para la modernidad, uno basado en la premisa de despojar a los seres humanos de su humanidad. Tal despojo – que ocurrió no sólo una sino que muchas veces – fue el destino impuesto a pueblos indígenas, a los irlandeses, a virtualmente todas las mujeres, a los esclavos africanos y pueblos colonizados a través del mundo. Es esta geocultura capitalista la que reproduce un extraordinario abaratamiento de la vida y el trabajo, esencial para cada gran boom económico mundial, pero que también es violento, degradante y auto-agotador.

El lenguaje de Sociedad y Naturaleza es, por lo tanto, no solo el lenguaje de la revolución colonial-burguesa en su sentido más amplio, sino que además una práctica de alienación, tan fundamental para la hegemonía del capitalismo como la alienación de las relaciones de trabajo modernas. [el lenguaje de] Sociedad y Naturaleza fetichiza las relaciones, esencialmente alienadas, de violencia y dominación bajo el capitalismo. La consideración del fetichismo de la mercancía de Marx, a través del cual los trabajadores llegan a percibir los frutos de su trabajo como un poder ajeno acechando sobre ellos es obviamente central. Hay otra forma de alienación que va junto con este fetichismo de la mercancía. Este es el fetichismo civilizatorio. Esa alienación no es entre “humanos y naturaleza”. Es un proyecto de algunos humanos – blancos, burgueses, hombres, durante el surgimiento del capitalismo – para abaratar a la mayoría de los seres humanos y nuestras formas de vida compañeras.

Si el fetichismo de la mercancía es un antagonismo fundamental entre el capital y el proletariado, el fetichismo civilizatorio es el antagonismo histórico-mundial entre el capital y el biotariado (Stephen Collis) -las formas de vida, vivas y muertas, que proveen el trabajo/energía impagos que hacen posible al capitalismo. El fetichismo civilizatorio nos enseña a pensar la relación entre el capitalismo y la red de la vida como una relación entre objetos, antes que una relación internalizadora y externalizadora de producción del ambiente. Todo lo que Marx dijo sobre el fetichismo de la mercancía fue prefigurado -tanto lógica como históricamente- por una serie de fetiches civilizatorios, siendo la línea divisoria entre Civilizado y Salvaje su pivote geocultural. El surgimiento del capitalismo no inventó el trabajo asalariado; inventó al proletariado moderno dentro de un proyecto aún más audaz de poner a las naturalezas de todo tipo a trabajar gratis o a bajo costo: el biotariado. Tal como el fetichismo de la mercancía, el fetichismo civilizatorio fue -y continúa siendo- no solo una idea, sino que una praxis y una racionalidad de dominación mundial. Desde 1492, esta línea divisoria – entre Civilizado y Salvaje – ha dado forma a la vida moderna, el poder, la producción y reproducción. Reinventada en cada era del capitalismo, ahora está siendo reafirmada de un modo poderoso – a medida que los resurgentes populismos autoritarios militarizan y aseguran las fronteras contra las “infestaciones” de refugiados impulsadas por la trinidad del Capitaloceno tardío de guerra incesante, despojo racializado y crisis climáticas.

1492 no solo marcó un quiebre geocultural, sino que además una transición biogeográfica sin precedentes en la historia humana. La Invasión Europea empezó una reunificación geohistórica de Pangea, el supercontinente que se separó hace 175 millones de años. Esta Pangea moderna, podría, a los ojos de los banqueros, reyes y nobles europeos, servir como un almacén virtualmente ilimitado de trabajo, alimento, energía y materias primas Baratos. Es aquí, en la zona Atlántica de la Pangea moderna, que se originaron el capitalismo y la crisis planetaria de hoy. En los tres siglos posteriores, la triple hélice del capitalismo de imperio, capital y ciencia hizo posible la mayor y más rápida transformación de tierra/trabajo en la historia humana. Solo el inicio de la agricultura al inicio del Holoceno, hace unos 12.000 años, compite con la revolución ecológica de inicios del capitalismo. Siglos antes de los motores de vapor de Newcomen y Watts, los banqueros, dueños de plantaciones, industriales, comerciantes e imperios europeos transformaron las relaciones planetarias de trabajo/vida/tierra a una escala y velocidad de un orden de magnitud mayor que cualquier cosa vista antes. Desde Brasil a los Andes y al Báltico, los bosques fueron derribados, sistemas de trabajo coercitivos fueron impuestos a los africanos, pueblos indígenas y eslavos, y los indispensables suministros de alimento, madera y plata Baratos fueron enviados a los centros de riqueza y poder. Mientras tanto, las mujeres en Europa -¡y qué decir las mujeres en las colonias!- fueron sometidas a un régimen de trabajo coercitivo más implacable que cualquier cosa conocida bajo el feudalismo. Las mujeres fueron expulsadas de la Civilización, sus vidas y trabajo fueron fuertemente vigilados y redefinidos como “no-trabajo” (Silvia Federici): precisamente porque el “trabajo de las mujeres” pertenecía a la esfera de la naturaleza.

El relato de la crisis planetaria es contado generalmente a través de los lentes de “la” Revolución Industrial. Nadie cuestiona que industrializaciones sucesivas han coincidido con puntos de inflexión mayores de uso de recursos y toxificación (¡Pero la industrialización precede por mucho el siglo XIX!). Explicar los orígenes de la crisis planetaria por transformaciones tecnológicas, sin embargo, es un potente reduccionismo. La Revolución Industrial Británica, por ejemplo, le debe todo al algodón Barato, al trabajo impago de generaciones de pueblos indígenas que co-produjeron una variedad de algodón adecuado para la producción en máquinas (G. hirsutum), a los genocidios y despojos de los Cherokee y otros pueblos en el sur de Norteamérica, a la desmotadora de algodón que aumentó la productividad del trabajo cincuenta veces, a los africanos esclavizados que trabajaron en los campos de algodón. Ni tampoco hubiese sido posible la industrialización inglesa sin la opresiva revolución en la fertilidad y el género del siglo anterior, que sometió las capacidades de cuidado y reproducción de las mujeres a los imperativos demográficos del capital.

Estas instantáneas de la historia del capitalismo nos cuentan que este peculiar sistema siempre ha dependido de fronteras de Naturalezas Baratas – naturalezas no mercantilizadas cuyo trabajo puede ser apropiado gratuitamente o a bajo costo a través de la violencia, la dominación cultural y los mercados. Estas fronteras siempre han sido cruciales porque el capitalismo es el sistema más prodigiosamente desperdiciador jamás creado. Esto explica la extraordinaria extroversión del capitalismo. Para sobrevivir, ha tenido que cercar el planeta simultáneamente como una fuente de Naturaleza Barata, y como un basurero planetario. Ambas fronteras, que posibilitan una radical reducción de costos y por lo tanto la maximización de ganancias, ahora se están cerrando. Por una parte, lo Barato es una relación sujeta al agotamiento – trabajadores y campesinos se rebelan y resisten, las minas son agotadas, la fertilidad del suelo es erosionada. Por otra parte, el cercamiento del capitalismo de la atmósfera planetaria y de otros comunes por sus desechos ha cruzado un umbral crítico. El cambio climático epocal es la expresión más dramática de este punto de inflexión, donde nos encontramos con que la creciente toxificación global está desestabilizando cada vez más los logros epocales del capitalismo y, sobre todo, su régimen de Comida Barata. Estas dos estrategias, Naturaleza Barata y Basura Barata, están cada vez más exhaustas, a medida que la geografía de producción de vida y obtención de ganancias entra en una fase mórbida. La crisis climática está – como nos recuerda Naomi Klein – cambiando todo. La ecología-mundo del capitalismo está experimentando una inversión epocal – o mejor, una implosión – a medida que las naturalezas dejan de ser baratas y empiezan a montar una resistencia cada vez más efectiva. Las redes de la vida en todas partes están desafiando las estrategias de reducción de costos del capital, y se convierten en una realidad maximizadora de costos para el capital. El cambio climático (pero no solo el cambio climático) hace todo más costoso para el capital – y cada vez más peligroso para todo el resto de personas.

Este es el fin de la Naturaleza Barata. Este es un problema inmenso para el capitalismo, construido sobre la praxis del abaratamiento: abaratamiento en el sentido de precios, pero también abaratamiento en el sentido de dominación cultural. El primero es una forma de economía política, mientras que la otra es la dominación cultural que se revuelve alrededor de la hegemonía imperial, el racismo y el sexismo. Entre los problemas más centrales para la justicia planetaria hoy en día, se encuentra el forjar una estrategia que vincule la justicia a lo largo y a través de estos dos momentos. Hay que considerar que los resultados más violentos y biofísicamente mortíferos de esta toxificación y estagnación económica ahora son vividos por por aquellas poblaciones más consistentemente designadas como Naturaleza desde 1492: mujeres, poblaciones neo-coloniales, pueblos de color.

Esta es una situación terrible para todos en el planeta Tierra. Pero hay terreno para la esperanza. Una lección clave que he sacado a partir de estudiar la historia climática de los últimos 2.000 años es esta: las clases dominantes rara vez han sobrevivido a las transformaciones climáticas. El colapso del poder romano en Occidente coincidió con el Período Frío de la Edad Oscura (c. 400-750). La crisis del feudalismo ocurrió en el mismo siglo o poco después de la llegada de la Pequeña Edad de Hielo (1300-1850). Las crisis políticas más serias de inicios del capitalismo – hasta mediados del siglo veinte – coincidieron con las décadas más severas de la Pequeña Edad de Hielo en el siglo diecisiete. El clima no determina nada, pero los cambios climáticos son tejidos en la tela de la producción, la reproducción, la gobernanza, la cultura… en resumen, ¡todo! Para estar seguros, el cambio climático que está en desarrollo ahora será más grande que cualquier cosa vista en los últimos 12.000 años. Seguir con todo como siempre (“Bussiness as usual”) – con los sistemas de dominio de clases y producción y todo el resto – es algo que nunca sobrevive trastornos climáticos mayores. El final del Holoceno y el inicio del Antropoceno Geológico puede por lo tanto ser recibido como un momento epocal de posibilidad política – el fin del Capitaloceno.

Para estar seguros, el capitalismo continúa. Pero es un muerto caminando.  Lo que se necesita que suceda ahora es el cambio radical que conecte descarbonización, democratización y desmercantilización. Esto tendrá que dar vuelta la lógica del Green New Deal. Una visión así de radical tomará la relación crucial del GND entre justicia económica, provisión social y sostenibilidad ambiental en la dirección de desmercantilizar la vivienda, el transporte, los cuidados y la educación – y asegurar alimento y justicia climática a través de la desvinculación de la agricultura de la tiranía de los monocultivos capitalistas.

Es precisamente este impulso radical lo que está en el corazón de la conversación sobre ecología-mundo. Esa conversación se define por una apertura fundamental a repensar los viejos modelos intelectuales – no menos importante pero no solo Sociedad y Naturaleza – y a impulsar un nuevo diálogo de intelectuales, artistas, activistas y cientificas/os, que explore el capitalismo como una ecología de poder, producción y reproducción en la red de la vida. Es una conversación que insiste que: No hay políticas del trabajo sin naturaleza, no hay políticas de la naturaleza sin el trabajo; que enfatiza que la Justicia Climática es Justicia Reproductiva; que desafía el Apartheid Climático con el Abolicionismo Climático.

El Capitaloceno no es, por lo tanto, una nueva palabra para burlarse del Antropoceno. Es una invitación a una conversación sobre cómo podríamos desmantelar, analítica y prácticamente, la tiranía del Hombre y la Naturaleza. Es una forma de hacer sentido del infierno planetario, destacando que la crisis climática es un cambio geohistórico que incluye moléculas de gases de efecto invernadero, pero que no se puede reducir a partículas por millón. La crisis climática es un momento geohistórico, que combina sistemáticamente contaminación con gases de efecto invernadero con división climática de clases, patriarcado de clases y  apartheid climático. La historia de la justicia en el siglo veintiuno será el resultado de cuán bien podamos identificar estos antagonismos e interdependencias mutuas, y cuán adeptamente podamos construir coaliciones políticas que trasciendan estas contradicciones planetarias.

Traducido por Daniel Ruilova

Original: 2019. The Capitalocene and Planetary JusticeMaize 6, 49-54.

2020. Capitaloceno y justicia planetaria, in Ciudad (in)sostenible, editado por Alejandro Hernández Gálvez (Ciudad de México: Arquine, 2020), 13-24. Trad: Daniel Rulova.

En español

Jason W. Moore, 2021. Del gran abaratamiento a la gran implosión: Clase, clima y la Gran FronteraRelaciones Internacionales, 47, 11-52.

2020. Jason W. Moore: ‘El sucio secreto de la acumulacion infinita por parte del capitalismo es que no paga sus facturas’El Salto (30 November). Entrevista: Isidro López. Traducción de Vicente Rubio-Pueyo.

2020. Introducción, la doble internalidad: la historia cuando la naturaleza importa, El capitalismo en la trama de la vida. Ecología y acumulación de capital (María José Castro Lage, trad.). Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.

2020. La naturaleza y la transición del feudalismo al capitalismo. In Jason W. Moore, La trama de la vida en los umbrales del Capitaloceno, Mina Lorena Navarro y Horacio Machado Aráoz, compiladores. Daniel Piedra Herrera, trad. Ciudad de México: Bajo Tierra Ediciones, 41-113.

2020. ‘Esta elevada montaña de plata podría conquistar el mundo entero’: Potosí y la ecología política del subdesarrollo, 1545-1800. In Jason W. Moore, La trama de la vida en los umbrales del Capitaloceno, Mina Lorena Navarro y Horacio Machado Aráoz, compiladores. Horacio Machado Aráoz, trad. Ciudad de México: Bajo Tierra Ediciones, 115-156.

Jason W. Moore y Raj Patel, 2018. Desenterrando el Capitaloceno: Hacia una ecología reparadoraGuerilla Translation (25 abril). Traducido por Lara San Mamés, editado por Susa Oñate.

Raj Patel y Jason W. Moore, 2018. Cómo el nugget de pollo se convirtió en un símbolo de nuestra era, Raj Patel y Jason W. Moore; Traducción, Elena Falgueras.

Jason W. Moore. 2017. Entrevista a Jason Moore: Del Capitaloceno a una nueva política ontológicaEcología Política 53, 108-110. Jonah Wedekind (entrev.), Felipe Milanez (entrev.), Joaquim Muntané Puig (trad).

2017.  Jason W. Moore: Vivimos el derrumbe del capitalismo. Entrevista realizada por Joseph Confavreux y Jade Lindgaard.

2016. El capitalismo en la red de la vida: una entrevista con Jason W. MooreDerrota y navegación (13 November). Trad: Carlos Valmeseda.

2016. El fin de la naturaleza barata: o cómo aprendí a dejar de preocuparme por “el” medioambiente y amar la crisis del capitalismoRelaciones Internacionales, 33, 143-174. (Nicolás Pozo, trad.) Read the abstract here.

2016. Crisis: ¿ecológica o ecológico-mundial? Laberinto 47, 71-75. (Manuel Varo, trad.)

2014. ¿El fin del camino? Revoluciones agrícolas en la ecología-mundo capitalista, 1450-2010Filosofía, política y economía en el Laberinto 41, 13-34. (Roberto J. Ortiz, trad.)

2013. El Auge de la Ecologia-Mundo Capitalista, I: Las fronteras mercantiles en el auge y decadencia de la apropiación máximaLaberinto, 38, 9-26. (Manuel Varo, trad.)

2013. El Auge de la Ecologia-Mundo Capitalista, II: Las fronteras mercantiles en el auge y decadencia de la apropiación máxima, Laberinto 39, 6-13.  (Manuel Varo, trad.)

2013. Feudalismo, Capitalismo, Socialismo: O Teoría y Política de las Transiciones Eco-HistóricasLaberinto 40, 31-37. (Daniel Piedra Herrera, trad.).

Jason W. Moore (詹森•W.摩尔, Джейсон Мур) is an environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University, where he is professor of sociology and leads the World-Ecology Research Collective. He is author or editor, most recently, of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), Capitalocene o Antropocene? (Ombre Corte, 2017), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016), and, with Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2017). His books and essays on environmental history, capitalism, and social theory have been widely recognized, including the Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2003), the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Section on the Political Economy of the World-System (American Sociological Association, 2002 for articles, and 2015 for Web of Life), and the Byres and Bernstein Prize in Agrarian Change (2011). He coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network. He can be reached at:

Elsewhere on the web

Twitter: @oikeios

Google Scholar


Ma visite récente de quelques librairies m’amène à revenir ce jour à cette question : qui est responsable de la crise climatique ? Car ce qui a attiré mon regard en ces lieux est le large rayonnage post-déconfinement consacré aux livres tout frais sortis sur la collapsologie, cette approche à la mode Anthropocène qui s’intéresse à l’Effondrement possible de notre civilisation.

Dans laquelle l’élan utopique cohabite volontiers avec une profonde mélancolie. De la sorte, ils en illustrent aussi les vertus et les dérives possibles. Mais comment ne pas souscrire à ce désir d’agir face à ce qui s’abat sur nous, nous concerne et nous regarde : la catastrophe écologique qui grandit sous nos yeux ?

Ce qu’omettent les collapsologues – Yves Cochet & consorts- cependant c’est de dire que l’idée d’effondrement est un truc des pays riches occidentaux. Parce qu’ailleurs dans le monde, d’effondrement les gens savent très bien ce qu’il en est depuis des lustres. Il est d’ailleurs frappant de remarquer dans ce qui nous interpelle au fur et à mesure que la crise écologique grandit jour après jour, le lien devenu visible – tel le virus caché dans les replis du corps social aujourd’hui débusqué, comme il est dit ici– entre cette question environnementale, la question féminine et la question raciale.

Si bien qu’il apparaît opportun de reposer d’abord la question de la responsabilité sur le processus historique « réellement existant ».

Pour cela, voici ci-dessous ce long texte de 2019, qui vient de paraître en anglais sur la revue en ligne, de l’historien et géographe américain Jason W. Moore. Enseignant l’histoire du monde et l’écologie mondiale à l’université de Binghamton, il est l’auteur de plusieurs livres – présentés pour certains ici-même, ici &  – où il oppose la notion de « capitalocène » au Populaire Anthropocène.


« Un négationniste du climat, il a une réponse facile à la question : l’humanité. Qui, sain d’esprit, contesterait l’idée que le changement climatique est anthropique (fabriqué par les humains) ? Ne vivons-nous pas dans l’Anthropocène : l’âge de l’homme comme force géologique ? Eh bien, oui et non. Il s’avère que le fait de dire « Les humains l’ont fait ! » peut obscurcir autant qu’il clarifie. Il y a un monde de différence politique entre dire « Les humains l’ont fait ! » et le fait de dire « Quelques humains l’ont fait ! » Les penseurs radicaux et les militants de la justice climatique ont commencé à remettre en question une répartition tout à fait égalitaire de la responsabilité historique du changement climatique dans un système engagé dans une distribution très inégale des richesses et du pouvoir. De ce point de vue, l’expression « le changement climatique anthropique » est une façon particulière de blâmer les victimes de l’exploitation, de la violence et de la pauvreté. Une alternative plus proche de la vérité ? Notre époque est celle de la capitalogène Crise climatique.

Capitalogène : « made by capital ». Comme son frère, Capitalocene, il peut sembler gênant lorsqu’il est parlé. Mais cela n’a pas grand chose à voir avec le mot, car sous l’hégémonie bourgeoise, on nous apprend à considérer avec suspicion toute langue qui nomme le système. Mais nommer le système, la forme d’oppression et la logique d’exploitation, c’est ce que font toujours les mouvements sociaux émancipatoires. Les mouvements pour la justice se développent à travers de nouvelles idées et de nouveaux langages. Le pouvoir de nommer une injustice canalise la pensée et la stratégie, ce que les mouvements ouvriers, anticoloniaux et féministes ont souligné de façon spectaculaire tout au long du XXe siècle. À cet égard, l’environnementalisme dominant depuis 1968 – « l’environnementalisme des riches » (Peter Dauvergne) – a été un désastre complet. L’ »empreinte écologique » attire notre attention sur la consommation individuelle, orientée vers le marché. L’Anthropocène (et avant cela, le Vaisseau spatial Terre) nous dit que la crise planétaire est plus ou moins une conséquence naturelle de la nature humaine – comme si la crise climatique actuelle était une question d’humanité, tout comme les serpents seront des serpents et les zèbres des zèbres. La vérité est plus nuancée, identifiable et actionnable : nous vivons dans le Capitalocène, l’ère du Capital. Nous savons – historiquement et dans la crise actuelle – qui est responsable de la crise climatique. Ils ont des noms et des adresses, en commençant par les huit hommes les plus riches du monde qui ont plus de richesses que les 3,6 milliards humains.

Qu’est-ce que le Capitalocène ? Permettez-moi de commencer par dire ce qu’est le Capitalocene n’est pas. Il n’est pas un substitut à la géologie. Et ce n’est pas un argument qui dit qu’un système économique est le moteur d’une crise planétaire – bien que l’économie soit cruciale. C’est une façon de comprendre le capitalisme en tant que système historique, géographique et structuré. Dans cette optique, le Capitalocène est une géopoétique permettant de donner un sens au capitalisme en tant qu’écologie mondiale du pouvoir et de la reproduction dans la toile de la vie. Nous nous pencherons sur le Capitalocène dans un instant. Tout d’abord, mettons les choses au clair sur l’Anthropocène, qui est au nombre de deux. L’un est le Géologique Anthropocène. C’est la préoccupation des géologues et des scientifiques du système terrestre. Leur principale préoccupation est les pics dorés : des marqueurs clés dans la couche stratigraphique qui identifient les ères géologiques. Dans le cas de l’Anthropocène, ces pics sont généralement reconnus comme étant des plastiques, des os de poulet et des déchets nucléaires. (Telle est la contribution du capitalisme à l’histoire géologique !) De manière alternative et perspicace, les biogéographes Simon Lewis et Mark Maslin soutiennent que 1610 marque l’aube de l’Anthropocène géologique. Considéré comme le « pic Orbis », la période entre 1492 et 1610 n’a pas seulement été le témoin de l’invasion colombienne. Le génocide qui s’ensuivit sur le continent américain a entraîné une régénération des forêts et un rapide rejet de CO2
Le retrait de la population d’ici 1550 a contribué à certaines des décennies les plus froides du Petit âge glaciaire (vers 1300-1850). L’Anthropocène géologique est donc une abstraction délibérée des relations historiques afin de clarifier les relations biogéographiques des humains (en tant qu’espèces) et de la biosphère. C’est tout à fait raisonnable. La thèse du Capitalocène n’est pas un argument sur l’histoire géologique.

C’est un argument sur le géohistorique – quelque chose qui inclut les changements biogéologiques comme étant fondamentaux pour les histoires humaines de pouvoir et de production. Ici, le Capitalocène est confronté à un second Anthropocène : le Populaire Anthropocène. Ce deuxième Anthropocène englobe une discussion beaucoup plus large dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales. Il s’agit d’une conversation sur le développement historique, et les réalités contemporaines, de la crise planétaire. Il n’y a pas de séparation nette et tranchée, et de nombreux scientifiques du système terrestre ont été heureux de passer de l’Anthropocène géologique à l’Anthropocène populaire, et vice-versa !

Pour l’Anthropocène populaire, le problème est l’Homme et la Nature – un problème qui contient plus qu’un petit préjugé sexiste, comme Kate Raworth le montre clairement quand elle dit que nous vivons l’Homme Anthropocène. Cet Anthropocène présente un modèle de crise planétaire qui est tout sauf nouveau. Il réincarne une cosmologie de l’Humanité et de la Nature qui remonte d’une certaine manière à 1492 – et d’une autre manière à Thomas Malthus au VIIIe siècle. C’est le récit de l’humanité qui fait des choses terribles à la nature. Et, comme toujours, le spectre de la surpopulation est à l’origine de ces terribles actes – une idée qui a toujours justifié l’oppression violente des femmes et des personnes de couleur.

Vous remarquerez peut-être que j’ai mis une majuscule à ces mots : « Humanité » et « Nature ». C’est parce que ce ne sont pas de simples mots, mais des abstractions qui ont été considérées comme réelles par les empires, les États en voie de modernisation et les capitalistes, qui ont fini par dévaloriser les natures humaines et extra-humaines de toutes sortes. Historiquement, la plupart des êtres humains ont été pratiquement exclus de l’appartenance à l’Humanité. Dans l’histoire du capitalisme, il y a eu peu de place dans l’Anthropos pour tous ceux qui ne sont pas blancs, hommes et bourgeois. A partir de 1492, les super-riches et leurs alliés impériaux dépossédèrent les peuples de couleur, les peuples indigènes et pratiquement toutes les femmes de leur humanité, et assignèrent à la nature – mieux ils pourraient être transformés en opportunités de profit. Le résultat est que la cosmologie de l’homme et de la nature dans l’anthropocène populaire n’est pas seulement une analyse erronée, mais qu’elle est impliquée dans des histoires pratiques de domination. Lorsque l’Anthropocène populaire refuse de nommer capitalogène le changement climatique, elle ne voit pas que le problème n’est pas Homme et la nature, mais certains des hommes engagés dans la domination et la destruction profitable de la plupart des humains et du reste de la nature.

L’insinuation de l’Anthropocène populaire selon laquelle tous les humains l’ont fait, alors, n’est clairement pas le cas. La part des États-Unis et de l’Europe occidentale dans les émissions de CO 2 entre 1850 et 2012 est trois fois supérieure à celle de la Chine. Même cela ne va pas assez loin. Une telle comptabilité nationale s’apparente à une individualisation de la responsabilité de la crise climatique. Elle ne tient pas compte de la centralité du capital américain et de l’Europe occidentale dans l’industrialisation mondiale depuis 1945. Depuis les années 1990, par exemple, les émissions de la Chine ont massivement servi les marchés d’exportation européens et américains et ont été soutenues pendant des décennies par des investissements étrangers massifs. Il existe un système mondial de pouvoir et de capital qui est toujours avide de Nature bon marché, ce qui, depuis les années 1970, a entraîné une forte augmentation des inégalités de classe. Prenons l’exemple des États-Unis, le leader historique mondial de la carbonisation de l’atmosphère. Attribuer à tous les Américains une responsabilité égale dans le réchauffement de la planète est un grand effacement. Les États-Unis ont été, dès le début, une république de type apartheid basée sur le génocide, la dépossession et l’esclavage. Certains Américains sont responsables des émissions américaines : les propriétaires de capitaux, de plantations et d’esclaves (ou les prisons privées d’aujourd’hui), les usines et les banques. L’argument capitaliste rejette donc l’aplatissement anthropocentrique – « Nous avons rencontré l’ennemi et il est nous » (comme dans l’affiche emblématique de Walt Kelly pour le Jour de la Terre en 1970) – ainsi que le réductionnisme économique. Il est certain que le capitalisme est un système d’accumulation de capital sans fin.

Mais la thèse du Capitalocène dit que pour comprendre la crise planétaire actuelle, nous devons considérer le capitalisme comme une écologie mondiale du pouvoir, de la production et de la reproduction. Dans cette perspective, les moments « sociaux » de la domination moderne des classes, de la suprématie blanche et du patriarcat sont intimement liés aux projets environnementaux visant à l’accumulation sans fin du capital. Essentiellement, la grande innovation du capitalisme, dès ses origines après 1492, a été d’inventer la pratique de l’appropriation de la Nature. Que la Nature n’était pas seulement une idée mais une réalité territoriale et culturelle qui encadre et contrôle les femmes, les peuples colonisés et les réseaux de vie extra-humains. Parce que les réseaux de vie résistent à l’uniformisation, à l’accélération et à l’homogénéisation de la maximisation des profits capitalistes, le capitalisme n’a jamais été étroitement économique ; la domination culturelle et la force politique ont rendu possible la dévastation capitalogène des natures humaine et extra-humaine à chaque tournant.

Pourquoi 1492 et non 1850 ou 1945 ? Il ne fait aucun doute que les célèbres diagrammes de l’Anthropocène en forme de « crosse de hockey » indiquent des points d’inflexion majeurs pour la carbonisation et d’autres mouvements à ces points, en particulier ces derniers. Ce sont des représentations des conséquences, cependant, et non des causes de la crise planétaire. La thèse du Capitalocene poursuit des analyses qui relient ces conséquences aux histoires plus longues de la domination de classes, du racisme et du sexisme, qui se forment toutes, au sens moderne, après 1492.

La thèse du Capitalocene poursuit des analyses qui relient ces conséquences aux histoires plus longues de la domination de classes, du racisme et du sexisme, qui se forment toutes, au sens moderne, après 1492.

Au XVIe siècle, nous assistons à une rupture dans la façon dont les scientifiques, les capitalistes et les stratèges impériaux ont compris la réalité planétaire. Dans l’Europe médiévale, les humains et le reste de la nature étaient compris en termes hiérarchiques, comme la Grande Chaîne de l’Etre. Mais il n’y avait pas de séparation stricte entre les relations humaines et le reste de la nature. Des mots tels que nature, civilisation, sauvagerie et société n’ont pris leur sens moderne dans la langue anglaise qu’entre 1550 et 1650. Ce n’est pas une coïncidence : c’était l’époque de la révolution agricole capitaliste en Angleterre, de la révolution moderne des mines de charbon, de l’invasion de l’Irlande (1541). Ce changement culturel ne s’est pas produit de manière isolée dans l’Anglosphère – des mouvements apparentés sont en cours dans d’autres langues d’Europe occidentale à peu près à la même époque, alors que le monde atlantique connaît un changement capitaliste. Cette rupture radicale avec les anciennes façons de connaître la réalité, auparavant holistiques (mais toujours hiérachiques), a fait place au dualisme de la civilisation et de la sauvagerie.

Partout et à chaque fois que les navires européens débarquaient des soldats, des prêtres et des marchands, ils rencontraient immédiatement des « sauvages ». Au Moyen-Âge, le mot signifiait fort et féroce ; aujourd’hui, il est devenu l’antonyme de civilisation. Les sauvages habitaient quelque chose qu’on appelle le désert, et c’était la tâche des conquérants civilisés de christianiser et de prouver. À cette époque, les régions sauvages étaient souvent appelées « déchets » et, dans les colonies, elles justifiaient la dépose de déchets afin que ces terres et leurs habitants sauvages puissent être mis au travail à bon marché. Le code binaire de civilisation et de sauvagerie constitue un système d’exploitation essentiel pour la modernité, fondé sur la dépossession des êtres humains de leur humanité. Cette dépossession – qui s’est produite non pas une fois mais plusieurs fois – a été le sort réservé aux peuples indigènes, aux Irlandais, à pratiquement toutes les femmes, aux esclaves africains, aux peuples colonisés du monde entier. C’est cette géoculture capitaliste qui reproduit une extraordinaire dévalorisation de la vie et du travail, essentielle à chaque grand boom économique mondial mais aussi violente, dégradante et épuisante.

Le langage de la Société et de la Nature n’est donc pas seulement le langage de la révolution bourgeoise et coloniale dans son sens le plus large, mais aussi une praxis d’aliénation, tout aussi fondamentale pour l’hégémonie du capitalisme que l’aliénation des relations de travail modernes. La société et la nature fétichisent les relations aliénées essentielles de violence et de domination sous le capitalisme. Le récit de Marx sur le fétichisme des marchandises, par lequel les travailleurs en viennent à percevoir les fruits de leur travail comme un pouvoir étranger qui les menace, est évidemment central. Il existe une autre forme d’aliénation qui accompagne ce fétichisme de la marchandise. Il s’agit du fétichisme des civilisations. Cette aliénation n’est pas entre « les humains et la nature ». C’est un projet de quelques humains – blancs, bourgeois, masculins pendant la montée du capitalisme – pour dévaloriser plus des humains et nos autres formes de vie. Si le fétichisme des marchandises est un antagonisme fondamental du capital et du prolétariat, civilisationnel, le fétichisme est l’antagonisme historique mondial entre le capital et biotariat (Stephen Collis) – les formes de vie, vivantes et mortes, qui fournissent le travail/énergie non rémunéré qui rend le capitalisme possible. Le fétichisme civilisationnel nous apprend à penser la relation entre le capitalisme et la toile de la vie comme une relation entre des objets, plutôt qu’une relation d’internalisation et d’externalisation de l’environnement. Tout ce que Marx dit sur le fétichisme de la commodité a été préfiguré – à la fois logiquement et historiquement – par une série de fétiches civilisationnels, avec la ligne de démarcation entre la civilisation et la sauvagerie comme pivot géoculturel. La montée du capitalisme n’a pas inventé le travail salarié, elle a inventé le prolétariat moderne dans le cadre d’un projet toujours plus audacieux de mise au travail gratuit ou à bas prix des natures de toute nature : le biotariart. Comme le fétichisme des marchandises, le fétichisme des civilisations n’était pas – et reste – une simple idée mais une praxis et une rationalité de la domination du monde. Depuis 1492, cette ligne – entre civilisé et sauvage – a façonné la vie et le pouvoir modernes, la production et la reproduction. Réinventée à chaque époque du capitalisme, elle est aujourd’hui réaffirmée de manière puissante – alors que les populistes autoritaires résurgents militarisent et sécurisent les frontières contre les « infestations » de réfugiés poussés par la trinité de la fin du Capitalocène : guerre sans fin, dépossession racialisée et crises climatiques.

Depuis 1492, cette ligne – entre civilisé et sauvage – a façonné la vie et le pouvoir modernes, la production et la reproduction. Réinventée à chaque époque du capitalisme, elle est aujourd’hui réaffirmée de manière puissante – alors que les populistes autoritaires résurgents militarisent et sécurisent les frontières contre les « infestations » de réfugiés poussés par la trinité de la fin du Capitalocène : guerre sans fin, dépossession racialisée et crises climatiques.

1492 marque non seulement un changement géoculturel, mais aussi une transition biogéographique sans précédent dans l’histoire de l’humanité. L’invasion colombienne a marqué le début de la réunification géohistorique de la Pangée, le supercontinent qui s’était séparé 175 millions d’années auparavant. Cette Pangée moderne allait, aux yeux des banquiers, des rois et des nobles européens, servir de entrepôt de main-d’œuvre bon marché, de nourriture, d’énergie et de matières premières. C’est ici, dans la zone atlantique de la Pangée moderne, que le capitalisme et la crise planétaire actuelle ont pris naissance. Au cours des trois siècles qui ont suivi, la triple hélice du capitalisme – empire, capital et science – a rendu possible la plus grande et la plus rapide transformation terre/travail de l’histoire de l’humanité. Seule la genèse de l’agriculture sédentaire à l’aube de l’Holocène, il y a quelque 12 000 ans, rivalise avec la révolution écologique du capitalisme primitif. Des siècles avant les machines à vapeur de Newcomen et de Watt, les banquiers, planteurs, industriels, marchands et empires européens ont transformé les relations travail/vie/terre de la planète à une échelle et à une vitesse d’un ordre de grandeur supérieur à tout ce que l’on avait vu auparavant. Du Brésil à la Baltique en passant par les Andes, les forêts ont été abattues, des systèmes de travail coercitifs ont été imposés aux Africains, aux peuples indigènes et aux Slaves, et des réserves indispensables de nourriture, de bois et d’argent bon marché ont été expédiées vers les centres de richesse et de pouvoir. Pendant ce temps, les femmes en Europe – sans parler des colonies ! – étaient soumises à un régime de travail coercitif plus impitoyable que tout ce que l’on connaissait sous la féodalité. Les femmes ont été éjectées de la civilisation, leur vie et leur travail ont été étroitement surveillés et redéfinis comme « non-travail » (Silvia Federici) : précisément parce que le « travail des femmes » appartenait à la sphère de la nature.

L’histoire de la crise planétaire est généralement racontée à travers la lentille de « la » révolution industrielle. Personne ne remet en question le fait que les industrialisations successives ont coïncidé avec des points d’inflexion majeurs de l’utilisation des ressources et de la toxification. (Mais l’industrialisation est bien antérieure au XIXe siècle !) Expliquer les origines de la crise planétaire aux transformations technologiques est cependant un puissant réductionnisme. La Révolution industrielle britannique, par exemple, doit tout au coton bon marché, au travail non rémunéré de générations de peuples indigènes qui ont coproduit une variété de coton adaptée à la production mécanique (G. hirsutum), aux génocides et aux dépossessions des Cherokees et autres dans le Sud américain, à l’égrenage du coton qui a multiplié par cinquante la productivité du travail, aux Africains asservis qui travaillaient dans les champs de coton. L’industrialisation anglaise n’a pas non plus été possible sans la révolution oppressive du siècle dernier en matière de fertilité des sexes qui a soumis les soins et les capacités de reproduction des femmes aux impératifs démographiques du capital.

Ces instantanés de l’histoire du capitalisme nous disent que ce système particulier a toujours dépendu des frontières des Natures bon marché – des natures non marchandes dont le travail peut être approprié gratuitement ou à faible coût par la violence, la domination culturelle et les marchés. Ces frontières ont été cruciales parce que le capitalisme est le système le plus prodigieusement gaspilleur jamais créé. Cela explique l’extraordinaire extraversion du capitalisme. Pour survivre, il a dû enfermer la planète à la fois comme source de Nature bon marché et comme décharge planétaire. Ces deux frontières, qui permettent une réduction radicale des coûts et donc une maximisation des profits, sont en train de se fermer. D’une part, le Bon marché est une relation sujette à l’épuisement – les ouvriers et les paysans se révoltent et résistent, les mines sont épuisées, la fertilité des sols érodée. D’autre part, l’enfermement par le capitalisme de l’atmosphère planétaire et d’autres biens communs pour ses déchets a franchi un seuil critique. Le changement climatique d’époque est l’expression la plus dramatique de ce point de basculement, où nous trouvons une toxification mondiale déstabilisant de plus en plus les acquis d’époque du capitalisme, son régime alimentaire bon marché avant tout. Ces deux stratégies, Nature bon marché et Déchets bon marché, sont de plus en plus épuisées, alors que la géographie de la vie et de la prise de bénéfices entre dans une phase morbide. La crise climatique – comme le rappelle Naomi Klein – est en train de tout changer. L’écologie mondiale du capitalisme est en train de subir une inversion d’époque – ou mieux, une implosion – alors que la nature cesse d’être bon marché et commence à opposer une résistance toujours plus efficace. Les réseaux de vie de tous les temps remettent en question les stratégies de réduction des coûts du capital et deviennent une réalité de maximisation des coûts pour le capital. Le changement climatique (mais pas seulement le climat ) rend tout plus cher pour le capital – et plus dan-gereux pour le reste d’entre nous.

C’est la fin de la « Nature bon marché ». C’est un énorme problème pour le capitalisme, fondé sur la pratique du bon marché : bon marché dans le sens de prix, mais aussi bonification dans le sens de domination culturelle. La première est une forme d’économie politique, tandis que l’autre est la domination culturelle qui tourne autour de l’hégémonie impériale, du racisme et du sexisme. L’un des problèmes les plus centraux de la justice planétaire aujourd’hui est de forger une stratégie qui lie la justice entre ces deux moments et à travers eux. Considérez que les résultats biophysiques les plus violents et les plus meurtriers de cette toxification et de cette stagnation économique sont désormais infligés aux populations les plus systématiquement désignées comme Nature depuis 1492 : les femmes, les populations néocoloniales, les peuples de couleur.

C’est une situation désastreuse pour tous les habitants de la planète Terre. Mais il y a des raisons d’espérer. L’une des principales leçons que j’ai tirées de l’étude du climat au cours des 2 000 dernières années est la suivante : les classes dirigeantes ont rarement survécu aux changements climatiques. L’effondrement du pouvoir romain en Occident a coïncidé avec la période froide de l’âge des ténèbres (vers 400-750). La crise du féodalisme s’est produite un siècle environ après l’arrivée du Petit Âge glaciaire (vers 1300-1850). Les crises politiques les plus graves du capitalisme précoce – jusqu’au milieu du XXe siècle – ont coïncidé avec les décennies les plus sévères du Petit Âge de Glace au XVIIe siècle. Le climat ne détermine rien, mais les changements climatiques sont tissés dans le tissu de la production, de la reproduction, de la gouvernance, de la culture… bref, de tout ! Il est certain que les changements climatiques qui se produisent actuellement seront plus importants que tout ce que nous avons vu au cours des 12 000 dernières années. Les « statu quo » – les systèmes de production et de règles de classe et tout le reste – ne survivront jamais aux changements climatiques majeurs. La fin de l’Holocène et l’aube de l’Anthropocène géologique peuvent donc être accueillies comme un moment de possibilité politique d’époque – la fin du Capitalocène.

Certes, le capitalisme continue. Mais c’est un homme mort qui marche. Ce qui doit se produire maintenant, c’est un changement radical qui lie décarburation, démocratisation, décommodification (considérer les services publics, « commodities » en anglais, comme des droits et non des choses qui doivent être achetées). Cela devra renverser la logique du Green New Deal. Une vision aussi radicale permettra d’orienter le lien crucial entre la justice économique, les prestations sociales et la durabilité environnementale du GND vers la décommodification du logement, des transports, des soins et de l’éducation – et de garantir la justice alimentaire et climatique en dissociant l’agriculture de la tyrannie des monocultures capitalistes.

C’est précisément cette impulsion radicale qui est au cœur de la conversation sur l’écologie mondiale. Cette conversation est définie par une ouverture fondamentale à la remise en question des anciens modèles intellectuels – notamment mais pas seulement la société et la nature – et à l’encouragement d’un nouveau dialogue entre les universitaires, les artistes, les militants et les scientifiques qui explorent le capitalisme comme une écologie du pouvoir, de la production et de la reproduction dans la toile de la vie. C’est une conversation qui insiste : Pas de politique du travail sans nature, pas de politique de la nature sans travail ; qui souligne que la justice climatique est une justice reproductive ; qui défie l’apartheid climatique par l’abolition du climat.

Le Capitalocène n’est donc pas un nouveau mot pour se moquer de l’Anthropocène. C’est une invitation à une conversation sur la façon dont nous pourrions démanteler, analytiquement et pratiquement, la tyrannie de l’Homme et de la Nature. C’est une façon de donner un sens à l’enfer planétaire, en soulignant que la crise climatique est un changement géohistorique qui inclut les molécules de gaz à effet de serre mais ne peut être réduit à des questions de parties par million. La crise climatique est un moment géohistorique qui combine systématiquement la pollution par les gaz à effet de serre avec la fracture des classes climatiques, le patriarcat de classe et l’apartheid climatique. L’histoire de la justice au XXIe siècle dépendra de notre capacité à identifier ces antagonismes et ces interdépendances mutuelles, et de notre aptitude à construire des coalitions politiques qui transcendent ces contradictions planétaires. »

Power, Profit & Prometheanism, Part I

No civilization has been more Promethean than capitalism in its aspirations. Named after the Greek Titan who gave fire to humankind, Prometheanism is understood as a kind of environmental—but not (necessarily) environmentalist—strategy for the domination and management of something usually called Nature. Unfortunately, the discussion often stops there. But if Prometheanism is domination, How does it turn a profit? This is an elementary, yet frequently, unasked question of a civilization that dispenses with everything ill-suited to the law of value. The uncontroversial statement that capitalism is a system of profit-maximizing class power hasn’t translated to a dialectical synthesis of power and profit in the web of life. There are surely many reasons for this. One of them is the systematic acceptance on the left of Nature as a value-free concept. And yet, historically, bourgeois naturalism has been the ideological lynchpin of successive Civilizing Projects and Malthusian moments. To ignore this is to disarm struggles for climate justice and planetary socialism.

The “domination of nature” has never been about domination as such. Nor has it been about the web of life in any straightforward sense. Such views forget that there’s nothing natural about the idea of Nature (Williams 1972; Werlhof 1985). From Prometheanism has issued not only the abstract view of Man against Nature, but all manner of Naturalized domination—above all, modern racism and sexism (Fields and Fields 2012; Patel and Moore 2017). Prometheanism is a form of class domination premised on “human sacrifice”—from genocides to disposable workers—specifically designed to advance the rate of profit and to render present social arrangements eternal. Let’s remember that neoliberalism’s clarion call—Maggie Thatcher’s “There is no alternative”—found its bedrock principle not in economics but natural law. “The laws of economics,” Larry Summers told a World Bank seminar in 1991, “are like the laws of engineering; one set of laws works everywhere” (quoted in Klein 2007: 218).

The struggle against Prometheanism and its intellectual, ideological, and imperial expressions is essential to the struggle for climate justice. There’s nothing natural about capitalogenic climate crisis. The Naturalism that runs through modern racism and sexism—invoking natural racial differences or natural proclivities inscribed in biological sex—found, as its logical and historical precondition, Prometheanism and the invention of Nature. No indeed, modern  racism and sexism were not there “from the beginning” (e.g.; Saldanha 2020).[2] But Prometheanism was. It did not take long for these pillars of superexploitation to crystallize. All three—Prometheanism, racism, and sexism—were subsequently bound together by Civilizing Projects and the world-historical drive to advance profitability.

In this and a companion essay, I explore the following ideas. First, accounts of capitalism’s geocultural dominations that fail to reckon with its Naturalism will invariably default to fragmented and fetishized categories that confuse units of observation with units of analysis. Such intellectual fragmentation mirrors bourgeois strategies of “divide and rule” and “define and rule” (Mamdami 2012). These undermine “the unity of the [working] class” (Federici 2012: 19, 39). As Federici (2004) shows, Nature is fundamental to disuniting late medieval re/producing classes through the power of its fetishization, and transforming difference into tightly-policed dualisms.

This leads us to engage the modern history of ideology in a fresh way. The “ruling idea” of  Nature—I’ll explain the uppercase in a moment—is not a narrow epistemological claim (Marx and Engels 2010:59). It is, rather, the lever of fetishization in the procedures of (bourgeois) philosophical reductionism. This reductionism articulates the intellectual and ideological domains. Naturalism, simply put, is a factory of fetishization that not only justifies inequality in the name of “natural law” and “Good Science”—as in the classic Malthusian explanation of inequality (Moore 2021a). It is also an accumulation strategy that establishes the conditions of power, profit, and life necessary to ensure rising flows of unpaid work to the vortex of accumulation. Prometheanism, in turn, is the managerial ethos of control and social rationality that evacuates class politics from civilizational decision-making over the relations between humans and the rest of life.

Following Bourdieu’s argument for a reflexive approach, I highlight the imperative of a radical interrogation of the connective tissues between scholarly frames and the shifting sands of bourgeois ideology. Foregrounding the Civilizing Project in methodological and historical registers, I sketch the possibilities for rethinking the relations of power, domination, and exploitation in modern world history. This suggests an interpretive vista—let’s call it “interscience” from a proletarian standpoint (Braudel 1984; Hartsock 1988; Wallerstein 2001).  This way of seeing allows an unthinking and rethinking of dominant tropes on the scholarly left, above all those of settler colonialism and decolonial thought.

In Part II, I trace how these tropes have, in failing to address Prometheanism as the Archimedean lever of bourgeois ideology, defaulted to a subaltern “clash of civilizations” thesis. Since critique without reconstruction is a hollow exercise, I chart the possibilities for joining a recuperation of anti-imperialist thought to a world-historical reconstruction of the Civilizing Project. This line of march unpacks a superexploitation thesis—grasped as differentiated unity of exploitation and appropriation, of paid and unpaid work performed by humans and the rest of life (Moore 2015; 2018). This alternative illuminates the fault lines within, and conditions of unity for, the Planetary Proletariat and its trinity of proletariat, femitariat, and biotariat (Moore 2022a). This is fundamental to building the internationalist politics of solidarity necessary to confront the climate crisis and transform the Capitalocene into a Proletarocene (Salvage Collective 2021).

Prometheanism: Ruling Ideas, Ruling Abstractions, and the Class Dynamics Of Naturalism

In its dominant academic expression, Prometheanism is a thought abstraction (Meyer 2016). Environmentalists have long used the term pejoratively. That’s an important discussion. My interest is, however, elsewhere. The very polarity of the Environmentalist discussion speaks to an agreement over its underlying cosmology: Prometheans and Environmentalists alike agree on the cosmology of Man and Nature. This agreement admits social, technical, and technological relations while removing historical questions of class and the ideologies of Civilizing Projects. If such reductionism is often justified as an innocent practicality, just as frequently it is frequently an ideological claim masquerading as Good Science (Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin 1984). It conveys the impression that mechanical abstractions are innocent of ongoing ideological struggle—notwithstanding the widespread gestural acceptance of Bourdieu’s insistence on reflexivity (Moore 2017a; 2021a; Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992).

It’s at the nexus of method and ideology that Prometheanism—grasped not as a thought abstraction but as a ruling abstraction—become significant. Capitalism’s ruling abstractions shape what we see and do not see, what we foreground and what we abstract. Ruling abstractions are more than the premises of the bourgeoisie’s “ruling ideas”—obsessed with Man, Nature and Civilizing Projects from the beginning (Moore 2021b). Breaking sharply with premodern holisms, the Civilizing Project forged ontogenetically separated, hierarchically-structured, ideological zones: Man and Nature. Enlightened Civilizers bore the moral responsible of rational oversight and active management. The result was to de-politicize and therefore legitimate capitalism by banishing its antagonisms onto the ground of “natural law” (Moore 2021a). Man, Nature, and Civilization became guiding threads for the practical violence of imperialism and its drive to establish the necessary conditions of world accumulation (Moore 2022a). The problem of ontological dualism—institutionalized in the Two Cultures of the human and physical “sciences” (Snow 1959)—is soaked in the blood and dirt of imperialist conquest and the worldwide patterns of racialized and gendered class formation it created (Wallerstein 1983).

This takes us to another uncontroversial statement: Upon the “discovery” of new lands, among the first acts of every great imperial power was to declare the inhabitants as savage. Un-Christian, un-Civilized, un-Development, un-Sustainable, they were part of Nature; not Human, or not quite Human. Or not yet Human. Savage meant unruly, and lazy (Alatas 1977)—an ideological move that naturally justified work as the road to Salvation. Sometimes, there were debates. The Valladolid Controversy was only the most salient (Patel and Moore 2017). But a dominant tendency won out: imperialism and world class formation would unfold through a cultural logic of “human sacrifice” that entwined the ideological and the biological (King 1989).

Our uncontroversial observation lends itself to something unthinkable within the imperial frame of Man and Nature. Namely, this ruling binary’s essential intellectual architecture had very little to do with the human species and the rest of life. Humanity, Civilization, Savagery – all reflected, and tried to alter in capital’s favor, the gradient of effective resistance to imperialism. Thus China, for instance, might be celebrated or disparaged according to early modernity’s global balance of forces (Hung 2003). In the final analysis, it was all about managerial control. From the planetary to the plantation, Civilizers were those who thought, while the Savages were those of worked. This imperial-bourgeois managerialism forms a throughline from Descartes and Locke to Frederick Winslow Taylor to the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset (Moore 2021a, 2022d). Its Prometheanism enabled the rapid appropriations of Cheap Nature, whose profitable leveraging depended on all manner of coercive semi-proletarianizations (Wallerstein 1983; Rediker and Linebaugh 2000; Federici 2004; Moore 2017b).

This ideological transition established some humans as Man and most humans as Savage and part of Nature. Modern racism and sexism are starkly binarized. This turns on a procedure of “radical exclusion” (Plumwood 1993). Combined with Prometheanism and philosophical reductionism, we have a toxic ideological brew. In contrast to medieval Europe, during the rise of capitalism Man and Nature were conceptualized as “ontologically prior to the whole that the units comprise” (Lewontin et al. 1984: 6). This is common to ideological as well as intellectual dualism, a procedure through which the properties of Man and the properties of Nature are not only ontogenetically-generated but mutually exclusive (Moore 2015; 2017a). Plumwood (1993) calls it the “logic of colonialism.” In so doing, she allows us to unify dialectically the relations between capitalism’s “means of mental production” (Marx and Engels 2010: 59) and its class strategies of power, profit and life.

Why should bourgeois reductionism be such a pressing issue? The short answer is that it speaks to how the climate crisis is a class struggle enabled by—because obscured by—Prometheanism and its Man and Nature cosmology. Today’s climate crisis is a capitalogenic triple helix: of the climate class divide, climate patriarchy, and climate apartheid (Moore 2019; 2021a; 2022a; 2022b). This is not a mechanically-joined trinity, positing an abstract causal pluralism in the fashion of intersectionality. Rather, the trinity of Slaveship Earth emerged at a turning point in capitalist history—the “long cold seventeenth century” (Ladurie and Daux 2008; Moore 2021c, 2022c). Between 1550 and 1700, the Civilizing Project, commodity frontiers, and militarized accumulation contributed to the first capitalogenic climate crisis. This  was the “Orbis Spike,” a dramatic if temporary decarbonization (and therefore cooling) issuing from slaving-induced genocides after 1492 (Maslin and Lewis 2015; Cameron et al. 2015; Koch et al. 2019).

That long, cold seventeenth century—the most protracted and unfavorable stretch of the Little Ice Age—was an unprecedented moment of capitalist crisis, marked by social unrest, political crisis, and economic volatility (Parker 2013). Imperial bourgeoisies moved rapidly towards a “climate fix” strategy premised on new rounds of coercive proletarianization and commodity frontiers, forging new racialized and gendered regimes of accumulation (Moore 2021b; 2021c). This initial formation of climate apartheid and climate patriarchy was propelled by the class dynamics of the climate fix—even if recent vogues like the “plantationocene” (Wolford 2021) and the “racial capitalocene” seek to deny this (Vergès 2017).[3]

To lean on Barbara J. Fields well-turned phrase (1990), ideologies do not have “lives of their own”: they are class projects. More precisely, these class projects are shaped by the “dull compulsion of economicrelations in the web of life (Marx 1977: 899; Moore 2015). Class politics are crucial because most of what constitutes a good business environment is beyond the capacity of capitalists as economic actors. They require state-machineries, and state-machineries require ideologies to cohere effective unity between ruling strata and cadres (intellect workers), as well as some token of consent from the vast majority (Gramsci 1971). As Wallerstein illuminates, the long cold seventeenth century was a moment when statism—“a [legitimating] claim for increased power in the hands of the state machinery”—cohered as the ideology of Absolutism (Wallerstein 1974:144ff, quotation: 147). This clearly was insufficient, however, to realize the climate fix embarked upon after 1570. Some measure of universalism—initially, an increasingly instrumentalized Christian “natural” theology—was necessary for colonial hegemony (Wallerstein 1974; Betancor 2017). Hence the Civilizing Project’s “universal” Prometheanism as the ideology of endless accumulation. It

dominates the thinking and action of rulers and ruled, oppressors and oppressed. It is the cosmology of “more,” more of everything, more for everybody, but more particularly (or if necessary) for “me” or “us.” There are seeming rebellions against this cosmology: “limits of growths” rebellions which often turn out to be hidden ways of defending the “more” of what is of interest to one group against the “more” of another group; “egalitarian” rebellions which often turn out to operate on the assumption that the route to equality is through more of the same, but this time for someone else, “us.” (Wallerstein 1978: 7)

Here we find a decisive ideological moment of worldwide class formation and accumulation. From the origins of capitalism, Prometheanism unifies the structures of knowledge, ideology, and capital (Moore 2021b). It produces successive versions of the Civilizing Project, and these are necessary to consolidate successive accumulation regimes. From the genocidal cocktail of metaphysical instrumentalism and “just war” in the sixteenth century to Truman’s nuclear hegemony, linking the Truman Doctrine’s counter-insurgency with Point Four Developmentalism, the Civilizing Project has represented the imperial bourgeoisie’s self-interest as the bearer of Salvation, Civilization, Development, and today, Sustainability (Moore 2021a). No accumulation regime can forgo such legitimation.

Mechanically unifying bourgeois humanism and bourgeois naturalism, the Civilizing Project killed two birds with one stone. It “over-represented” the imperial bourgeoise as the best of Mankind (Wynter 2003). Meanwhile, empires and their cadres invented Nature as a strategy to secure everything for which they didn’t want to pay (von Werlhof 1985). While scientific revolutions found ways to turn webs of life into profit-making opportunities, military revolutions made sure no one got in the way (Antonacci 2021).

Nature was the ideological glue that held the two moments together. It served as an ideological hammer of worldwide class formation, not merely externalizing costs but enabling epoch-defining modes of appropriating unpaid work (Moore 2018). When Federici reckons western Europe’s female semi-proletariat as the “savages of Europe,” she situates this transition as a decisive “lever” in the production of world surplus value (Federici 2004: 100, 103-104). It was pivotal to the “proletarian struggle” (Federici 2004: 80)—and constitutive of the era’s climate fix. Such bourgeois naturalism was, in other words, fundamental not just to the creation of the world semi-proletariat, but also of the femitariat and its provision of socially-necessary unpaid  work. To this we may add the strategic unity of big science, big capital and big empire in mapping and securing profit-making opportunities in planetary life, forging a biotariat of extra-human unpaid workers yoked to the engine of endless accumulation (Moore 2018; 2022a).

Class, Civilizing Projects, and the Problem of Method

The line between the Civilized and the Savage was drawn early and often through a cascading series of early capitalist geographical and geocultural developments (Patel and Moore 2017). It would mature as the Cartesian revolution after 1648, but its threads were increasingly woven together in the fabric of a precocious if uneven bourgeois naturalism whose lineages reach back to the long sixteenth century (Crosby 1997; Abulafia 2008). By the seventeenth century, Nature and Savagery assumed their modern meaning.  

Savagery in particular became the ideological raw material for two pillars of bourgeois domination—sexism and racism (Federici 2004; Bethencourt 2013). Naturalism enabled a new form of class exploitation. This was superexploitation, premised on the appropriation of unpaid work from humans and the rest of nature under the sign of one or another “natural law” (Moore 2021b; 2022d). Nature became not only a “ruling idea” but a ruling abstraction enabling this superexploitation (Moore 2015, 2022b). As we’ve seen, the emergence of modern sexism was a constitutive moment of primitive accumulation—a movement of class formation (Marx 1977)—through which women became the “savages of Europe.” Absent femitarianization in and through proletarianization, there was no Cheap Labor and no capitalism.

Modern racism formed in cognate but distinctive fashion. Robinson makes the point well. Identifying “savagery” as fundamental to Cheap Labor in the capitalist world-ecology:

English colonialism had [invented]… the savagery of the Irish… The notion… traveled well. When the need was for labor, the Irish, the poor of the metropole’s cities, the African and the native American were comfortably herded together under the notion of savagery. When the issue had been the expropriation of the lands of the natives, there was little cause to respect the claims of savages or to comprehend their resistance as anything more than savagery. Indeed, colonial thought expected quite the opposite. The colonists were the ‘advanced civilization.’ Such societies proved their historical significance by the destruction or domination of savage. (Robinson 1983: 186-187, emphases added)

From this vantage point, we can begin to make sense of a far-reaching intellectual turn among critical intellectuals, especially but not only in the Global North. This is the tendency to evade the the dynamics of capital and class through tropes of settler colonialism, extractivism, plantationocene, and sometimes, deceptively,“the West” or Europe (e.g.; Wolfe 1999; Blaser 2013; Hixson 2013; Brand et al. 2016; Wolford 2021; for critiques, see Englert 2020; Moore 2022b). If the approaches are diverse, the wider ideological impact of these tropes has been fairly uniform. In the main, these meta-categories and the academic cultures they sustain privilege the following: regional particularism, class and capital denialism, methodological nationalism and groupism, and a kind of “new institutionalism” (Lecours 2005) that privileges a specific productive or political form (states, mines, plantations, etc.) at the interpretive expense of their underlying relations. Is it impolite to observe that such empiricism finds its historical taproot in seventeenth century English empiricism? Or that such empiricism was closely linked to actually existing primitive accumulation, settler colonialism and the slave trade (Glausser 1990)? Probably. But I can see no way around the matter.

The alternative? We might fruitfully revisit an earlier wave of settler colonial studies. Intimately bound to the tensions of national liberation struggles and decolonization, radical scholars in the long 1970s sought to make sense of the global and national antagonisms of class formation, politics, and struggles within an imperialist system of accumulation (Arrighi 1965; Emmanuel 1972; Good 1976; Samed 1976; McMichael 1984). Across a spectrum of interpretations, these approaches by and large rejected Eurocentric class formalism in favor of creative and dialectical reformulations of class and capital, gender and race in world-historical perspective.  

This is a crucial lineage of the world-historical critique. Its insights have been largely eclipsed by manifold expressions of bourgeois reductionism—a meta-procedure of the capitalist mode of thought from the Scientific Revolution onwards (Lewontin et al. 1984). World-historical thinkers struggled against such reductionism from the beginning. Much of the recent wave of settler colonial and cognate research has favored varied forms of methodological nationalism and cognate procedures. Of these latter, of special relevance is groupism, a species of “basic unit” thinking that takes

bounded groups as fundamental units of analysis (and basic constituents of the social world)… It has managed to withstand a quarter century of constructivist theorizing in the social sciences… that “cultures,” “communities,” “tribes,” “races,” “nations,” and “ethnic groups” are not bounded wholes. Despite these and other developments, ethnic and other groups continue to be conceived as entities and cast as actors… “Groupness” is a variable, not a constant; it cannot be presupposed. (Brubaker 2004: 2-4, emphasis added)

Methodological groupism, no less than methodological nationalism, sharply contrasts with the world-historical method and its preference for the dialectical emergence, consolidation, and movements of relational wholes (Hopkins 1982; Moore 2017a). A dialectical method objects to arguments premised on “structural invariance”: the notion that world-historical processes (including civilizational, national, racial, and other constructs) expand quantitatively without qualitative restructuring (Arrighi 2004). The reliance on non-relational units as building blocks relies on philosophical reductionism. Reductionism is not the same thing as the academic folk concept that usually says: “You didn’t pay enough attention to topic x, y, or z,” or alternatively: “It’s way more complicated than that!”—the battle cry of empiricism. Rather, it encompasses

a set of general methods and modes of explanation both of the world of physical objects and of human societies. Broadly, reductionists try to explain the properties of complex wholes—molecules, say, or societies—in terms of the units of which those molecules or societies are composed. They would argue, for example, that… the properties of a human society are similarly no more than the sums of the individual behaviors and tendencies of the individual humans of which that society is composed… [R]eductionism is the claim that the compositional units of a whole are ontologically prior to the whole that the units comprise. That is, the units and their properties exist before the whole, and there is a chain of causation that runs from the units to the whole. (Lewontin et al. 1984: 5-6)

By Way of Conclusion: From Method to Praxis

Basic unit approaches are hardly confined to scholarly inquiry. They are intimately bound to capitalism’s structures of knowledge, the “means of mental production,” and recurrent Malthusian iterations of biologist, populationist, genetic and other “natural” justifications for capitalist inequality (McNally 1993; Moore 2021a). A dialectical alternative cuts through the Gordian Knot of difference not by mechanically separating (and then recombining or intersecting) observable units but rather by embracing difference as mutually—yet asymmetrically—constituting (e.g.; Federici 2004). Dialectics, it bears repeating, flows through variation—not in spite of it.

Dialectics is, in other words, an eductive method (Moore 2015). Marx’s guiding thread allows one to explore the potential “for change, …for the construction of new totalities (e.g. social ecosystems) and the like.” Eduction “rather than deduction or induction is… the central motif of dialectical praxis” (Harvey 1993: 37). Only then can dialectics as the “great loosener” allow us to engage specific observable units within wider historical movements of creation and dissolution (Bhaskar 2008; Moore 2017a). On that note, I can think of nothing better than to conclude by highlighting Marx’s trajectory in Capital (1977). A story that begins with the commodity does not conclude with a neat and tidy reprise of the commodity cell form, but with the expropriation of the expropriators.

As Marx underlines, historical materialism is not merely method but praxis.

Jason W. Moore, Binghamton University, Reproduced from The Journal of World-Systems Research 21(2, 2022), 415-426.

About the Author: Jason W. Moore is a historical geographer and environmental historian at Binghamton University, USA, where he is professor of sociology. He is author or editor of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), Anthropocene or Capitalocene?(PM Press, 2016), and with Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2017). He is co-coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network. Many of essays, in English and nearly two dozen other languages, can be found on his website, He can be reached at  


Abulafia, D. 2008. The Discovery of Mankind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Alatas, S.H. The Myth of the Lazy Native. New York: Frank Cass.

Antonacci, J.P. “Periodizing the Capitalocene as Polemocene.” Journal of World-Systems Research 27(2): 439–467.

Arrighi, G. 1966. “The Political Economy of Rhodesia.” New Left Review, I/39: 35–65.

______.  2004. “Spatial and Other ‘Fixes’ of Historical Capitalism.” Journal of World-Systems Research 10(2): 527–539.

Betancor, O. 2017. The Matter of Empire. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Bethencourt, F. 2013. Racisms. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Bhaskar, R. 2008. Dialectic. New York: Routledge

Blaser, M. 2013. “Ontological Conflicts and the Stories of Peoples in Spite of Europe.” Current Anthropology 54(5): 547–568

Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L.J. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Braudel, F. 1984. “Une vie pour l’histoire.” Magazine Littéraire 212: 18–24.

Brubaker R. 2004. Ethnicity without Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cameron, C.M., P. Kelton, and A.C. Swedlund, eds. 2015. Beyond Germs. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Crosby, A.W., Jr. 1997. The Measure of Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Englert, Sai. 2020. “What is at Stake in the Study of Settler Colonialism?” Developing Economics (October 26)

Federici, S. 2004. Caliban and the Witch. Brooklyn: Autonomedia.

______.  2012. Revolution at Point Zero. Oakland, CA: PM Press.

Fields, B.J. 1990. “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America.” New Left Review I/181(1990): 95–118.

Fields, B.J., and K.E. Fields. 2012. Racecraft. London: Verso.

Glausser, W. “Three Approaches to Locke and the Slave Trade.” Journal of the History of Ideas 51(2): 199–216.

Good, K. 1976. “Settler Colonialism.”  Journal of Modern African Studies 14(4): 597–620.

Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International Publishers.

Hartsock, N. 1988. The Feminist Standpoint Revisited and Other Essays. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Harvey, D. 1993. “The Nature of Environment.” Socialist Register 29: 1–51.

Hixson, W.L. 2013. American Settler Colonialism. New York: Palgrave.

Hopkins, T.K. 1982. “World-Systems Analysis.” Pp. 145–158 in World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology, edited by T.K. Hopkins and I. Wallerstein. Beverly Hills: Sage.

Hung, Ho‐fung. “Orientalist knowledge and social theories.” Sociological Theory 21(3): 254–280

King, Ynestra. 1989. “Healing the Wounds.” Pp. 115–141 in Gender/body/knowledge, edited by A.M. Jaggar and S.R. Bordo. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Klein, N. The Shock Doctrine.New York: Metropolitan Books.

Koch, A., C. Brierley, M.M. Maslin, and S.L. Lewis. 2019. “Earth System Impacts of the European Arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492.” Quaternary Science Reviews 207: 13–36.

Ladurie, E.L.R and V. Daux. 2008. “The climate in Burgundy and elsewhere, from the fourteenth to the twentieth century.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 33(1): 10-24.

Lecours, A. 2005. New institutionalism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lewis, S.L., and M.A. Maslin. 2015. “Defining the Anthropocene.” Nature 519:171–80.

Lewontin, R.C., S. Rose, and L.J. Kamin. 1984. Not in our Genes. New York: Pantheon.

Marx, K. 1977. Capital, Volume I. New York: Vintage.

Marx, K. & F. Engels. 2010. Collected Works, Vol. 5. London: Lawrence & Wishart.

McMichael, P. 1984. Settlers and the Agrarian Question. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McNally, D. 1993. Against the Market. London: Verso.

Meyer, W.B. 2016. The Progressive Environmental Prometheans.New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Moore, J.W. 2015. Capitalism in the Web of Life. London: Verso.

______.  2017a. Metabolic Rift or Metabolic Shift?” Theory & Society 46(4): 285–318

______.  2017b. “The Capitalocene, Part I.” Journal of Peasant Studies 44(3): 594–630.

______.  2018. “The Capitalocene, Part II.” Journal of Peasant Studies 45(2): 237–279

______.  2019. “The Capitalocene and Planetary Justice.” Maize 6: 49–54.

______. 2021a. “The Opiates of the Environmentalists?” Abstrakt (November),

______.  2021b. “Del Gran Abaratamiento a la Gran Implosión,” Relaciones Internacionales 47: 11–52.

______. 2021c. “Empire, Class & The Origins Of Planetary Crisis.” Esboços 28: 740–763

______. 2022a. “El Hombre, la Naturaleza y el Ambientalismo de los Ricos.” Pp. 55-82 in Pensar la Ciencia de otro Mondo, edited by F.F. Herrera et al. Caracas: Mincyt.

______. 2022b. “Anthropocene, Capitalocene & the Flight from World History.” Nordia 51(2): 123–146.

______. 2022c. “Raumschiffe und Sklavenschiffe: Die kapitalische Weltokologies 1492–2030.” Pp. 21–38 in Kapitalismus und Nachhaltigkeit, edited by Sighard Neckel, Philipp Degens, Sarah Lenz. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.

______. 2022d. “Global Capitalism in the Great Implosion.” Foreword to William I. Robinson, Can Global Capitalism Endure? (Atlanta: Clarity Press), ix-xxiv.

Parker, G. 2013. Global Crisis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Patel, R., and J.W. Moore. 2017. A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Plumwood, V. 1993. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. New York: Routledge.

Robinson, C. 1983. Black Marxism. London: Zed.

Saldanha, Arun. 2020. “Racial Capitalism and the Beginnings of the Anthropocene.” Environment and Planning D 38(1): 12-34.

Salvage Collective. 2021. The Tragedy of the Worker. London: Verso.

Samed, Amal. 1976. “The Proletarianization of Palestinian Women in Israel.” MERIP Reports 50: 10–26

Snow, C.P. 1959. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vergès, F. 2017. “Racial Capitalocene.” Verso blog (30 August),

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The Modern World-System I. New York: Academic Press.

______.  1978. “Civilizations and Modes of Production.” Theory and Society 5(1): 1–10.

______.  1983. Historical Capitalism. London: Verso.

______.  2001. “Braudel and Interscience.” Review 24(1): 3–12.

von Werlhof, Claudia. 1985. “On the Concept of Nature and Society in Capitalism.” Pp. 96-112 in Women: The Last Colony, edited by M. Mies, et al. London: Zed.

Williams, R. 1972. “Ideas of Nature.” Pp. 146-64 in Ecology, edited by J. Benthall. London: Longman.

Wolfe, Patrick. 1999. Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology. London: Cassell.

Wolford, W. 2021. “The Plantationocene.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111(6): 1622–1639.

Wynter, S. 2003. “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom.” CR: The New Centennial Review 3(3): 257–337.

[1] “Power, Profit, and Prometheanism, Part II” will appear in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue of the Journal of World-Systems Research.

[2] Some version of this formulation is widespread. It is typically accompanied by a considerable margin of historical-geographical and conceptual slack, given the equally widespread reluctance to engage the emergence of the world color line in its social, juridical, and cultural specificity. Typical is Saldhana’s (2020) paraphrase of Robinson (1983): “capitalism is from the beginning… a runaway process intrinsically geared to expand itself by exploiting populations deemed less worthy of life” (Saldhana 2020: 16, emphasis added). This tendency, however, is not racism but Prometheanism. It is an imperial-bourgeois naturalism that provides the ideological raw material necessary to construct not only the world color line but the world gender line in their modern, and thoroughly Naturalized forms.

[3] In both instances, the arguments proceed through an avoidance of the Capitalocene argument about how class, race, gender, and webs of life are constructed in their historical-geographical specificity (compare with Moore 2017b; 2018).

Profits, Prometheanism & the Problem of Planetary Management

Anthropocene, Capitalocene & the Flight from World History, Part II, 24 May, 2022

Jason W. Moore[1]

World-Ecology Research Group, Binghamton University, USA

The relations between the origins of a world-historical problem, its historical development, and its recent configurations of power, profit and life are intimate. One’s assessment of these relations feeds, more-or-less directly, into one’s conception of world politics. Tragically – three decades after Harvey’s lament (1993) that Green Thought either ignores environmental history or treats it as “a repository of anecdotal evidence in support of particular claims” – most environmentalist theory proceeds as if capitalism’s history is epiphenomenal.

Counter-intuitively, such history denialism lends itself to critical variants of Hillary Clinton’s neoliberal insistence that we “get over” the long history of imperialism: “For goodness sakes, this is the 21st century. We’ve got to get over what happened 50, 100, 200 years ago” (Reuters 2010). A political theory de-linked from capitalism’s world histories produces a politics with major blind spots, not least around imperialism’s willingness to “destroy the village in order to save it” and the signal contribution of anti-imperialist revolutions in defending those metaphorical (and actual) villages.[2]

The Capitalocene thesis is one antidote to this history-denialism. Both the 1830 and 1492 Capitalocene theses – for all their differences – agree: climate justice politics must interrogate the origins of planetary crisis (see Malm 2016; Moore 2017a, 2018, 2019).

The flight from history performs a twofold ideological task for capital. First, it fragments our understanding of how structures of knowledge, the geocultural pillars of capitalist domination, and the worldwide dynamics of capital and class fit together. Such fragmentation appears with the promiscuous deployment of adjectives: “the heteropatriarchal capitalist modern/colonial world system” and all that (Escobar 2018: xii). These mouthfuls are usually justified on basis of some elusive Marxist bogeyman, endowed with supernatural powers, who holds that imperialism, sexism and racism, and manifold forms of domination are somehow beside the point. (Any notion that dialectics moves through, not in spite of, variation, is brushed aside). It’s a way of signaling that these arguments are respectable for polite academic company and not – not really – socialist in any meaningful way. They are, curiously (?), not held responsible for explaining how the bourgeoisie’s specific forms of domination (racism, sexism, Prometheanism, etc.) are necessary to the exploitation of surplus-value and the appropriation of unpaid work/energy in the capitalist world-ecology – the dialectics of super-exploitation (Moore 2021b). Let’s recall that among neoliberal theory’s core premises is the elevation of oppression as everything, and exploitation, nothing.

In recent years, it’s become sufficient to string together adjectives in what appears to be an anti-capitalist critique – but which in reality reproduces a pluralism perfectly consonant with neoliberal rule. The simplest version of these additive formulations is some version of colonialism plus capitalism. Typically, these disconnect both capitalism and colonialism from specific class structures – and especially the dynamics of peripheral class formation – implanted by specific imperial projects seeking to secure a good business environment (e.g., Grosfoguel 2002). Imperialism is how capitalism prefers to do business, and how capitalists prefer to wage the class struggle: waged not between oppressors and oppressed, but to create the conditions for a good business environment. Importantly, such disconnection tends to present any account foregrounding class and capital as “reductionist” – a view that collapses the significant differences between world-historical class analysis and Eurocentric class formalism (e.g., compare, respectively, Moore 2017a and Malm 2016). Erasing class dynamics, moreover, much of the now-fashionable settler colonialism argument reproduces an older Civilizing discourse of “native” and “settler” – a discourse which also abstracted from class relations (albeit with different political sympathies), usually in the interests of sustainable development avant la lettre (e.g., Jacks & Whyte 1939).

Such “critical” theory looks to de-center – if not erase entirely – capitalism. Such arguments tend to evade the ways in which European Universalism emerged as a class project of capitalist transition. It bears emphasis, given today’s climate crisis and the “great implosion” of capitalist productivity, that the rise of capitalism was tightly bound to climate change and successive Civilizing Projects (Moore 2021b). European Universalism – and its pivotal trinity of Man, Nature, and Civilization – matured in the long seventeenth century. This was capitalism’s first developmental crisis. These crises mark the transition from one phase of capitalism to another, during which imperial bourgeoisies resolve systemwide through new rounds of primitive accumulation and the extra-economic appropriation of Cheap Natures (see Moore 2015). Epochal crises, in contrast, yield to new metabolisms of power, profit and life, such as the highly uneven transition from Late Antiquity to feudalism or feudalism to capitalism – both also moments of profoundly unfavorably climate transition!

The seventeenth century’s “general crisis” was a perfect storm of climate change, popular revolt, endless war, and economic volatility. The climate downturn – unfavorable even by the standards of the Little Ice Age – was a decisive moment (Parker 2013). Natural forcing drove the climate shift. But it amplified by conquest, commodification, and class formation in the Americas after 1492. This was the emergence of capitalogenic forcing. (If that word, capitalogenic – “made by capital” – strikes you as awkward, it’s because we’ve been taught to speak in ways that avoid naming the system.) Its geological signature was the Orbis Spike, Maslin and Lewis’s term for the sixteenth-century carbon drawdown resulting from New World genocides (2015; see also, Cameron et al. 2015).

Like the climate-class conjuncture two centuries earlier – marking feudalism’s epochal crisis – this seventeenth-century conjuncture amplified class and political tensions, propelling popular revolt and endless war in a Europe fiscally exhausted by the Valois-Hapsburg wars. These culminated in the great financial crisis of 1557 (Patel & Moore 2017). However, in contrast to the late medieval conjuncture, ruling classes could resolve the crisis within the shaky, yet powerful, rules of the capitalist game. The new modern state-machineries at the heart of Iberian, then Dutch and English, seaborne empires “fixed” the seventeenth-century crisis of world order and world accumulation through a new imperialism that delivered Cheap Natures – labor-power above all – to capital’s hungry maw. Contrary to facile descriptions of early capitalism as mercantile or simply engaged in plunder, what followed was an audacious series of productivist campaigns. Neither Marxists nor critical theorists are particularly interested in this history, so if this early capitalist wave of coercive proletarianization, ecocide and genocide is news, that’s not on you. This was the world-ecological revolution of the long seventeenth century, bringing a critical increment of planetary life into the circuit of Cheap Nature for the first time. Its crown jewels were Peru’s silver mining complex and northeastern Brazil’s sugar plantations. Not for nothing, these zones of commodification and conquest mapped perfectly onto the hot zones of the Great Dying imposed on indigenous populations (Koch et al 2019). In places like northeastern Brazil, the result was a protracted guerilla struggle waged by the Aimoré and fugitive slaves, the latter dramatically concentrated in quasi-states like seventeenth-century Palmares (Schwartz 1999). Meanwhile, within Europe, an epochal movement of semi-proletarianization generated explosive class contradictions in the countryside, manifested in agrarian rebellion and proto-communist movements (see, Moore 2010a, 2010b; Linebaugh & Rediker 2000).

European Universalism crystallized in this first capitalogenic climate crisis – a developmental crisis grasped as a turning point in capitalism’s trinity of power, profit, and life. Refusing conquest-determinism and climate determinism, these two moments were dialectical antagonisms driving capitalism towards a “climate fix” strategy prioritizing large-scale industry and trans-Atlantic proletarianization. In the colonies, the problem for empire was to restore and expand Cheap Labor following the slaving-induced genocides. Within central and western Europe, the problem was to contain the dangerous classes – which in the fourteenth century had dealt a historical defeat to Europe’s ruling classes and by the seventeenth century threatened, once again, to get out of hand (Zagorin 1982). In this first capitalist climate crisis, forms of Universalism began to materialize that directly facilitated this climate fix. Hence, the remarkable synchroneity of the seventeenth-century’s labor/landscape revolution with its enabling real abstractions: Man, Nature, and Civilization, quickly germinating naturalized ideologies of racial and gendered domination (Moore 2017a).

By disconnecting imperial and class projects, decolonial and cognate arguments have disabled our critique of European Universalisms and its Civilizing Projects. These are more than abstractly moral “bads” that accompany an abstractly amoral modernity. The heart of these Civilizing Projects – think of successive Christianizing, Civilizing, and Developmentalist Projects from Charles V to Harry S. Truman and the Washington Consensus – has been a class-managerial imperative. These Projects build out a geocultural logic that is also a managerial philosophy, one specific to class rule in the capitalist world-ecology. This is planetary management. It seeks to reduce the world to “thinking” (managing) beings and “doing” (unthinking working) essences (see esp. Moore 2021a; Satrio 2022). If that sounds a lot like Cartesian dualism, you’re on the right track. And for those students of labor history and the capitalist labor process, if that sounds like Harry Braverman’s degradation of work hypothesis, you are also on the right track. If we’ve identified Big ‘E’ Environmentalism as the Environmentalism of the Rich (Dauvergne 2016), it’s also the Environmentalism of the Bosses.

Planetary management rests on the divide between Civilization and Nature. (Note the uppercase.) This divide gets reinvented across successive phases of capitalist development, and its cutting edge is found on the frontiers of “new” imperialisms. Nature was – and is – never an innocent description. It had – and has – little to do with forests and fields, soils and streams. Nature emerged in these early modern centuries as a ruling abstraction. Far more than “ideas” floating in the ether, Civilization and Nature were abstractions of a specifically capitalist bent. Civilizing the savage – which comprised unruly human ecologies of every sort – became a political project, an animating cultural premise, and an accumulation strategy.

At the risk of putting too fine a point on the matter, Civilization, Man, and Nature became the indispensable ruling ideas of the imperial bourgeoisie as it remade webs of life suitable for the endless accumulation of capital. The Civilizing Project – of course its expressions were manifold whilst its relational nexus was singular – implemented peculiarly violent form of “human sacrifice,” to lean on Ynestra King’s apt formulation (1989). The slaving-induced depopulation of the Americas was but one, albeit spectacularly grim, expression of King’s human sacrifice. But such sacrifice needn’t always be so literal. As Federici underscores, the defeat of the proletarian and peasant forces in seventeenth century western Europe enabled the creation of modern sexism, redefining women’s work as natural, and enabling a new logic of superexploitation (Federici 2004a; von Werlhof 1988; Moore, 2021b; Mies, 1985). Women became, in Federici’s incisive turn of phrase, the “savages of Europe” – and not “Europe” alone. Here the Civilizing Project was one of the Great Domestication (Patel and Moore 2017). Bourgeois naturalism is therefore essential to explaining why and how “wild” humans must be tamed, and why the Road to Salvation (or Civilization, or Development) follows capitalist work-discipline. Thus were proletariat, femitariat, and biotariat – paid and unpaid work performed by humans and the rest of nature – bound together in the most intimate ways from the earliest stirrings of the capitalist world-ecology. It had to be so, because paying for reproduction costs, human and extra-human, is expensive. Cheapening, in its double register as ideological devaluation and economic cost-cutting, was consequently crucial to capital accumulation. This is why Nature as a separate zone of “savagery” – the zone of lawlessness, sacrifice areas, and free fire zones – is fundamental, and why it included most humankind from very beginning (Patel and Moore 2017; Hage 2017).

For this reason, Prometheanism is necessary to bourgeois rule. Prometheanism should not be read as an abstractly Human impulse to dominate Nature. This is indeed how the bourgeoisie wants us to see the problem. In any event, Prometheanism began to take shape as a logic of power, profit and life almost immediately in the “long” sixteenth century (1450-1648) and manifested not only in accelerated landscape change. It also fed the ideological development of racism and sexism as fundamental to the era’s coercive semi-proletarianization, from Brazil to the Baltic (Moore 2017a, 2017b, 2018, 2021a). Thus Prometheanism – “over-representing” the bourgeoisie as Man and “under-representing” the incipient planetary proletariat as Nature (Wynter 2003) – underwrote fetishisms that rapidly informed the drawing of the world color line and the globalization of patriarchy in their specifically Naturalized, modern forms. In sum, the ruling abstraction Nature – and its bourgeois ethos of Prometheanism – was never an innocent description. It was always either an instrument of utilitarian, profit-seeking domination (producing abstract social nature [Moore 2018]), or of geocultural domination, producing Naturalized forms of gendered and racialized domination in service to advancing the rate of profit. Nature, to paraphrase Claudia von Werlhof, became every form of life-activity the bourgeoisie did not want to pay for.

Nature was, to lean of Marx and Engels, a ruling idea. But we can’t leave matters there. Nature was also a ruling abstraction with a twofold purpose. One guided practical efforts to identify and secure webs of life and turn them into profit-making opportunities. This nourished science as a force of production (Moore 2018). Another forged an accumulation strategy that relocated most humans along with extra-human life into that new cosmological (yet very material) zone, Nature. As we’ve seen, the managerial priority was to “civilize” such humans, of course always in the interests of securing the maximal exploitation of labor-power and the maximal appropriation of unpaid work.

Here we discover the centrality of planetary management as a guiding thread for imperial practice and the appropriation of Cheap Natures – especially the Four Cheaps of food, work, energy and raw materials (Moore 2021a). European Universalism’s vision of planetary management, defined by the anti-political rationalization of socio-ecological problems on the road to Progress, is with us still. Call it Sustainable Development, the Anthropocene, whatever – old wine, new bottles.

By the long, cold seventeenth century, Cartesian rationality – including but not limited to its mind/body dualism – moved to the fore. The Cartesian revolution, which crystallizes dualism as a linked strategy of bourgeois thought and power, appears precisely at the moment of rapid primitive accumulation and proletarianization in western Europe (Plumwood, 1993; Seccombe 1992; Moore 2017a). This is also the moment of the Orbis Spike, climate crisis and unprecedented social revolt. Cartesian rationality responded to this far-flung crisis in all sorts of ways. One of them, predictably, pivoted on management. This history is ignored by “materialist” Marxists, who have suddenly become idealists on the matter, forgetting Marx and Engels’ emphasis on the control over the “means of mental production” (2010). They treat Nature and Society as innocent signifiers whose meaning floats freely, apparently independently of the capitalist labor process and its managerial logic (e.g., Malm 2018). This would not be so terrible if these same figures had not already climbed up on their high horses to denounce rivals as idealists! My critique, and its reconstructive alternative, recognizes that Civilization (‘Society’) and Savagery (‘Nature’) do exist, but as strategies of domination and superexploitation – hence the structural recurrence of bourgeois naturalism in the geocultures of domination. (Every era of capitalism must reinvent racism, sexism, and other forms of domination through the ideological meatgrinder of bourgeois naturalism.) Unlike Malm, I do not see this critique of ideology as playing “semantics.” Ideology in the class struggle is, to borrow from Marx, a material force.

Descartes’ contributions are easily displaced into a purely philosophical discussion. My priority lies elsewhere.  Cartesian rationality expressed and enabled early capitalism’s managerial fantasies, over time congealing into a managerial ethos that would inform successive waves of imperial, resource, and workplace control revolutions. Centuries before Frederick Winslow Taylor formalized “scientific management,” pursuing the managerial concentration of “brain work” and the reduction of proletarian labor “almost to the level of labor in its animal form,” Descartes articulated a philosophy of planetary management (quotations respectively from Taylor 1912: 98; Braverman 1974: 78). Distinguishing between thinking things and extended things as discrete essences, prioritizing the domination of the latter by the former, Descartes articulated the geocultural “premises of the work-discipline” that capitalism required (Federici 2004b; Descartes 2006). In so doing, a Cheap Labor strategy was installed at the heart of European Universalism – and its Promethean impulse.

By the time Descartes formulated an early modern managerial philosophy (1637) – separating the thinkers (managers) from the bodies (workers) – modern structures of knowledge were taking shape. Across the seventeenth century, the concatenation of Descartes, Newton, Bacon and Locke codified the capitalist “system of knowledge” (Wallerstein 1980; Wallerstein 2006). The structures of knowledge were, in successive turns, dependent and independent variables, channeling but also informing the knowledge and practice of imperialism and its trinity of conquest, class formation, and commodification. The structures of knowledge and domination crystallized together in this era for a sound reason: their dialectical unity was crucial to imperial class projects – cultural, political, and economic – aimed at securing the conditions of expanded accumulation.

In our next installment (Part III), we will revisit the Capitalocene thesis – in both its 1492 and 1830 expressions – as a means of elaborating new syntheses of revoutionary critique. Far from narrowly academic, such syntheses are necessary if we are to understand the worldwide class struggle in the web of life and grasp how the capitalist world-ecology reinvents itself across successive long waves of world power, world accumulation, and planetary management. These are pressing political questions in an age of climate crisis that flow from historical assessments. At the end of the Holocene, assessments of capitalism’s “weak links” must incorporate the ways in which pivotal capitalist processes not only produce changes in the web of life, but are products of those webs. Planetary justice demands a more nuanced – and hopeful – interrogation of the contradictory mess and mass of epochal capitalogenic transformations that have brought us to the brink of the planetary inferno.

PART III forthcoming.


Braverman H (1974) Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. Monthly Review Press, New York

Cameron CM, Kelton P & Swedlund AC (2015; eds.) Beyond Germs. Native Depopulation in North America. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Dauvergne P (2016) Environmentalism of the Rich. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Descartes R (2006) A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Escobar A (2018) Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds. Duke University Press, Durham N.C.

Federici S (2004a) Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. Autonomedia, New York.

Federici S (2004b) The Great Caliban: The Struggle against the Rebel Body, Part II. Capitalism Nature Socialism 15(3): 13–28.

Jacks G & Whyte R (1939) Vanishing Lands: A World Survey of Soil Erosion. Doubleday, New York.

Grosfoguel R (2002) Colonial difference, geopolitics of knowledge, and global coloniality in the modern/colonial capitalist world-system. Review 25(3): 203–224.

Hage, Ghassan (2017). Is Racism an Environmental Threat? Polity, Cambridge, UK.

Harvey D (1993) The nature of environment: dialectics of social and environmental change. Socialist Register 29: 1–51.

King, Y. 1989. Healing the wounds. In Gender/body/knowledge, eds. A.M. Jaggar and S.R. Bordo, 115–41. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Koch, Alexander, et al. Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492, Quaternary Science Reviews 207 (2019), 13-36.

Lewis S & Maslin MA (2015) Defining the Anthropocene. Nature 519: 171–180.

Linebaugh P & Rediker M (2000) The Many-headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners. Beacon, Boston.

Malm A (2016) Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. Verso, London.

Malm A (2018) Progress of the Storm. Verso, London.

Marx K & Engels F (2010) Collected Works, Vol. 5: Marx and Engels 1845-1847. Lawrence and Wishart, London.

Mies, M. (1986). Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale. London: Zed.

Moore Jason W. (2010a). ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire, and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648, The Journal of Agrarian Change 10(1), 33-68.

Moore Jason W. (2010b). ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, The Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2, 2010), 188-227.

Moore Jason W. (2017a) The Capitalocene, Part I: On the Nature and Origins of Our Ecological Crisis. Journal of Peasant Studies 44(3): 594–630.

Moore Jason W. (2017b) World Accumulation and Planetary Life, or, Why Capitalism Will Not Survive Until the ‘Last Tree is Cut,’ IPPR Progressive Review, 24(3), 176-204.

Moore Jason W. (2018) The Capitalocene, Part II: Accumulation by Appropriation and the Centrality of Unpaid Work/Energy. Journal of Peasant Studies 45(2): 237–279.

Moore Jason W. (2019) The Capitalocene and Planetary Justice. Maize 6: 49–54.

Moore Jason W. (2021a) The Opiates of the Environmentalists? Anthropocene Illusions, Planetary Management, and the Capitalocene Alternative. Abstrakt (November).

Moore JW (2021b) Del gran abaratamiento a la gran implosión. Clase, clima y la Gran Frontera. Relaciones Internacionales 47: 11–52. English text here.

Parker G (2013) Global Crisis. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Patel, Raj and Jason W. Moore (2017). A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Plumwood, V. (1993). Feminism and the mastery of nature. New York: Routledge.

Reuters Staff (2010) Clinton: Africa must launch tough economic reforms. Reuters, 14 June, 2010.  

Satrio, Fathun Karib (2022). Living in the Ruins of the Capitalocene. PhD diss., Department of Sociology, Binghamton University.

Seccombe, Wally (1992). A Millennium of Family Change. Verso, New York.

Stuart B. Schwartz (1992) “Rethinking Palmares: Slave Resistance in Colonial Brazil,” in Stuart B. Schwartz, Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 103-136.

Taylor FW (1912) Shop Management. Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York.

Wallerstein I (1980) The Modern World-System II. Academic Press, New York.

Wallerstein I (2006) European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power. The New Press, New York.

von Werlhof, C. (1988). On the concept of nature and society in capitalism. In Women, ed. M. Mies, et al., 96–112. London: Zed.

Wynter S (2003) Unsettling the coloniality of being/power/truth/freedom. CR: The New Centennial

Review 3(3): 257–337.

Zagorin P (1982) Rebels and Rulers 1500-1660, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[1] Jason W. Moore, a historical geographer and environmental historian, is Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University, USA. Address correspondence to: The revises arguments initially formulated in Jason W. Moore, Anthropocene, Capitalocene & the Flight from World History: Dialectical Universalism & the Geographies of Class Power in the Capitalist World-Ecology, 1492-2022Nordia 51(2), 123-146. This and other essays, including many in translation, can be accessed at:

[2] The precise quotation, from a US Army major in the midst of 1968’s Tet Offensive, was reported at the time by Peter Arnett, “The Only Way to ‘Save’ City was to Destroy It,” Associated Press, 7 February 1968.

Anthropocene, Capitalocene & the Flight from World History, Part I: Against the Environmentalism of the Rich

13 May, 2022

Jason W. Moore

All historical writing must set out from these natural bases [‘geological, oro-hydrographical, climatic and so on’] and their modification in the course of history through the action of men.

The proletariat can… only exist world-historically, just as communism, its activity, can only have a ‘world-historical’ existence.

(Marx & Engels 2010: 51, 49, second emphasis added)

The unfolding planetary crisis – which is also an epochal crisis of the capitalist world-ecology – cries out for “pluriversal” imaginations of every kind.[1] But what kind of pluriversalism, set against what kind of universalism, and for what kind of politics?

These words – pluriversalism, universalism – can be dangerous and disabling when abstracted from capitalism’s world history (Marx & Engels 2010: 49). These and many companion terms – humanism and post-humanism, Eurocentrism, and all manner of -cenes – have been used and abused so promiscuously that both interpretive and political clarity is easily lost. At their core is a flight from world history: from the “real movement” of historical capitalism (Marx & Engels 2010: 482). The pretext for this flight typically rests on two major claims. One is an empiricist assertion that world history is diverse and therefore cannot be grasped in its combined and uneven patterns. The second is an ideological claim that any attempt to narrate capitalism’s differentiated unity is irremediably Eurocentric. The result is a descent into amalgamations of regional particularisms with assertions that the problem of modern world history is Europe – rather than capitalism. These enable “critical” theorists to redefine the interpretive debate, away from the real ground of world-historical turning points and towards philosophical and conceptual propositions abstracted from those turning points. Too often, critical theorists have been content to throw their (correct?) phrases against other (incorrect?) phrases. Dropped from the frame is the debate over decisive world-historical transitions, the specific patterns of power, profit and life within and across eras of capitalism, and the globalizing geographies of class power.

It is a very old problem. Marx, expelled from Paris and landing in Brussels in the spring of 1845 (soon joined by Engels), met the problem directly. Writing amidst industrial capitalism‘s simmering revolutionary tensions, Marx and Engels confronted the idealism of the Young Hegelians and the “true socialists.” Notwithstanding

their allegedly ‘world-shattering’ phrases, [they] are the staunchest conservatives. The most recent of them have found the correct expression for their activity when they declare they are only fighting against ‘phrases.’ They forget, however, that they themselves are opposing nothing but phrases to these phrases, and that they are in no way combating the real existing world when they are combating solely the phrases of this world (Marx & Engels 2010: 30).

Among historical materialism’s decisive contributions is its interpretive power to demystify the bourgeoisie’s “ruling ideas” in service to socialist revolution (Marx & Engels 2010: 59ff). Is that contribution uneven? From a dialectical perspective, of course it is. And that’s the point. Historical materialism is a method organized to reveal the “real movements” of class society in the web of life. In other words, historical materialism is, above all, historical. And by historical, Marx and Engels underline, they mean “the actual empirical existence of men in their world-historical, instead of local, being.” (Marx & Engels 2010: 49). Capitalism’s uniqueness is found in the historical geography of endless accumulation, which

mak[es] each nation dependent on the revolutions of the others, and finally puts world-historical, empirically universal individuals in place of local ones… [T]his transformation of history into world history is by no means a mere abstract act on the part of ‘self-consciousness,’ the world spirit, or of any other metaphysical spectre, but a quite material, empirically verifiable act (Marx & Engels 2010: 49, 51).

In this passage, Marx and Engels foreground capitalism’s internationalization of everyday life and, therefore, of class power. This globalization was irreducibly shaped by the “twofold relation” of class society – not only socio-ecological at every turn but premised on an active materialism through which class society is at once (but unevenly) producer and product of webs of life (Marx & Engels 2010: 43; Burkett 1999; Foster 2000). This geohistorical trinity of environment-making, class formation and planetary urbanization has been central to my thinking about capitalism as a world-ecology.[2]

That argument is straightforward: identifying, interpreting, and reconstructing the origins and development of planetary crisis is among the world left’s most fundamental political tasks.[3] Virtually everything about climate justice politics today turns on one’s conception of world history – even and especially when those conceptions are ahistorical or paper-thin. Ahistorical thinking is almost guaranteed to reproduce the bourgeoisie’s ruling ideas. The “second wave” environmentalism that emerged after 1968, for example, was hostage to the dominant fetishes of the early nineteenth century: populationism and industrialism (Guha 2000: 69–97). It was and is an outlook strongly predisposed to technocratic and technological fetishes, and to ignoring imperial power and the environmental problems faced by workers and peasants worldwide (see, Robertson 2012; Montrie 2011; Moore 2021).

So much, yet so little, has changed since 1968. Today’s big “E” Environmentalism – the “Environmentalism of the Rich” (Dauvergne 2016) and its Anthropocene Consensus – remains captive to these nineteenth-century fetishes and to the program of planetary managerialism (Moore 2021). Multiple antagonists of planetary sustainability – itself a relentlessly polysemic concept well-integrated into the neoliberal eco-industrial complex – are itemized: economic growth, consumerism, inefficient markets, wasteful technology, urbanization, and yes, fifty years after Ehrlich and 225 years after Malthus, overpopulation (Ehrlich 1968). This laundry list is illustrated by the Popular Anthropocene’s now-iconic “hockey stick” charts and Great Acceleration narratives (McNeill & Engelke 2016; for a critique, see Moore 2017).    

A fateful collision, we are told, shapes modern world history: “Humans” are “overwhelming the great forces of nature” (Steffen et al. 2007). The Popular Anthropocene and political ontologists find common ground in the philosophy of external relations: the “collision” of essences conceived through network and system metaphors rather than the interpenetration of opposites. Gone from such accounts are the constitutive role of popular revolts, social revolutions, and imperialism as the mechanism of class formation and the appropriation of Cheap Natures. The politics that issues from this cosmology of Man versus Nature – invented during the rise of capitalism after 1492 – is some combination of techno-scientific planetary management (“listen to the science”) combined with pious liberal moralism: “live simply so that others may live.” All the while, capitalism’s business as usual sustains.

PART II forthcoming.


Burkett P (1999) Marx and Nature. St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Dauvergne P (2016) Environmentalism of the Rich. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Ehrlich P (1968) The Population Bomb. Bantam, New York.

Foster JB (2000) Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature. Monthly Review Press, New York.

Guha R (2000) Environmentalism: A Global History. Longman, New York.

Marx K & Engels F (2010) Collected Works, Vol. 5: Marx and Engels 1845-1847. Lawrence and Wishart, London.

Montrie C (2011) A People’s History of Environmentalism in the United States. Continuum, New York.

Moore Jason W. (2021) The Opiates of the Environmentalists? Anthropocene Illusions, Planetary Management, and the Capitalocene Alternative. Abstrakt (Novwember)

Robertson T (2012) The Malthusian Moment: Global Population Growth and the Birth of American Environmentalism. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.

Steffen W, Crutzen P & McNeill JR (2007) The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature? Ambio 36(8): 614–621.

[1] Jason W. Moore, a historical geographer and environmental historian, is Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University, USA. Address correspondence to: Extracted from Jason W. Moore, Anthropocene, Capitalocene & the Flight from World History: Dialectical Universalism & the Geographies of Class Power in the Capitalist World-Ecology, 1492-2022Nordia 51(2), 123-146. This and other essays, including many in translation, can be accessed at:  

[2] Key texts include Moore JW (2015) Capitalism in the Web of Life. Verso, London; Patel R & Moore JW (2017) A History of Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet. University of California Press, Berkeley; Moore JW (2016) Anthropocene or Capitalocene? PM Press, Oakland, CA; Brenner N (2019) New Urban Spaces. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Recent contributions include Campbell C, Niblett M & Oloff K (2021; eds.) Literary and Cultural Production, World-Ecology, and the Global Food System. Palgrave Macmillan, New York; Gibson K (2021) Subsumption as Development: A World-Ecological Critique of the South Korean ‘Miracle’. PhD dissertation, Environmental Studies, York University; Dixon MW (2021) Phosphate Rock Frontiers: Nature, Labor, and Imperial States, from 1870 to World War II. Critical Historical Studies 8(2): 271–307; Otter C (2020) Diet for a Large Planet: Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World-Ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago; Boscov-Ellen D (2021) After the Flood: Political Philosophy in the Capitalocene. PhD dissertation, Philosophy, New School for Social Research; Jakes AG (2020) Egypt’s Occupation: Colonial Economism and the Crises of Capitalism. Stanford University Press, Stanford; and the essays collected in Molinero Gerbeau Y & Avallone G (2021; eds.) Ecología-Mundo, Capitaloceno y Acumulación Global Parte 1. Relaciones Internacionales, 46; Molinero Gerbeau Y & Avallone G (2021b) Ecología-Mundo, Capitaloceno y Acumulación Global Parte 2. Relaciones Internacionales, 47. Several hundred texts in the world-ecology conversation can be found here:

[3] A representative sampling includes: Moore JW (2000) Environmental Crises and the Metabolic Rift in World-Historical Perspective. Organization & Environment 13(2): 123–158; Moore JW (2003) Nature and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center 26(2): 97–172; Moore JW (2010) ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part I: The Alchemy of Capital, Empire, and Nature in the Diaspora of Silver, 1545-1648. The Journal of Agrarian Change 10(1): 33–68; Moore JW (2010b) ‘Amsterdam is Standing on Norway’, Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Seventeenth Century. The Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2): 188–227; Moore JW (2017) The Capitalocene, Part I: On the Nature and Origins of Our Ecological Crisis. The Journal of Peasant Studies 44(3): 594–630; Moore JW (2018) The Capitalocene, Part II: Accumulation by Appropriation and the Centrality of Unpaid Work/Energy. The Journal of Peasant Studies 45(2): 237–279

CFP: Imperialism & Anti-Imperialism in the Web of Life

Seventh Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network

A Virtual Conference, October and November 2021

Submit your abstract here. Due July 30. See below for other important dates and protocols for the online conference.

As the unfolding climate crisis lays bare widening fissures of power, profit and life, the politics of imperialism have become inescapable. Situating today’s geopolitics within the long-run development of modern imperialism and its Civilizing Projects in the web of life, this conference explores capitalism’s dialectics of empire and anti-imperialism – historically and in the present crisis. We invite papers, and proposals for panels, that engage and elaborate connections between world power, world accumulation, and planetary life in their combined and uneven forms.

The Seventh Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network, Imperialism & Anti-Imperialism in the Web of Life takes shape out of a decade-long dialogue within the world-ecology conversation. Two themes – guiding threads as Marx would say – emerged from this dialogue. The first turns on the relation of capitalism’s Cheap Nature strategy to imperialism. Cheap Nature binds capital’s cost-minimizing strategy to its Civilizing Projects – from Iberian Christianization to Truman’s Point Four Developmentalism and the Washington Consensus. Imperialist power is the glue that binds the “economic” logic of capital to the geocultural mechanisms of domination (racism, sexism, etc.) that make possible Cheap Natures and recurrent long waves of capitalist development. “Economic” valorization and “ethico-political” devaluation are dialectically joined. The second theme emphasizes that imperialism is capitalism’s preferred means of class formation and class struggle Against a resurgent ethno-nationalism worldwide, we look towards the potential solidarities of Proletariat, Femitariat, and Biotariat as a differentiated unity. At a moment characterized by the embrace – or wholesale rejection – of past orthodoxies, this conference pursues open questions of geopolitical power, and anti-imperialist struggles, as fundamental to the ongoing class struggles (from above and below) over global order and planetary justice in the web of life.   

Submit your abstract here. Abstracts are due July 30. See below for important dates and protocols for the online conference.

We welcome paper and panel proposals on these and other themes relevant to the world-ecology conversation. These include but are not limited to:

  • Climate history, political power, and popular revolt
  • Climate Apartheid, Climate Patriarchy, and the Climate Class Divide
  • Inter-imperialist rivalry, World Wars, and the Struggle for Cheap Natures
  • Superexploitation and Cheapness in the Web of Life
  • Unpaid Work, Geopower, and Accumulation by Appropriation
  • Military Revolutions and Ecological Imperialism
  • Civilizing Projects, From Columbus to the Washington Consensus
  • Bourgeois Naturalism, Empire, and the ‘Dangerous Classes’
  • Imperialism, Anti-Imperialism and the Nature of Socialist Revolutions
  • Empire, Financialization, and Cheap Natures
  • Settler Colonialism, Class Formation, & Environment-Making Empires
  • Social Reproduction and Empire: The Combined and Uneven Development of Socially-Necessary Unpaid Work
  • Cartographic Revolutions and Modern Imperialism
  • Resource Wars? Inter-Imperialist Struggle and the (Un)Making of Cheap Nature
  • Military Revolutions as Environmental History?
  • Commodity Frontiers and the Contradictions of Imperialism
  • Imperialism as the Politics of World Accumulation
  • Power and Violence as Control within the Web of Life
  • Fossil Capital, Fossil Empires?
  • Neo-Malthusianism: Ideology of Empire?
  • Imperial ‘Agrarian Questions’? Agricultural Revolutions in the Long Cycle of World Power
  • Re-reading the Classics of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in the Web of Life
  • National liberation struggles and the revolt against Cheap Nature
  • Climate history and class society over the longue durée
  • Imperialism, the world color line, and the dialectics of racialized proletarianization
  • Weaponization of Ideology
  • Undergraduate research is welcome as panel presentations or posterboard session

Submit your abstract here. Abstracts are due July 30. See below for important dates and protocols for the online conference.


Panel presentations will be pre-recorded between August 10 and September 10. They will be available for viewing on September 13. Participants are expected to view panels asynchronously before the synchronous discussion sessions in October and November. Presenters will provide an extended abstract of 1500 words to be published on the conference website.

Session details

  • Each session is three consecutive hours, including short breaks.
  • The timing for each session varies to accommodate colleagues from all time zones.
  • Each session consists of a synchronous plenary speaker, three panel discussions of pre-recorded presentations, with breaks, and a wrap up discussion.
  • See schedule below for details.

Panel details

  • Each panel consists of 3-4 panelists and has a moderator/discussant.
  • The moderator organizes, hosts, and records a Zoom session between August 17 and September 10. Moderators will receive detailed instructions regarding this.
  • Please note: You may be asked to re-record your session, should the recording be glitchy (visual or audio).
  • At the synchronous discussion, the moderator begins the discussion with a brief recap of each presentation, drawing out areas of overlap or questions for each panelist.
  • During the synchronous discussion we will have a designated person monitoring the chat to bring questions to facilitate a smooth and inclusive experience.

Undergraduate & Graduate Student options

  • We are offering graduate and undergraduate submissions the option of a posterboard session or a panel session.
  • Graduate students who want to present in an integrated session with colleagues at all levels should tick the box for “Doctoral Candidate” when filling out the “Employment Title” field of the abstract submission form.
  • A posterboard session will require a short, 5-minute, prerecorded presentation. 
  • A panel session will require a 15 to 20-minute prerecorded presentation.
  • In both instances there will be a discussion session scheduled during the conference.
  • Once everyone has registered, we will know if we will have a posterboard session, a panel session, or both. Because this decision is contingent on actual registration, we inform you between August 14-17.


July 30                  Abstract submission through July 30. Submit your abstract here.

Aug 2                   Notification. Because of the nature of this year’s conference, participants will be notified on an ongoing and rolling basis.

Aug 2-Aug 14       Registration. Because of the nature of this year’s conference, the registration window is short. There will be no early or late registration. Registration is $20US.

August 17             Notification of panels, schedule, and instructions for recording.

September 10       Recordings Due

September 13       Recordings Posted

October 8             Conference opening

November 20       Conference closing

Conference Schedule

Times are posted in the Eastern Time Zone. Please calculate accordingly.  
Coffee* and Cocktails* are optional opportunities for connections and conversation.

Friday, October 8 3:00 – 6:00 pm
	Coffee*		        2:30-3:00
        Conference		3:00-6:00
	Cocktails*		6:00… 

Saturday, October 9, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
	Coffee*		        12:30-1:00
	Conference		1:00-3:00
	Cocktails*		3:00 … 

Friday, October 22, 7:00 – 10:00 am
	Coffee*		        6:30-7:00
	Conference		7:00-10:00
	Cocktails* 		10:00 … 

Saturday, October 23, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm 
	Coffee*		        9:30-10:00
	Conference		10:00-1:00
	Cocktails*		1:00 … 

Friday, November 5, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
	Coffee* 		12:30-1:00
	Conference		1:00-4:00
	Cocktails*		4:00 … 

Saturday, November 6, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
	Coffee* 		9:30-10:00
	Conference		10:00-1:00
	Cocktails* 		1:00 …

Friday, November 19, 7:00 – 10:00 am
	Coffee*		        6:30-7:00
	Conference		7:00-10:00
	Cocktails* 		10:00 … 

Saturday, November 20, 3:00 – 6:00 pm
	Coffee*		        2:30-3:00
	Conference		3:00-6:00
	Cocktails*		6:00… 
If you have any questions, please email
Please join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.come/worldecology/ 
And follow us on at

Ecologia-mondo. Una discussione (Parte I) – di Jason W. Moore e Gennaro Avallone

In vista dello sciopero globale per il clima che si terrà il 27 settembre, Effimera propone la pubblicazione di una serie di riflessioni dal dibattito italiano, a partire da un’intervista di Gennaro Avallone a Jason Moore, di cui oggi pubblichiamo la prima parte. Si tratta di una discussione globale su natura sociale astratta, valore-negativo e la crisi del capitalismo in corso. Ci introduce ai concetti fondamentali dell’ecologia-mondo e approfondisce alcuni nodi problematici emersi recentemente nel dibattito internazionale sull’ecologia politica. Tra questi ultimi vanno segnalati il rapporto con i teorici della “frattura metabolica” e la novità storica rappresentata dal valore-negativo. I contributi, in inglese, verranno pubblicati in ottobre per un numero speciale della rivista Sociologia Urbana e Rurale.


Tu stai sviluppando l’approccio dell’ecologia-mondo per comprendere sia la storia moderna sia il futuro delle nature umana ed extra-umana. Quali sono gli elementi principali di questo approccio?

JWM: L’ecologia-mondo è una collaborazione, un confronto. Si tratta di un confronto – tra studiosi, artisti, attivisti – sulla giustizia a livello planetario. Esso prende Marx seriamente in considerazione, ma rifiuta il concetto secondo cui ci sarebbe un “vero Marx”. Non c’è nessun Vero Marx, ma solo un Marx storico. Lo stesso è vero per altri grandi pensatori. Io penso che uno dei maggiori rischi della tradizione radicale si trovi nella tendenza a convertire le idee in credenze, e le credenze in oggetti sacri. Così, si va a difendere un oggetto sacro – il “socialismo in un solo paese” o “la classe operaia” – invece di coltivare una prassi rivoluzionaria.

Per il dibattito dell’ecologia-mondo, la mia speranza è che esso incoraggi e faciliti discussioni e sintesi utili per la giustizia planetaria nel XXI secolo. Io ho sempre ripetuto che alcune delle mie formulazioni saranno più utili di altre. Il mio approccio è stato quello di porre domande sulle lacune nelle interpretazioni radicali del cambiamento storico – incluso il presente come storia. Nel libro Capitalism in the Web of Life (2015), ho posto delle domande sulle connessioni tra i rapporti di dominio e sfruttamento e la storia ambientale. Come possono le critiche femministe, ambientaliste e marxiste essere rielaborate in una nuova sintesi? E come potrebbe esserci una sintesi generativa – generativa, cioè, di ulteriori ricerche, narrazioni, rappresentazioni, discussioni?

L’ecologia-mondo sviluppa accese discussioni e questo spesso porta verso inattese – anche scomode – direzioni! Troppi radicali hanno bisogno di essere “corretti”. Obiettivo dell’ecologia-mondo non è arrivare alla linea corretta e, quindi, difenderla. La nostra ambizione collaborativa è di aprire, appoggiare e sostenere confronti che generino conoscenza emancipativa per la giustizia planetaria. Questo significa, tra le altre cose, che noi abbiamo rinunciato alle certezze delle conoscenze passate. Queste conoscenze passate sono importanti e indispensabili. Allo stesso tempo, i modi di pensare che hanno creato la crisi planetaria odierna non ci porteranno verso la giustizia planetaria. Una prassi emancipativa deve ribadire che nessuno ha tutte le risposte e che risposte convincenti alla crisi planetaria sono per natura collettive.

L’ecologia-mondo non ha quindi mai riguardato la mia posizione su questa o quella domanda storica o teorica. È lontana da questo! La mia idea è che si tratti di una discussione tenuta insieme da un impegno a comprendere la storia umana – compresa la storia del presente – come co-prodotta con e all’interno di reti della vita. Esiste una filosofia della storia che considera la geografia storica delle reti della vita come condizioni ontologiche. Questo incoraggia un metodo storico che si chiede come le organizzazioni umane di potere, produzione e riproduzione non sono solo produttrici di queste reti della vita, ma sono anche prodotti di esse. Fondamentalmente, noi chiediamo: come le relazioni umane sono configurate con e dentro la natura nel suo insieme?

Questa è una filosofia degli umani nella rete della vita dal carattere orizzontalista. Essa ha implicazioni pratiche. Forse il fatto maggiormente significativo è che questa filosofia sfida le visioni della liberazione umana che considerano la rete della vita come secondaria.

C’è stata una lunga storia di progetti socialisti che hanno trattato la natura come una risorsa produttivista. Ci sono molti pericoli in questo, uno dei quali è che la Natura non si limita mai alla natura extra-umana; essa include sempre le popolazioni umane. Si noterà parlo di Natura con la lettera maiuscola. Questa idea – Natura – è sempre in contrasto con Società, Civiltà, o altri concetti simili. Ma questa è più di un’idea. È una pratica. Ed è una prassi: quella di dominare gli umani, non solo i suoli, i corsi d’acqua, i campi e le foreste. In altre parole, Natura è – e lo è dal 1492 – un progetto di classe, un progetto imperiale che ha fuso la produzione di “plusvalore” con l’esercizio di “pluspotere”.

L’ecologia-mondo, quindi, prende molto sul serio la storia dell’ideologia e del dominio culturale. Io non penso che questa storia sia separata dalle devastazioni della rete della vita da parte del capitalismo; né penso che possiamo dare un senso alla razza, al genere e alla sessualità astratti dai feticci storico-mondiali di Natura e Civiltà. Fondamentale per l’ecologia-mondo è l’affermazione secondo cui i modi moderni di pensiero e cultura, potere e accumulazione costituiscono una totalità in evoluzione. Nella mia visione, l’emergenza del capitalismo può essere compresa adeguatamente solo in questi termini.

Penso che il ruolo delle lotte di classe e del cambiamento economico sia ben compreso, quindi lasciatemi semplicemente concentrarmi sulla geocultura emergente del capitalismo. La geocultura del capitalismo, l’economia geopolitica e l’antagonismo sistemico di classe sono tutti momenti di questo insieme in evoluzione, in cui ogni momento implica relazioni specifiche con reti della vita. Questa geocultura si è basata su due logiche rinforzanti. Una è la logica del codice binario e la sua prima espressione fu l’affermazione ontologica Civiltà vs. Natura. L’altra è stata la logica dello strumentalismo, necessaria se (alcuni) umani desideravano trasformare la maggior parte degli umani e il resto della natura in opportunità per fare profitto. Dall’inizio del capitalismo, “dominare e trarre profitto” è stato unito dialetticamente con “definire e governare” (Mamdani, 2012).

La geocultura del capitalismo va ben oltre il dualismo Civiltà-Natura. Dopo il 1492, la sua logica animatrice si è rapidamente intrecciata con le separazioni binarie del genere, della razza e della sessualità e si è rapidamente combinata con le strategie di governo imperiale e l’accumulazione di capitale. Quando dico che il capitalismo funziona attraverso un codice binario, sto evidenziando una prassi specificamente capitalista. Cioè, la prassi del capitalismo è un’unità di pensiero e azione che si sviluppa storicamente attraverso la ricompensa delle pratiche che consentono – e la punizione delle pratiche che ostacolano – l’accumulazione senza fine di capitale. Questa prassi è una fabbrica geoculturale di feticizzazione. Essa frammenta la realtà, ponendo segmenti di codice binario e, poi, usando tali frammenti per dominare, appropriare e sfruttare.

Civiltà e Natura – ancora in maiuscolo – sono astrazioni reali. La loro forza risiede nel grado in cui l’uno per cento agisce come se esse fossero reali e nel grado in cui il 99 percento accetta la loro realtà. Le astrazioni reali Civiltà/Nature possono essere comprese come un’espressione storico-mondiale dell’alienazione sotto il capitalismo. Ma questa non è l’unica forma di alienazione. Non appena osserviamo la storia di questa geocultura, vediamo che il confine tra Civiltà e Natura è intimamente connesso al mondo del colore e alle linee di genere. La razzializzazione e la genderizzazione (gendering) dei rapporti di lavoro, in corso dal 1492, sono passate attraverso – e, a loro volta, si sono rafforzate – le astrazioni reali di Civiltà e barbarie. Il linguaggio della civiltà e barbarie ha sempre formato un tipo di “materia prima” discorsiva per discorsi e pratiche razziste, sessiste e omofobe. Come sottolinea Silvia Federici (2004), le donne sono diventate i “selvaggi d’Europa” nel primo capitalismo, mentre la loro attività vitale è stata ridefinita come non lavoro. Le donne divennero “naturalmente” adatte per essere madri e addette alla cura: un tipo di lavoro che non ha bisogno di essere ricompensato come lavoro. Ovunque nel mondo atlantico, i non europei – africani, popolazioni indigene, schiavi, irlandesi – furono ridefiniti come selvaggi. Essi furono assegnati alla Natura, non alla Civiltà: così le loro vite ed il loro lavoro potevano meglio divenire a buon mercato.

L’approccio dell’ecologia-mondo è collegato sia all’analisi del sistema-mondo sia alla teoria della frattura metabolica. Quali sono, secondo te, le principali somiglianze e differenze tra l’ecologia-mondo e questi altri approcci?

Queste sono due tradizioni che hanno aiutato il mio pensiero, ma esse non sono le sole, e non in ogni caso le più importanti.

L’analisi del sistema-mondo è cruciale per due ragioni fondamentali. La prima è che Wallerstein ci ha mostrato una via per riscrivere la storia del mondo dal punto di vista della filosofia delle relazioni interne. Difficilmente si legge il capolavoro di Wallerstein, The Modern World-System I (1974), e quando si legge spesso ci si ferma dopo un paio di capitoli. Questo è il motivo per cui molti dicono che questo testo ruota tutto intorno alla questione della produzione per il mercato mondiale. Se lo si legge, si scopre che non è affatto così, nonostante la formazione del mercato mondiale sia importante (non lo era anche per Marx?).

L’approccio di Wallerstein è fondamentalmente in contrasto con la tendenza degli scienziati sociali a costruire modelli. Infatti, Wallerstein non offre un “modello di capitalismo”, ma piuttosto solo alcune premesse basilari – innanzitutto, quello a cui si assiste è un cambiamento epocale nel lungo sedicesimo secolo, che genera una divisione del lavoro interdipendente e trans-atlantica.

È una storia del mondo connettiva. In The Modern World-System si incontrano analisi sul cambiamento climatico, la lotta e la struttura di classe, la formazione dello Stato, la costruzione degli imperi, le trasformazioni dei suoli, delle diete e delle foreste e la formazione del mercato mondiale moderno. Si tratta di una storia del mondo situata: una storia del mondo tra molte possibili. E infine, come ho suggerito, si tratta di una storia del mondo che prende sul serio la geografia e la rete della vita.

L’analisi del sistema-mondo è generativa anche per un’altra ragione. Wallerstein la chiama analisi dei sistemi-mondo perché è proposta come un modo di analisi e, soprattutto, un “non pensato” della scienza sociale del diciannovesimo secolo. Centrale nell’analisi dei sistemi-mondo è stato lo studio delle “strutture di conoscenza” della modernità. Questa ricerca collega la critica epistemologica con le strutture istituzionali, tra le quali il modo in cui le nostre università e discipline sono organizzate. In questa luce, l’analisi dei sistemi-mondo è sempre stata una critica delle discipline e una critica dell’interdisciplinarità. È stata una critica soprattutto di uno dei principi di governo della scienza sociale, la divisione tripartita della conoscenza in socio-culturale, politico, economico.

Wallerstein, e prima di lui Fernand Braudel, è stato sempre consapevole che questa critica si svolgeva sullo sfondo di ciò che C.P. Snow (1959) ha chiamato le “Due Culture” delle scienze umane e biofisiche. L’ecologia-mondo considera questa struttura duratura della conoscenza – le Due Culture – come una delle sue sfide centrali. Ho sostenuto che per quelli di noi che lavorano nelle università, dobbiamo essere “dentro” ma non “del” sistema accademico; dobbiamo rifiutarci di essere custodi delle discipline, le quali sono parte del problema. Rifiutandosi di vedere la “natura” come un componente aggiuntivo del “cambiamento sociale”, l’ecologia-mondo apre lo spazio a nuove forme di conoscenza che privilegiano l’unità differenziata degli umani nella rete della vita – compresa da più punti di vista e nelle sue forme emergenti (non lineari).

Naturalmente ci sono molte correnti intellettuali che stanno lottando con il problema delle Due Culture. Vorrei sottolineare il lavoro rivoluzionario di Rebecca Lave e dei suoi colleghi attorno alla “geografia fisica critica”, nonché la straordinaria tradizione di scienza dialettica associata a Robert M. Young, il compianto Richard Levins, Richard Lewontin e, più recentemente, Rob Wallace. Donna Haraway, Carolyn Merchant e altre brillanti pioniere nella scienza femminista e negli studi ambientali che hanno sfidato le Due Culture da una prospettiva diversa ma ugualmente significativa. L’ecologia-mondo impara da tutti questi movimenti.

Ciò che l’ecologia-mondo mette in primo piano in modo distintivo è il carattere storico-mondo di queste relazioni tra umani nella rete della vita. Non si dovrebbe “aggiungere” la natura alla classe, al colonialismo o al patriarcato. Piuttosto, ciascuno di questi grandi processi è co-prodotto nella e attraverso la rete della vita. Questo ci consente di mostrare come il capitalismo sia contemporaneamente produttore e prodotto della rete della vita.

Il libro Capitalism in the Web of Life è stato ispirato, in parte, dallo sforzo di sintetizzare due argomenti classici che sono apparsi alla fine del secolo scorso. Uno era il testo Marx’s Ecology (2000) di John Bellamy Foster. L’altro era il testo Marx and Nature di Paul Burkett (1999). Il libro di Foster ha aperto nuove possibilità per ripensare la geografia storica del capitalismo come relazione metabolica, che è stata un produttore e un prodotto di classe, capitale e impero. In Marx’s Ecology, Foster offre una potente concettualizzazione delle contraddizioni metaboliche del capitalismo, fondata sull’alienazione del lavoro e sulla divisione del lavoro tra città e campagna. Questo apre lo spazio a una delle preoccupazioni centrali dell’ecologia-mondo: sintetizzare le relazioni socio-spaziali del capitalismo con le sue contraddizioni metaboliche. Il contributo di Burkett è stato quello di rendere impossibile qualsiasi tentativo di pensare attraverso la “legge del valore” di Marx astratta dalle sue dimensioni biofisiche. Nessuno di questi testi era molto preoccupato della storia mondiale del capitalismo.

Questo non è un difetto per nessuno dei due testi. La storia mondiale non era necessaria per i loro rispettivi argomenti. L’intenzione chiave di Capitalism in the Web of Life era, quindi, duplice. In primo luogo, volevo basare la legge del valore su una contraddizione metabolica – qualcosa che Marx ha sempre fatto, riferendosi costantemente al lavoro umano come ad una “forza naturale”. In secondo luogo, speravo di mostrare come questo antagonismo si sia svolto attraverso la geografia storica del capitalismo dal 1492. In questo approccio, il metabolismo includeva flussi di corpi, potere e merci.

Trovo un po’ doloroso discutere la risposta di Foster a questi argomenti. Da un lato, come ho scritto molte volte, l’approccio delle frattura metabolica fu molto innovativo. Esso resta un’analisi di rilievo per la ricerca critica. Io non concordo pienamente con l’analisi della frattura; ma queste sono questioni di disaccordo amichevole. Dall’altro lato, John Bellamy Foster ha risposto alle mie critiche in un modo molto diverso. È un attacco volto a fare terra bruciata. Per Bellamy Foster, non essere d’accordo con Foster significa rifiutare Marx e abbandonare il materialismo. Una delle cose più tristi della risposta di Foster è stata la sua totale mancanza di interesse per il dialogo. Foster ha costantemente rifiutato gli inviti a discutere tali questioni, risalendo al 2008. Nell’autunno del 2015, circa nove mesi prima che mi denunciasse come amico dei negazionisti del clima, gli inviai una e-mail in cui sostanzialmente ho detto questo: è chiaro che ci sono significative differenze tra le nostre posizioni, e c’è il pericolo che possano sorgere non-dibattiti controproducenti, il tipo di non-dibattito in cui i marxisti parlano l’uno con l’altro e si attribuiscono ogni sorta di insulti. Allora, ho detto: organizziamo un dialogo in cui possiamo dare forza alle nostre differenze, ma anche elaborare un impegno condiviso per il socialismo e la giustizia planetaria. Finora, Foster ha scelto l’invettiva ad un dibattito tenace e ha rifiutato ogni singolo invito.

Ora, il mio atteggiamento è divenuto molto diverso. Ho elogiato Foster e gli approcci della frattura metabolica molte volte. Foster non finge neanche che l’ecologia-mondo in qualche forma abbia qualcosa di utile da dire (così, quando dico che Foster è un dualista, penso che ci siano delle prove di questo nelle sue modalità intellettuali e politiche. Per Foster, invece, “o sei con me o contro di me!”). La mia posizione è che la scuola della frattura metabolica non è sufficientemente dialettica, geografica e storica. Queste sono differenze serie. Ma esiste anche un impegno condiviso per i principi socialisti fondamentali di giustizia, uguaglianza e sostenibilità. La posizione di Foster è che io sono un nemico del socialismo. Questa è una modalità intellettuale che fa derivare differenze politiche fondamentali dalle nostre differenze analitiche. Si tratta di una tendenza con una storia sgradevole nei progetti socialisti del ventesimo secolo. Per me, invece, possiamo differire su questioni che riguardano Marx, l’economia politica e la storia ambientale e, tuttavia, essere ancora d’accordo sulla politica socialista




杰森·W · 摩尔孙岳瑞典于默奥大学历史、哲学及宗教研究系于默奥科学、技术与环境研究核心团队首都师范大学外国语学院、全球史研究中心


荷兰人的权力和利益网伸入自然景观、人的躯体和各式各样的生产关系之中并将其编织成更大的网络,其规模之大乃整个地球史上所未见。波兰的维斯瓦河流域(Vistula basin)、巴西的东北部地区、北大西洋的渔场均被大17世纪(约1557—1763年)以荷兰为首的资本主义整合改造。这一大规模的改造遂催生出一种商品前沿(commodity frontier)的概念,即用以重新改造全球自然环境的一种强大的现代战略。其基本逻辑,用社会生态学的话说,就是“打了就跑”(hit and run),也就是说只要自然资源丰富易得手就“打”它一下,而一旦这一地区的社会生态资源不再能够带来丰厚利润就一走了之。就每一种初级商品资源而言,如木材和林产品、谷物、糖、银、铜、铁、鱼类等,其格局都是当地一些顶级的生产商大获其利,然后便衰落,周期大约在50年至75年之间。早期资本主义的发展频繁地更换地点。


虽说不少学者已就荷兰资本主义的发展史讲过许多(如Arrighi 1994:127—158; Aymard 1982; Boxer 1965; Hoppenbrouwers and van Zanden 2001; Israel 1989; de Vries and van der Woude 1997; Wallerstein 1980:36—71; van Zanden 1993),但却很少有人从社会生态的视角加以考察。荷兰霸权的建立是一个极大胆的尝试和过程,它重构了17世纪资本主义的整个社会生态体系。这一社会生态体系就是资本主义的世界生态体系,可谓是一种特殊的文明架构,它把无休止的资本积累与大自然的赏赉永无枯竭的假定结合起来(Moore,2003c,2009,2010a,2010b,2010c,2010d,2010e,2011a,2011b.2011c,2011d)。①这里的“生态”是一个极宽泛的相对概念,它把人类历史与人类之外的自然史辩证地统一成一个整体的历史过程。从这一视角观之,文明并非是指人类作用于大自然的产物,而是在人类与大自然的多重相互关系中萌生和发展的过程。其实,现代世界史上的诸多运动莫不如是,比如工业化、帝国主义扩张、商品化等。由是观之,文明与各种运动都是人类与人类之外的大自然之间相互作用的关系束。


一 资本主义兴起过程中的美洲和欧洲前沿

本文的重点是上述最后两场运动,即大波罗的海地区的木材和粮食与荷兰资本主义之间的生成关系(generative relations)问题。这一视角突出强调欧美资本主义相与相生的关系和不平衡的发展。欧洲内部自身的商品前沿影响了扩展中的美洲商品前沿,而后者同样影响前者的发展,尤其是在制糖和银矿开采方面(Moore,2000,2010e)。上述两场运动相互调节。现代性的“伟大边疆”(Webb,1964)既不限于欧洲也不全是殖民性质,其在本质上属于资本主义。

新世界最大规模的商品前沿是蔗糖和银矿,其之所以能够成形是因为当时的欧洲已经具备了采矿技术、林木产品、捕鱼业和粮食产业,尤其是在斯堪的纳维亚和波罗的海地区。资本主义在美欧的扩张和发展,关键在不断加剧的一系列商品化运动(commodifying movements),这种商品化运动的目标是拓展资本主义发展的前沿,以解放廉价的劳动力和自然资源,当然这就意味着将全部自然(包括人和外于人类的自然资源)看做某种“无偿的馈赠”(free gift,Marx,1967:745)。比如,美洲银矿的开采使得北欧的商品关系持续大幅扩展,那里的粮食和林木产品为荷兰17世纪的资本积累提供了重要条件,而这种螺旋式上升的资本积累过程进而为美洲蔗糖及其他产品的生产并最终运至欧洲提供了必要的资金和运输条件(Moore,2007)。

荷兰资本主义及波罗的海地区的开发是通过一种商品前沿的策略得以实现的,其中非常突出的是当地林木资源的开采和粮食的批量种植。这里的发展格局与其在南大西洋地区榨取、利用社会生态资源而后迁移的商品前沿化过程非常相似,突出表现在蔗糖前沿方面(Moore,2000b;2007:chapter six)。目前学术界对此类前沿在资本主义发展过程中的重要作用已有共识,但相关研究还很薄弱(如Richards,2003)。近代早期的商品前沿对世界历史进程的破坏作用有二:第一,它以最快捷的方式榨取诸如森林、田地、矿山和人群(即劳动力)等生态财富,因而破坏了生产的社会生态条件,通常会在50年至75年的周期内令任何一地丧失赚取高额利润的条件;第二,一旦某一地区的生态财富价值下降,表现在该地在世界市场上失去了竞争力,资本家便开始搜索下一个商品前沿(Moore,2000a,2000b,2003a,2003b,2007,2010a,2010b)。

商品前沿多种多样且在世界各地分布广泛,比如北海的渔场、挪威的木材、巴西的蔗糖、秘鲁的银矿、波兰的谷物。仔细观察,便会发现这种区域的商品集团(commodity regime)往往在50年至75年的时间里异军突起,在世界市场居于主导地位,而后又迅速衰败。不过这种区域经济的大起大落并不会形同中世纪一般导致商品生产的绝对垮台;相反,上述蔗糖、木材和银矿开采集团还会维持二流生产厂家的地位。因此,仅从市场经营的角度是无法理解大16世纪先有安特卫普、后有阿姆斯特丹及更广泛的内陆地区相继维系的商品前沿的。要扩大对原材料和粮食的有效需求就必须从事环境改造,就日渐枯竭的区域生态环境(如波兰的庄园农场或巴西的蔗糖联盟)而言,这种环境改造显然有利可图。

早期资本主义之所以能够迅速发展恰恰是因为这一制度制造了一连串的生态危机,而不是前者避开了后者的干扰。凡从未接触过商品生产的地区(如美洲新大陆)或传统“自然经济”盛行的地区(如北欧),上述的矛盾过程更容易迅速广泛地展开。在这些地区,商品前沿会锁定当地的生态财富(包括当地的劳动力供给),将其纳入到资本的循环当中,倒好像是对当地的一种“无偿馈赠”,紧接着,土地和劳动力迅速被商品化,使得当地“虚构的商品”(fictitious commodity,Polanyi,1957)集合体达到不堪忍受的程度。此时,土地和劳动力迅速枯竭的体制已经造就,且毫无例外地会经历一段起落浮沉的发展。及至衰落迹象浮现,寻找下一轮商品前沿的努力便开始了,扩张、危机、扩张,周而复始。


二 “优质的森林”:荷兰资本主义的林木条件与后果



先从造船和木材商品前沿说起。在整个大17世纪,荷兰的资本不断地占用挪威、波兰和波罗的海沿岸地区的森林资源。这一系列的商品前沿是大国在北大西洋地区获胜的地理支撑,先有荷兰,紧接着是英国(工业革命使用的是瑞典和俄罗斯的铁)。荷兰对这些木材前沿的垄断使荷兰的造船业(继而是霸业)占到了很大的竞争优势,这一状况至少持续到17世纪60年代,结果,荷兰造船的费用仅是英国的1/3至1/2(Albion 1926:156;Barbour 1930:267)。难怪沃尔特·雷利爵士(Sir Walter Raleigh)哀叹英国林木资源的贫乏,艳羡荷兰人能够享受那“东部诸国优质的森林[制造出]……大量的隔板桩、杉木板(Firdeale)、桅杆和木材”(Raleigh1653:26)。雷利所谓的“东部诸国”指的就是波罗的海沿岸国家,其中包括挪威。能够享受这里的林木资源对荷兰的兴起可谓不可或缺。

挪威原是丹麦国的一部分,后来在1570年以后成为荷兰的主要林木基地。荷兰造船业的突飞猛进——其吨位在1500年至1700年期间增加了10倍(Sella 1974;Unger 1992:260—1)——与荷兰的资本渗入挪威是同步进行的。荷兰的木材供给地转移至挪威与1570年以后但泽(Danzig)一地木材价格的不断攀升有关。是什么驱动了木材价格的攀升呢?“除了物价总体上升[即‘价格革命’]以外,还有就是波兰和立陶宛木材供给量的减少”(Malowist,1960:36,39)。同样的供给量萎缩的情况在西班牙北部地区也有发生(Moore,2010a:55—62)。在肖努(Chaunu)看来,这一供给量的萎缩是17世纪大西洋地区“结构性危机”(great structural crisis)的一个组成部分:“木材危机是整体危机的一个重要特征,而整体危机把两个世纪连接了起来。”(1960:43)

自16世纪50年代起,伴随荷兰资本来到南部挪威,这里的锯木厂便如雨后春笋般兴建了起来。从50年前的一无所有,到1600年锯木厂猛增到500多家,紧接着发生了现代化发展史上的第一个伐木高潮(Sevetdal and Grimstad 2003:14)。荷兰在整个北大西洋地区资本广泛投资,荷兰称霸世界最重大的技术创新——快速平底船(fluitschip)——也由此诞生,挪威木业的重要性由此可见一斑。自16世纪70年代起,荷兰与挪威之间的木材贸易迅速攀升(Sgner,2004);第一艘快速平底船于1595年问世,当然是在挪威生产的,用的是挪威的木料(de Vries 1976:117—118;Derry1979:142)。


整整一个世纪的造船木材采掘和松节油生产,加之挪威炼铁业的持续增长,终于“造成了[木材]短缺,有些地方的森林被完全毁掉了”(Sevetdal and Grimstad 2003:10)。截至17世纪60年代,相对荷兰的需求,已经出现了森林行将枯竭的迹象(Davis 1973:190),但即使在此时,荷兰每年从挪威进口的木材还是达到了30万立方米至37.5万立方米(Sipkens 1996:36;de Vries and van der Woude 1997)。这个数目非同小可,至少相当于40万公顷森林的自然增长量。②至17世纪50年代,人们已经明显觉察到“海岸线上的林木日渐稀疏”(Kiaer 1893:332),致使挪威的林木开采业在17世纪末不得不向东部转移(Sgner 2004:45;yen et al.2006:321)。此时,为维持出口,已经“有必要……从内地的河道漂流圆木”(Kiaer 1893:332)。南部的莱菲尔克(Ryfyllke)也大致如此,那里“最好的木材都被砍伐光了”(Sgner 2004:45),截至世纪中叶,只有“小宗的木材供应”维持着出口(Sgner 2004:45)。莱菲尔克的板材生产在17世纪60年代—80年代陡降了75%。“后来在易砍伐地带的进一步毁林”终于造成了木材供应的崩溃(Lillehammer1986:108)。在1650年之后的一个世纪,荷兰从挪威进口的木材从原有的13万拉斯特(lasts),约合26万吨,下降到38000拉斯特(Sicking et al.2004:7)。此间,荷兰捕鲱船队专用的一种新型巴斯船(buss)的价格几乎翻了一番,这当然不是什么巧合(van Bochove 2008:224—225)。

挪威的森林正在变得稀松,这一点几乎不成问题。“早在1637年”,挪威产的桅杆“就被人视作整个欧洲最糟糕的”(Bamford 1956:137),这个(源自英国的)说法虽有些夸张,但肯定还是有些道理的:

数世纪以来,挪威一直为汉萨同盟各方提供桅杆和木材,但由于近来[约1550—1650]西班牙、荷兰和英国的大量需求,供给很快变得不足。同时,由于冶金业的发展和挪威自身的林木加工业的巨大需求,加之挪威缺乏保护森林的立法和有效的保护措施,剩下的森林也大多被毁,桅杆贸易也从此[1670年至1700年间]消亡了。(Bamford 1956:136—137)

不断加剧的“挪威供给问题”(Bamford 1956:136—137)迫使荷兰——而后更多是英国——重新开始寻找木材前沿。波罗的海地区的木材贸易额在1661年至17世纪90年代期间翻了两番。17世纪60年代这10年,共计150万件木材穿越厄勒海峡(Sound),而到了1689年,仅在一年内就有130万件木材由此通过(Unger 1959:215)。在俄罗斯,毛皮贸易很快就被松节油贸易超过,后者是为了换取荷兰的金属制品和武器弹药(Kotilaine 2003:306),荷兰资本家很快就迁移到俄罗斯沿海地带,在那里建立了最早的锯木厂(zveren,2000),就像一个世纪以前在挪威开锯木厂一样。虽有木材依然从南波罗的海以但泽为中心的附近地区进口,但此时总的趋势是向波罗的海东部和东北部转移。柯尼斯堡(Knigsberg)、里加(Riga)和雷瓦尔/塔林(Reval/Talinn),1641年仅提供8.6%的木材经厄勒海峡转运,而到了17世纪80年代,这一数字提升到32%。接着,波罗的海东部的木材贸易又被芬兰超过。截至18世纪20年代,东波罗的海地区经厄勒海峡的木材贸易缩水达50%以上(仅占总贸易量的14.4%),而芬兰的贸易量同期显著提升,达到总量近2/3(Unger 1959:215;strm1975;Layton 1993:283)。1578年,荷兰的商船甚至北上至芬拉河(Dvina)以北,赶走了英国的竞争对手,且在17世纪30年代再度繁盛一时(Tossavainen 1994;Kotilaine 2003:311)。

作为廉价的木材来源,挪威一度让位于但泽和维斯瓦河流域,后又屈居柯尼斯堡一梅梅尔和涅曼河、里加和德维纳及维堡和圣彼得堡之后( Albion 1926;Kirby 1990:229—232;Smout,MacDonald and Watson 2005:124—131)。一个世纪之久的向但泽内陆林区的挺进始于1550年,主要是为了获得这里出产的桅杆、松节油、草碱(potash)及其他林产品( Szcygielski,1967)。毫无疑问,这种商品前沿的转移很快影响到当地的自然景观。弗莱特考察了大量使用波罗的海木材的佛兰芒木板画,认定厚木板(30厘米以上)在1500年占当时总量的14%,一个世纪以后,这种厚度的木板完全消失了。与此同时,薄木板的数量由原来的32%上升到总量的92%,明显表现出当时“找不到厚木板,遂只得用较为经济的薄木板”绘画的困境(Fraiture 2009:106,110)。

1610年至1640年,但泽地区的梣木及成板材出口下降了85%,至17世纪50年代则趋于完全停止(Unger,1959)。其中部分原因是荷兰一瑞典的战争(1655—1660)所致,但最重要的原因却在出口行业本身。柯比(Kirby)的说法直截了当:“维斯瓦河流域木材供给的枯竭迫使贸易商转头向东发展,寻求那里的草碱、板材、松木板和焦油”(1990:230)。正所谓“但泽有失,里加有得”。1610年至1690年间从但泽出发经厄勒海峡的商船数量下降了一半(Kirby 1990:230—231),相比之下,17世纪第一个10年间在里加港口停靠的商船只有96艘,而到了17世纪50年代,商船数达到了263艘,其中近85%的商船挂的是荷兰的国旗(Zoutis 1960:82)。此时的里加可谓是一个大港口,超过了斯德哥尔摩,因为从这里可以直接深入芬拉河的广大内陆地区(Stoye 1969:151)。③

城乡关系在此是一个关键因素。城乡关系造成了一种新式的更具爆炸性的“代谢断层”(metabolic rift),即城市榨取农村生态财富的一种不可持续的模式(Moore,2000a)。这一代谢断层在资本主义世界生态中的具体表现就是竭力拓展主要城市的腹地,以将上述前沿运动整合纳入到全世界范围的资本积累之中。

(波罗的海的木材贸易)不只影响到但泽、里加、郎桑德( Longsound)及其他木材港口。它进一步深入到波希米亚、加利西亚( Galicia)和乌克兰,为身居内陆方圆数百英里地区的人们带来就业的机会……[由于过度砍伐]原有的供给点不再能够保障供给,所以有必要进一步地深入远离河道的内陆林区。目的就是要获取合适的木材。这自然会驱动木材的价格上涨……河道甚至会因此变浅。(Albion1926,143,145,后一部分粗体字为本文作者所加,以示强调)

供造船用的木材前沿不遗余力地圈占木材供给的地盘。甚至到了18世纪末,供造船用的木材也只占欧洲人木材消费的1%(Warde 2006:40—41)。以此相比,造船业对木材的需求是不成比例的,因为造船用的木材非常挑剔,多选用生长速度很慢的树种,如橡树。“造船厂需要特大的树木——主要是橡树——做木材,所以最怕稀缺。这部分是因为弯曲的‘做罗盘用的木材’一般不是很容易搞到”(Warde 2006:40—41)。大量的可供造船用的木材更是求之不得。高昂的运费限制了木材的运输,哪怕只是几英里远都不是很容易,何况冬季运输路途还要更长一些(Albion 1926:145;Moore,2007)。


荷兰商人要波罗的海农民先提纯焦油然后再出口……农民们于是先把树的根部烧灼,这样树就死了,在以后几年的时间里,树液就会慢慢流到树干的下端,农民再把树放倒,为树干加热……取得里面的树液。砍伐森林是焦油贸易的一个必然组成部分,荷兰商人鼓励波罗的海农民从传统的森林经济转向依靠种植小麦和亚麻的农业出口经济,[提炼焦油只是其过程中的一步]……普鲁士大部、瑞典南部,然后是芬兰的大片森林就这样被砍伐、改造,造成一种仰赖廉价焦油、小麦和亚麻子油的经济繁荣,并在17世纪达到高潮。荷兰商人出具的公式是先砍伐,后提纯焦油,于是他们便能够出售廉价焦油,而这种廉价远不是焦油贸易可持续发展的模式所要求的。(Loewen 2005:239—240,粗体字为本文作者所加,以示强调)

除了木材,荷兰人还争夺草碱。草碱生产可不只商业资本主义贱买贵卖逻辑的一个简单表现,草碱的利润极大,因为它是荷兰资本主义高附加值战略的一个核心组成部分:“纺织业最大的利润空间在哪里?不在纺线、织布或养羊剪羊毛,而在染色和加工布匹的精湛技术,这才是控制市场的关键”(Wilson 1968:31)。

如同造船用的木材一样,草碱也有赖于橡木(oak stands)而且利润更高。约在1650年,“一装货港的中间商”有40%—90%的利润来自草碱贸易,只有16%的利润来自隔板销售,而且后者是最重要的……一种类型的木材”:

分包商和地主根本不关心森林的未来前景。他们砍伐了大量的硬木林,如橡树和山毛榉,因为后者是制造草碱最好的原料。森林砍光了,分包商就与另一个拥有适当木材的地主签下合同。这种做法对橡树而言是灾难性的,因为橡树要生长好几十年才能做壁板用……短视的乱砍滥伐行为,再加上上述多种内外部因素,给但泽地区的木业贸易造成了毁灭性的影响。(Tossavainen 1994:73—74)

但泽地区的森林遭受重创,表现在1625年以后经由厄勒海峡的但泽草碱出口终一蹶不振。1600年至1625年间,这里的草碱出口量增长了20倍(达到每年1.1万磅),到了17世纪30年代的高潮期甚至达到每年2万磅(ship pounds),但却从此一落千丈,以至一个世纪以后这里的产量才达到每年3900磅(Noah 1996,Ⅱ:11—13)。接下来的是瑞典,但瑞典的全球化草碱前沿终不过半个多世纪(约1675—1725年),随后被圣彼得堡取代(North 1996,Ⅱ:12—13)。

三 波罗的海的粮食、廉价食品与荷兰的资本主义

在大17世纪,波兰是一个幅员辽阔的单一作物种植区,或更准确地说,是一个以粮食为主的单一种植的集合体。粮食和木材,这两个前沿,“毁掉了维斯瓦河流域甚至中南部波兰”(Richards 1990:169)。16世纪后期,这里的“过度开发”(exhaustive cultivation)运动已经步入高潮( Szcygielski,1967:97)。至此,谷物出口占到了波兰出口总量的70%;到了17世纪初,这一数字又攀升到80%(Bogucka 1978:14)。难怪格拉曼( Glamann,1974:459)要说16世纪波兰的“农业在西方大量需求的压力下经历了畸形的发展!”导致这种畸形发展的是商品前沿。鉴于早期遭受盘剥的地带日渐枯竭,新的前沿就必须来填补空缺。这种发展模式也许并不新颖,但现在的周转期大大缩短了,是几十年,而不是过去的几个世纪。17世纪初,“即使远离维斯瓦河和但泽五六百公里的地区”都在忙着出口粮食和木材(Mazak 1970:125)。

波兰一跃成为幅员辽阔的农产品出口区导致了相同面积的大规模森林砍伐。波罗的海向北部荷兰大规模的粮食出口与波罗的海地区大规模毁林造田几乎同时发生,都是在1550年之后。威廉斯和理查兹认为,近代早期期间,这一地区毁林造田的总面积达50万—70万公顷,就是为了满足西北欧及地中海地区的粮食供应(Richards 1990:169,177;Williams 2003:176)。这其中有关波兰的数字还不是很清楚,但绝对不会少于2/3。

通向现代世界的资本主义道路是廉价的食品铺就的(Moore,2010c,2011d)。食品廉价一方面是农业生产力水平的提高所致,而另一方面则是全球范围农田的扩展。城乡的地理分布至关重要。北部荷兰的快速城市化——16世纪这里的城镇人口增长了几乎两倍——与波兰的快速农业化是同时发生的,两场运动紧密相关。17世纪波兰的城镇人口下降了1/3,而此期间的总人口增加了20%。在欧洲主要国家中,只有西班牙经历了城镇人口下降,但比例也不过5%(据Allen 2000:8—9的数据计算而来)。城乡这种重叠演变的生态过程常被学者忽视或仅是轻描淡写。首先,由于农业的生产力水平较低,城镇人口减少、农村人口增加就意味着有更多的余粮可以出口。假设其他的条件不变,那么波兰城市的人口少了,荷兰城市的人口就可以多一些。此外,1650年以后波兰农民的饮食进一步恶化,因此荷兰人能够获取的余粮又多了一些,而这就意味着波兰的人口素质进一步下降(Topolski,1962)。其次,城市消费林产品的速度非常惊人,建筑需要木材,生产需要木炭。城乡关系在改变剩余食品分配比例的同时也决定了剩余能量和木材的比例。波兰人享用的能量和木材少了,荷兰人能够享用的也就多了。这是解开维罗比茨“悖论”(Wyrobisz’s paradox)的关键之一,由此可见早期近代的波兰是欧洲具有战略意义的木材和林产品出口国,“而与此同时……自身的工业发展却缺少原材料”(Wyrobisz 1985:38)。

16世纪50年代之后,波罗的海的粮食出口急剧增长,贸易额高达半个世纪前的四倍(Malowist 1959;van Tielhof 2002:43)。在1550年至1650年这一百年的时间里,共有11.3万艘货船搭载650万吨粮食驶过丹麦的厄勒海峡(Wilson 1976:20),其中约有一半是从波兰出发的,而这其中有60%是荷兰的平底船,直到17世纪中叶(Glamann 1974:461;Bogucka1978:14)。

如同巴西的甘蔗种植园一样,波兰的庄园种植很快就破坏了土壤,因此被迫毁林造田,大片的森林也因之被砍伐。被砍伐森林所占的比例根本没有确切的数字统计。将毁林的责任归咎于农民还是庄园主已经不甚重要,重要的是厘清二者之间关系的变化格局。有一种说法(Parker,1979:326)称东方有“封建资本主义”(feudal capitalism),西方有“资产资本主义”(bourgeois capitalism),所以出现了划时代意义的转变,如此大规模的森林才会在短时间内消失。还有一种有关不平衡发展的说法将多种资本主义经济与农民经济对立起来。总之,我们在这里探讨的问题有多个层面。库拉(Kula,1976:114)认为在大波兰地区1550年至1750年间毁掉的森林就达3310平方公里,主要是围绕西部的波兹南(Pozna)地区。理查兹(1990)估计仅在维斯瓦河流域就有50万公顷。实际的数字有没有可能比这更多呢?我们知道,17世纪30年代,仅草碱出口一项每年就要消耗350万立方米的木材(North 1996,Ⅱ:9)。假定森林出产率很高且提取木材非常高效,比如每公顷森林出产200立方米的木材,这就意味着仅在10年内草碱出口要消耗掉17.5万公顷森林,比理查兹估算的1550年之后两个世纪消耗的森林的1/3还要强。④这是人类历史上从未有过的砍伐速度,与此堪比的只有同期(1550—1750年)巴西东北部甘蔗种植园区的毁林速度(Dean 1995;Moore 2007:ch.6)。

维斯瓦河流域的粮仓每年要输出多少粮食?理查兹估计16世纪年均从厄勒海峡通过的谷物运输应在6万吨。这里的具体断代非常重要。布罗代尔(1953)所谓的“第二个”16世纪(约1557—1648年)可能更具参考价值。马洛维斯特(1958)称15世纪末每年有1万拉斯特——1拉斯特大致相当于2吨——的粮食从波罗的海出口西欧,到了16世纪40年代,更猛增到每年4万拉斯特。16世纪90年代的年均发货量增至10万吨,后在1618年又增至12万吨(van Tielhof2002:43)。

森林的命运和土壤的命运是辩证地联系在一起的。也许波兰16世纪的粮食高产——也就是比欧洲的均值高一点点——是毁林造田的产物。如果是这样的话,那么就很好解释为何随后会出现产量的下降,其实在17世纪初粮食跌价之前这一趋势已经很明显。毁林造田和产量下降也有一定的关联。保障粮食有剩余主要有两种策略,虽然其间已经出现土壤枯竭的趋势。第一,“通过翻耕土地时偏离轮作的基本原理”(Szcygielski 1967:97,94);第二种策略是第一种策略的结果所致,即放弃枯竭的土地,重新毁林造田。土壤枯竭和毁林造田实为同一枚硬币的两面。


波兰的粮食出口在1600年至1625年间达到了顶峰,而在1655年波兰—瑞典战争爆发的前夜就已经下跌1/4(Parker 1979:39)。16世纪的波兰出现了持续的人口增长,这也就意味着农民经济的不断扩张(McEvedy and Jones 1978:73—77),可谓波兰毁林造田的原因之一。1540年至17世纪初这一期间波兰粮食出口呈三倍增长的扩张趋势是毁林造田的另外一个相关但相对独立的原因。

封建领主竭力采纳“征用农民田产”(Blum 1957:829)的政策与毁林造田的行动在第二个16世纪经常密不可分地结合在一起。16世纪后期的波兰,如同中世纪的欧洲一样,依然是一片待开垦的开阔地。在这半个世纪的时间里,“似乎还有足够的……处女地可以满足封建领主扩张领土的野心,所以农民的田产很少被吞并”(Blum 1957:829);不过1600年以后,封建领主开始越来越多地向农民开刀,结果“越来越多的农民失去土地并沦为佃农,或原有的田产大打折扣”(Blum 1957:829)。粮食产量的维持愈来愈仰赖毁林造田和领主圈地这样一种混合的经营模式,土地和劳动力的相对枯竭和领主敲骨吸髓的剥削紧密地联系在一起。在此期间,“贵族们纷纷削减农民的田产”以扩大自身的庄园种植。但这是封建领主唯一采取的一次攻势,而且是伴随上述资本“向东方”的扩张而发动的(Malowist 1959:186)。

但东向前沿的扩张却只能推进到此地,因为波兰的粮食产区在17世纪中叶遭受了一次深刻的农业生态危机。范·蒂尔霍夫(Van Tielhof,2002:54)认为这是17世纪60年代以来土壤枯竭所致,而西格尔斯基( Szcygielski,1967:86)则主张危机的起因在农业生产力的“灾难性”下滑。可以大致确定的是粮食产量几十年来一直在稳步下滑,学术界普遍认为(Topolski 1962;DuPlessis 1997:82)粮食产出的穗粒比从16世纪中叶的5:1下降到17世纪后期的3:1(或更低)。更为糟糕的是,自17世纪起,大规模的毁林造田导致了严重的水土流失问题。这一点之所以非常重要,是因为水土流失意味着土壤中的养分大量的丧失。此外还有小冰期带来的严寒和冬季降水过多的问题(Wyrobisz 1985:38;Dunin-Wasowiczowa 1993:178;Klimowicz and Uziak 2001)。

这场危机是波兰农业的市场导向造成的吗?抑或是庄园领主农业经济自身内部的惰性死灰复燃所导致的吗?17世纪对整个欧洲而言都是一个“严峻的农业萧条”的时代(Abel 1980:182)。从某种意义上说,这场萧条是大14世纪危机的重演(Seccombe,1992;Moore,2003a)。不过有一点重要的差别。凡农村经济相对较强的地区,比如斯堪的纳维亚,农业危机的影响都不甚显著;凡农村经济受制于世界市场或依赖市场的庄园主阶层,危机的影响则相当严重。但泽的粮食出口自16世纪末算起至18世纪初整整下跌了90%。所以说正是波兰商品前沿的力度而不是虚脱驱动了这场危机的爆发。

到17世纪末,英国取代了波兰成为欧洲的粮仓。1700年至1760年间,从英国运出去的“[粮食]比波罗的海所有周边地区加起来的还要多”(de Vries 1976:81)。当然,英国是一个不同寻常的前沿。毫无疑问,英国在农业上的成功部分取决于大17世纪在农村强制推行的资产阶级的产权关系(Brenner,1977)。不过,英国的农业革命却不完全是新产权关系促成的,此外还有来自改良土壤的纵向前沿的影响。这场农业革命是遵循商品前沿的基本生态逻辑展开的,那就是“打了就跑”。就英国农业革命的具体情况看,是“为了短期利益动用永久牧场的氮储备”(Overton,1996:117)。英国的粮食出口在1760年之后很快锐减,恰恰是因为这种短期的暴利根本无法持续;农业生产此时呈停滞的状态(Allen 2004:409)。在跨海的另一端,但泽的出口优势地位在18世纪被东波罗的海的前沿生产商所取代。后一商品前沿重复着前一阶段粮食前沿毁林造田的故事,所以在爱沙尼亚和波罗的海俄罗斯沿岸多个地方18世纪末都出现了大片森林被毁的现象(French,1983)。


四 欧洲与崛起中的资本主义世界生态的商品前沿




非常感谢下述人员参与有关本文议题的讨论并提出宝贵意见:Diana C.Gildea,Richard A.Walker,Henry Bernstein,Dale Tomieh,Carole Crumley,Jessiea C.Marx,Jeff Sommers,Ulf Jonsson及Richard Lee。



②假定自然增长率是每公顷1.5立方米,且保守地估计运输和锯木过程中的损耗在50%左右(Moore 2007:chs 2,4)。




Abel, W. 1980. Agricultural fluctuations in Europe. New York: St Martin’s Press.

Albion, R.G. 1926. Forests and sea power. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Allen, R.C. 2000. Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300-1800. European Review of Economic History 3: 1–25.

Allen, R.C. 2004. Progress and poverty in early modern Europe. Economic History Review 56(3): 403–44.

Appuhn, Karl R. 2009.  A forest on the sea. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Arrighi, Giovanni. 1994. The long twentieth century. London: Verso.

Aymard, Maurice, ed. 1982. Dutch capitalism and world capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Åström, Sven-Erik. 1975. Technology and timber exports from the Gulf of Finland, 1661–1740. Scandinavian Economic History Review 23(1): 1–14.

Bamford, P.W. 1956. Forests and French sea power. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Barbour, Violet. 1930. Dutch and English merchant shipping in the seventeenth century. Economic History Review 2(2): 261–90.

Barbour, Violet. 1950. Capitalism in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Blum, Jerome. 1957. Rise of serfdom in eastern Europe. American Historical Review 62(4): 807-36.

van Bochove, C. 2008. The ‘golden mountain’: An economic analysis of Holland’s early modern herring fisheries. In Beyond the Catch, eds. L. Sicking and D. Abreu-Ferreira, 209–43. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Bogucka, Maria. 1978. North European commerce as a solution to resource shortage in the sixteenth–eighteenth centuries. In Natural resources in European history, eds. W.N. Parker and A. Maçzak, 9–42. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.

Boxer, Charles R. 1965. The Dutch seaborne empire, 1600-1800. London: Hutchison.

Braudel, Fernand. 1953. Qu’est-ce que le XVIe siècle? Annales E.S.C. 8(1): 69–73.

Braudel, Fernand. 1984. The perspective of the world. New York: Harper and Row.

Brenner, Robert. 1977. The origins of capitalism. New Left Review 104: 25-92.

Brown, J.C. 1884. Introduction to the study of the modern forest economy. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.

Cederlund, C.O. 1985. Shipbuilding in the 17th and 18th centuries. In The North Sea, eds. A. Bang-Anderson, B. Greenhill and E.H. Grude, 167–79. Oslo: Norwegian University Press.

Chaunu, P. 1960. Discussion. In Le navire et l’economie du nord de l’Europe du Moyen-Age au XVIIIe siècle, ed. M. Mollat, 41–3. Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N.

Davis, Ralph. 1973. The rise of the Atlantic economies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Dean, Warren. 1995. With broad ax and firebrand. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Derry, T.K., 1979. A history of Scandinavia. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Dunin-Wasowiczowa, A. 1993. Spatial changes in poland under the impact of the economic dynamics of the 16th and 17th centuries. In The early modern world-system in geographical perspective, ed. H.-J. Nitz, 172–90. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

DuPlessis, R.S., 1997. Transitions to capitalism in early modern europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fraiture, P. 2009. Contribution of dendrochronology to understanding of wood procurement sources for panel paintings in the former Southern Netherlands from 1450 AD to 1650 AD. Dendrochronologia 27(2): 95–111.

French, R.A. 1983. Russians and the forest. In Studies in Russian historical geography, Vol. I, eds. J.H. Bater and R.A. French, 23-44. New York: Academic Press.

Glamann, K. 1974. European trade 1500–1700. In The Fontana Economic History of Europe II, ed. C.M. Cipolla, 427–576. London: Fontana.

Hoppenbrouwers, P. and J.L. van Zanden, eds. 2001. Peasants into farmers? Turnhout: Brepols.

Israel, J.I., 1989. Dutch primacy in world trade, 1585–1740. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Kiaer, A.N. 1893. Historical sketch of the development of Scandinavian shipping. Journal of Political Economy 1(3): 329–64.

Kirby, D.G. 1990. Northern Europe in the early modern period. London: Longman.

Klimowicz, Z., and S. Uziak, 2001. The influence of long-term cultivation on soil properties and patterns in an undulating terrain in Poland (Lublin). Catena 43: 177–89.

Kotilaine, J.T., 2003. Competing claims: Russian foreign trade via Archangel’sk and the eastern Baltic ports in the 17th century. Kritika 4(2): 279–312.

Kula, Witold. 1976. An economic theory of the feudal system. London: New Left Books.

Layton, Ian. 1993. The timber and naval stores supply regions of northern Europe during the early modern world-system. In The early modern world-system in geographical perspective, ed. H.-J. Nitz, 265–95. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Lillehammer, A. 1986. The Scottish–Norwegian timber trade in the Stavanger area in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Scotland and Europe 1200–1850, ed. T.C. Smout, 97–111. Edinburgh: John Donald.

Loewen, Brad. 2005. Resinous paying materials in the French Atlantic, AD 1500–1800. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 34(2): 238–52.

Maçzak, A. 1970. The balance of Polish sea trade with the West, 1565–1646. Scandinavian Economic History Review 18(2): 107–25.

de Maddalena, A. 1974. Rural Europe 1500–1700. In The Fontana economic history of Europe II, ed. C.M. Cipolla, 273–353. London: Fontana.

Malowist, Marian. 1958. Poland, Russia, and the Western trade in the 15th and 16th centuries. Past & Present 13: 26–39.

Malowist, Marian. 1959. The economic and social development of the Baltic countries from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Economic History Review 12(2): 177–89.

Malowist, Marian. 1960. L’approvisionnement des ports de la Baltique en produits forestiers pour les constructions navale aux XVe et XVIe siècles. In Le navire et l’economie du nord de l’Europe du Moyen-Age au XVIIIe siècle, ed. M. Mollat, 25–43. Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N.

Marx, Karl. 1967. Capital. Vol. III. New York: International Publishers.

Marx, Karl. 1976. Capital, vol. I. New York: Vintage.

McEvedy, C. and R. Jones. 1978. Atlas of world population history. New York: Penguin.

McNeill, J.R. 2004. Woods and warfare in world history. Environmental History 9(3): 388-410.

Moore, Jason W. 2000a. Environmental crises and the metabolic rift in world-historical perspective. Organization & Environment 13(2): 123-158.

Moore, Jason W. 2000b. Sugar and the expansion of the early modern world-economy. Review 23(3): 409-433.

Moore, Jason W. 2003a. Nature and the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Review 26(2): 97-172.

Moore, Jason W. 2003b. The Modern World-System as environmental history? Ecology and the rise of capitalism. Theory & Society 32(3): 307-377.

Moore, Jason W. 2003c. Capitalism as world-ecology: Braudel and Marx on environmental history. Organization & Environment 16(4): 431-458.

Moore, Jason W. 2007. Ecology and the rise of capitalism. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. [Consulted 1 May, 2010 at:]

Moore, Jason W. 2009. Madeira, Sugar, & the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century, Part I: From ‘Island of Timber’ to Sugar Revolution, 1420-1506. Review, 32(4), 345-390.

Moore, Jason W. 2010a. ‘Amsterdam is standing on Norway’, Part I: The alchemy of capital, empire, and nature in the diaspora of silver, 1545-1648. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(1): 35-71.

Moore, Jason W. 2010b. ‘Amsterdam is standing on Norway’, Part II: The global North Atlantic in the ecological revolution of the seventeenth century. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2): 188-227.

Moore, Jason W. 2010c. The end of the road? Agricultural revolutions in the capitalist world-ecology, 1450-2010. Journal of Agrarian Change 10(3): 389-413.

Moore, Jason W. 2010d (in press). Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century, Part II: From Regional Crisis to Commodity Frontier, 1506-1530. Review, 33(1).

Moore, Jason W. 2010. “‘This lofty mountain of silver could conquer the whole world’: Potosi in the world-ecological revolution of the long seventeenth century,” Journal of Philosophical Economics 4(1), 58-103.

Moore, Jason W. 2011a. “Ecology, Capital, and the Nature of Our Times:  Accumulation & Crisis in the Capitalist World-Ecology,” Journal of World-Systems Analysis 17(1), 108-147.

Moore, Jason W. 2011b. “Transcending the Metabolic Rift: A Theory of Crises in the Capitalist World-Ecology,” The Journal of Peasant Studies 38(1), 1-46.

Moore, Jason W. 2011c. “Wall Street is a Way of Organizing Nature: Interview,” Upping the Anti 12, 47-61.

Moore, Jason W. 2011d. “Cheap Food & Bad Money: Food, Frontiers, and Financialization in the Rise and Demise of Neoliberalism,” unpublished manuscript,, accessed 1 June 2011.

North, Michael. 1996. From the North Sea to the Baltic. Aldershot: Variorum.

Overton, Mark. 1996. Agricultural Revolution in England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Øyen, B-H., H.H. Blom, I. Gjerde, T. Myking, M. Sætersdal, and K.H. Thunes. 2006. Ecology, history and silviculture of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in western Norway. Forestry 79(3): 319-29.

Özveren, Y. Eyüp (2000). “Shipbuilding, 1590-1790,” Review, XXIII, 1, 15-86.

Parker, Geoffrey. 1979. Europe in crisis, 1598–1648. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Polanyi, Karl. 1957. The great transformation. Boston: Beacon Press.

Raleigh, Walter. 1653. Observations, touching trade & commerce with the Hollander, and other nations. London: printed by T.H.

Richards, J.F. 1990. Land transformation. In The earth as transformed by human action, eds. B.L. Turner II, W.C. Clark, R.W. Kates, J.F. Richards, J.T. Mathews and W.B. Meyer, 163-78. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J.F. 2003. The unending frontier. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Seccombe, Wally. 1992. A millennium of family change. London: Verso.

Sella, Domenico. 1974. European industries 1500-1700. In The Fontana Economic History of Europe II, ed. Carlo M. Cipolla, 354-426. New York: Fontana Books.

Sevetdal, H., and S. Grimstad. 2003. Norwegian commons: History, status and challenges. Paper presented at the First International Workshop on Co-Governance, 7 October, at the University of Western Cape, South Africa.

Sicking, L., H. de Bles and E. des Bouvrie, eds., 2004. Dutch light in the ‘Norwegian night’. Hilversum: Uitgeverij Verloren.

Sipkens, H. 1996. The Netherlands. Geneva Timber and Forest Study Papers 10: 35-41. Geneva: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Smout, T.C., A.R. MacDonald, and F. Watson. 2005. A history of the native woodlands of Scotland, 1500–1920. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Stoye, J., 1969. Europe unfolding, 1648–1688. London: Fontana.

Szcygielski, Wojciech. 1967. Die okonomische aktivitat des Polnischen adels im 16–18. jahrhundert. Studia Historiae Oeconomicae 2: 83–101.

Sögner, S. 2004. Norwegian–Dutch migrant relations in the seventeenth century. In Dutch light in the ‘Norwegian night’, eds. L. Sicking, H. de Bles and E. des Bouvrie, 43–56. Hilversum: Uitgeverij Verloren.

van Tielhof, Maria, 2002. The mother of alltrades: The Baltic grain trade in Amsterdam from the late 16th to the early 19th century. London: E.J. Brill.

Topolski, Jerzy. 1962. La regression economique en Pologne du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle’. Acta Polonaie Historica 7: 28–49.

Tossavainen, J., 1994. Dutch forest products trade in the Baltic from the late Middle Ages until the Peace of Munster in 1648. M.A. thesis, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Unger, R.W. 1992. The tonnage of Europe’s merchant fleets 1300–1800. The American Neptune 52(4): 247–61.

Unger, R.W. 1997. Ships and shipping in the North Sea and Atlantic, 1400–1800. Brookfield: Ashgate-Variorum.

Unger, W.S. 1959. Trade through the Sound in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Economic History Review 12(2): 206–21.

de Vries, Jan. 1976. The economy of Europe in an age of crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

de Vries, Jan, and Ad van der Woude. 1997. The first modern economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The modern world-system I. New York: Academic Press.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1980. The modern world-system II. New York: Academic Press.

Warde, Paul. 2006. Fear of wood shortages and the reality of the woodlands in Europe, c. 1450–1850. History Workshop Journal 62: 29–57.

Webb, W.P. 1964. The great frontier. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Westermann, E. 1996. Central European forestry and mining industries in the early modern period. In L’Uomo e la foresta: Secc. XIII-XVIII, ed. S. Cavaiocchi, 927-953.Firenze: Le Monnier.

Williams, Michael. 2003. Deforesting the Earth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wilson, C.H. 1968. The Dutch Republic and the civilisation of the seventeenth century. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wilson, C.H. 1973. Transport as a factor in the history of European economic development. Journal of European Economic History 2(2): 320–37.

Wilson, C.H. 1976. The transformation of Europe, 1558–1648. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wyrobisz, A. 1985. Economic landscapes: Poland from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. In East-Central Europe in transition, eds. A. Maçzak, H. Samsonowicz and P. Burke, 36–46. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

van Zanden, J.L. 1993. The rise and decline of Holland’s economy. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Zoutis, M.J., 1960. Riga dans le commerce maritime en Baltic au XVIIe siècle. In Le navire et l’economie du nord de l’Europe du Moyen-Age au XVIIIe siècle, ed. M. Mollat, 81–8. Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N.

Джейсон W Мур. Осмыслить планетарный ад

Джейсон W Мур. Осмыслить планетарный ад

Максим Шер18:41, 25 мая 2020🔥Добавить в закладкиДобавить в коллекцию

Иллюстрация из презентации Джейсона Мура к публичной лекции «Осмыслить планетарный ад», Москва, июнь 2019, МСИ Гараж © МС
Иллюстрация из презентации Джейсона Мура к публичной лекции «Осмыслить планетарный ад», Москва, июнь 2019, МСИ Гараж © МСИ Гараж.

Кто виноват в климатическом кризисе? Для всех, кто не отрицает изменения климата, ответ на этот вопрос прост: человек. Кто в здравом уме будет спорить с тем, что изменения климата — антропогенны, то есть вызваны деятельностью человека? Мы живем в эпоху антропоцена, то есть в эпоху человека как геологической силы, так?

Мой ответ: и да, и нет. Предположу, что слова «виноват человек» проясняют смысл настолько же, насколько и затеняют его. Между фразой «виноват человек» и фразой «виноваты некоторые люди» лежит политическая пропасть. Радикальные мыслители и активисты, борющиеся за справедливое решение климатических проблем, начали сомневаться в таком явно уравнительном размывании исторической ответственности за изменения климата в системе, заинтересованной в крайне неравноправном распределении богатства и власти. С этой точки зрения говорить об антропогенном изменении климата — примерно то же самое, что перекладывать ответственность с виновников на жертв эксплуатации, насилия и бедности. Есть ли другое, более точное определение? Да: мы живем в эпоху капиталогенного климатического кризиса.

Капиталогенный значит «вызванный деятельностью капитала». На слух, наверное, звучит не очень, как и родственное слово капиталоцен. Дело, однако, не в словах, а в том, что в условиях гегемонии буржуазии нас учат с подозрением относиться к любым формулировкам, прямо называющим систему. Но социально-освободительные движения всегда называют своими именами и систему, и формы подавления, и логику эксплуатации. Любое движение за справедливость вводит в обиход новые идеи и языковые формы. Способность назвать несправедливость несправедливостью направляет в нужное русло мысль и стратегию. В течение всего долгого ХХ века рабочие, антиколониальные и феминистские движения сильно недооценивали этот факт. В этом смысле мейнстримный экологизм в том виде, в котором он существует с 1968 года — «экологизм богатых» (Питер Довернь) — постиг полный провал. Идея «экологического следа» (ecological footprint) направляет наше внимание на индивидуальное рыночное потребление. Тезис об антропоцене (а до него образ Космического корабля «Земля») предполагает, что планетарный кризис стал более или менее естественным следствием человеческой природы, то есть сегодняшний климатический кризис — как бы следствие того, что человек есть человек, так же как змеи суть змеи, а зебры — зебры. Истина не столь прямолинейна, но она опознаваема и как проблема решаема: мы живем в эпоху Капиталоцена, то есть в век капитала. Мы знаем, кто виноват в климатическом кризисе — и в исторической перспективе, и сегодня. У виновных есть имена и адреса: начать можно с восьми богатейших мужчин мира, у которых богатств больше, чем у самых бедных 3,6 миллиарда человек.

Что такое капиталоцен? Для начала скажу, чем он не является. Капиталоцен — не геологическое понятие и не аргумент впользу того, что некая экономическая система вызвала планетарный кризис, хотя экономика играет здесь ключевую роль. Капиталоцен — это способ понять капитализм как географически связанную и исторически структурированную систему. С этой точки зрения капиталоцен есть геопоэтика для осмысления капитализма как мир-экологии власти и вос/производства в ткани жизни (capitalism as a world-ecology of power and re/production in the web of life).

Сейчас мы рассмотрим капиталоцен подробнее, но сначала давайте разберемся с антропоценом, коих существует два. Первый — геологический. Геологический антропоцен — забота геологов и ученых, занимающихся системными исследованиями Земли. Их основная тема — «золотые гвозди»: ключевые метки геологических эпох в стратиграфических слоях. Для антропоцена такими «метками» обычно считают пластик, куриные кости и ядерные отходы: таков вклад капитализма в геологическую историю Земли! Точкой отсчета геологического антропоцена биогеографы Саймон Льюис и Марк Мазлин убедительно предлагают считать 1610 год. В период с 1492 по 1610 годы, завершение которого отмечено «мировым гвоздем» (Orbis Spike, от лат. Orbis — «мир» и англ. Spike — «гвоздь»; прим. пер.), мир увидел не только вторжение Колумба в Америку. Последовавший за ним геноцид ее коренного населения привел квосстановлению лесов и быстрому снижению уровня углекислого газа в атмосфере к 1550 году. В итоге на этот период пришлись самые холодные десятилетия Малого Ледникового периода (ок. 1300-1850 гг.). Геологический антропоцен, таким образом, есть умышленная абстракция исторических отношений для прояснения биогеографических отношений человека как вида и биосферы, и это совершенно резонно, ведь тезис о капиталоцене не касается спора о геологической истории.

Он касается спора о геоистории. Последняя предполагает, что биогеологические изменения принципиальны для истории власти и производства. Здесь капиталоцен сталкивается со вторым антропоценом — популярным, охватывающим гораздо более широкую дискуссию в гуманитарных и социальных науках. Это дискуссия об историческом развитии и современных реалиях планетарного кризиса. Четкого водораздела между ними нет и многие ученые, занимающиеся системными исследованиями Земли, с удовольствием переходят от геологического антропоцена к популярному и обратно.

Для популярного антропоцена главная проблема — Человек и Природа (Man and Nature), причем она содержит явный гендерный перекос: Кейт Раворт справедливо съязвила, что мы живем в эпоху Мантропоцена. Как модель планетарного кризиса этот антропоцен сложно назвать чем-то новым. Она — эта модель — перевоплотилась из космологии Человечества и Природы и частью уходит корнями в 1492 год, частью восходит к Томасу Мальтусу (XVIII век). Согласно этому нарративу, Человечество причиняет колоссальный вред Природе, а стоит за этим, как обычно, призрак перенаселения — идея, последовательно оправдывавшая угнетение женщин и цветных народов (people of color).

Вы, наверное, заметили, что я выделил большими буквами слова Человечество и Природа. Все потому, что это не просто слова, а абстракции. Правда империи, государства модерна и капиталисты считали их реальными, чтобы удешевить человеческие и нечеловеческие «природные ресурсы» (natures) любого рода. Исторически сложилось так, что бóльшая часть человеческих существ оказалась практически исключена из состава Человечества. В истории капитализма, среди антропосов нашлось очень мало места для тех, кто не относился к категории белых мужчин-буржуа. Начиная с 1492 года сверхбогатые и их союзники-империалисты последовательно исключили цветные коренные народы и практически всех женщин из состава Человечества, отнеся их к категории Природы, чтобы превратить в источник прибылей. Дело в том, что космология Человека и Природы в популярном антропоцене — это не просто дефектный способ анализа: она непосредственно причастна к исторически сложившимся практикам доминирования. Отказ сторонников популярного антропоцена называть климатические изменения капиталогенными означает их неспособность видеть проблему не в Человеке и Природе, а в конкретных людях, заинтересованных в прибыльном доминировании и уничтожении большинства людей, а также всей остальной природы.

Поэтому утверждения проводников популярного антропоцена о вине всех людей просто не соответствуют действительности. Доля Америки и Западной Европы в объеме выбросов углекислого газа за период с 1850 по 2012 годы в три раза выше показателей Китая. Но даже этого мало. Такие национальные показатели сродни индивидуализации ответственности за климатический кризис. Они не учитывают центральную роль американского и западно-европейского капитала в глобальной индустриализации после 1945 года. Например, начиная с 1990-х годов китайские вредные выбросы всецело служили интересам европейского и американского экспортных рынков. Их десятилетиями подпитывали и оправдывали масштабные иностранные инвестиции. Глобальная система власти и капитала постоянно жаждет заполучить новые дешевые «природные ресурсы» (Cheap Natures). В результате, начиная с 1970-х гг. мы стали свидетелями резкого увеличения классового расслоения. Взять те же США — всемирно-исторического лидера по карбонизации атмосферы. Возложить равную ответственность за глобальное потепление на всех американцев — значит распылить ее. США с самого начала были республикой апартеида, в основу которой были положены геноцид, грабеж и рабство. Да, за американскую долю выбросов в атмосферу отвечают американцы, но конкретные: собственники капитала, плантаций и рабов (а также сегодняшних частных тюрем), заводов и банков.

Поэтому тезис о капиталоцене отвергает антропоцентрическую уравниловку в духе лозунга «Мы видели врага: враг — это мы» (We have met the enemy and he is us) с культового плаката Уолта Келли, выпущенного им в 1970 году ко Дню Земли), и вместе с ней — экономический редукционизм. Конечно, капитализм есть система бесконечного накопления капитала. Но согласно тезису о капиталоцене, чтобы понять сегодняшний планетарный кризис, необходимо смотреть на капитализм как на мир-экологию власти, производства и воспроизводства. С этой точки зрения «социальные» аспекты современного классового господства, белого шовинизма и патриархата тесно связаны с экологическими проектами, направленными на бесконечное накопление капитала. Великое изобретение капитализма с момента его зарождения после 1492 года — практика присвоения Природы. Природа — не просто идея, но территориальная и культурная реальность, которая тюрьмой и полицейской дубинкой поставила под контроль женщин, колонизованные народы и внечеловеческую ткань жизни. Поскольку ткань жизни сопротивляется стандартизации, акселерации и гомогенизации, направленным на извлечение максимальной прибыли, капитализм никогда не был узко экономическим явлением. Капиталогенное разорение человеческих и внечеловеческих «природных ресурсов» (natures), происходившее при каждом удобном случае, — следствие культурного доминирования и применения политической силы.

Почему именно 1492 год, а не 1850-й или 1945-й? На знаменитых графиках-«хоккейных клюшках» именно с этими временными точками, особенно с последней, соотносятся важнейшие переломные моменты, связанные с увеличением содержания углекислого газа в атмосфере и другими сдвигами. Но это визуализация последствий, а не причин планетарного кризиса. Тезис о капиталоцене предполагает анализ, связывающий эти последствия с долгой историей классового господства, расизма и сексизма, которые в современном смысле этих терминов формируются начиная с 1492 года.

К XVI веку произошел перелом в подходах ученых, капиталистов и имперских стратегов к пониманию планетарной реальности. В средневековой Европе люди и вся остальная природа понимались иерархически в виде так называемой Великой цепи бытия. Однако строгого разделения между человеческими отношениями и остальной природой не было. Слова nature («природа»), civilization («цивилизация»), savagery («дикость») и society («общество») в английском языке приобрели свои современные значения только между 1550 и 1650 годами. И это не случайное совпадение: в Англии то была эпоха капиталистической революции в сельском хозяйстве, современной революции в добыче угля и вторжения в Ирландию (1541). Культурный сдвиг происходил не только в англоязычном мире: схожие процессы шли примерно в то же время и в других западноевропейских языках одновременно с переходом к капитализму в странах Атлантического бассейна. Столь радикальный разрыв со старыми — холистическими, хотя и иерархическими — способами познания реальности породили раздвоение на Цивилизацию и Дикость.

Где бы и когда бы ни высаживались с европейских кораблей солдаты, священники и купцы, они сразу сталкивались с savages — «дикарями». В Средние века английское слово savage значило «сильный», «яростный», теперь оно стало антонимом «цивилизации». Дикари населяли пространство, которое стали называть «дикой природой» (wilderness), и перед «цивилизованными» завоевателями теперь стояла задача «обратить ко Христу» (Christianize) дикарей и «благоустроить» (Improve) территорию. Дикую природу в те годы часто считали «бесхозной» (waste), и в колониях такой подход оправдывалее разорение (laying waste). Так ее саму и ее обитателей можно было задешево поставить себе на службу. Двоичный код «Цивилизация и Дикость» — базовая операционная система модерности, в основу которой положено расчеловечивание человека. Происходившее многократно, оно определило судьбу коренных народов, ирландцев, практически всех женщин, африканских рабов и колонизованных народов во всем мире. Такая капиталистическая геокультура неистово и постоянно стремится к удешевлению жизни и труда, которое с одной стороны всякий раз становится определяющим фактором для очередного великого мирового экономического бума, а с другой — творит насилие, ведет к деградации и самоистощению.

Дискурс об Обществе и Природе, таким образом, — это не просто дискурс буржуазно-колониальной революции в самом широком смысле, но и практика отчуждения, столь же фундаментальная для капиталистической гегемонии, сколь ею является современное отчуждение трудовых отношений. Дискурс об Обществе и Природе фетишизирует основополагающие отчужденные отношения насилия и доминирования при капитализме. Очевидно, принципиальное значение здесь имеет данное Марксом объяснение товарного фетишизма, в результате которого работающий начинает воспринимать плоды своего труда как чужеродную силу, тяготеющую над ним. Есть еще одна форма отчуждения, сопутствующая товарному фетишизму: это фетишизм цивилизационный, и речь не об отчуждении между «человеком и природой», а о проекте определенной группы людей — белых мужчин-буржуа, — реализованном ими во время становления капитализма с целью удешевления большинства людей и родственных нам форм жизни. Если товарным фетишизмом определяется фундаментальный антагонизм между капиталом и пролетариатом, то фетишизм цивилизационный есть всемирно-исторический антагонизм между капиталом и биотариатом (по Стивену Коллису) — живыми и мертвыми формами жизни, которые делают неоплачиваемую работу и дают энергию для существования капитализма. Цивилизационный фетишизм учит нас мыслить отношения между капитализмом и тканью жизни как отношения между объектами, а не как интернализующие и экстернализующие отношения при формировании окружающей среды. Все, что Маркс сказал о товарном фетишизме, было логически и исторически предвосхищено рядом цивилизационных фетишей, а его геокультурной опорой стала граница, проведенная между Цивилизацией и Дикостью. Наемный труд возник не при капитализме. При капитализме возник современный пролетариат, причем в рамках гораздо более дерзкого проекта, целью которого было заставить бесплатно или задешево работать на себя все «природные ресурсы» (natures) — биотариат. Подобно товарному фетишизму цивилизационный фетишизм был и остается не просто идеей, а практикой и рациональным обоснованием мирового господства. Начиная с 1492 года эта граница между Цивилизованным и Диким формирует современную жизнь и власть, производство и воспроизводство. Ее заново изобретали на каждом этапе развития капитализма, и сегодня вновь вылезшие на свет авторитарные популисты опять перелицовывают ее, милитаризуя и закрывая границы от «вредоносных» беженцев, гонимых извечной тройкой развитого капиталоцена — бесконечными войнами, расистским расчеловечиванием и климатическими кризисами.

Тысяча четыреста девяносто вторым годом отмечен не только геокультурный сдвиг, но и биогеографический переход, беспрецедентный в истории человечества. С вторжением Колумба [в Америку] началось геоисторическое воссоединение Пангеи — сверхконтинента, расколовшегося за 175 млн лет до того. Эта современная Пангея в глазах европейских банкиров, королей и вельмож служит практически бездонной кладовой дешевого труда, продовольствия, энергии и сырья. Именно здесь, в атлантической зоне современной Пангеи, возникли и капитализм, и современный планетарный кризис. За три последующих столетия тройная спираль капитализма, состоящая из империй, капитала и науки, породила величайшую и стремительнейшую трансформацию земли и труда в истории человечества. Только возникновение оседлого земледелия на заре голоцена — примерно 12 тысяч лет назад — может сравниться с экологической революцией, произошедшей на ранних этапах развития капитализма. За несколько веков до появления паровых машин Ньюкомена и Уатта европейские банкиры, плантаторы, промышленники, купцы и империалисты с невиданной скоростью и в невиданных доселе масштабах преобразовали планетарные трудовые, жизненные и земельные отношения. От Бразилии и Анд до Балтики вырубались леса, африканцам, коренным народам и славянам были навязаны системы принудительного труда, а жизненно важные грузы — дешевое продовольствие, лес и серебро — потекли в центры богатства и власти. Женщин в Европе, не говоря уже о колониях, закабалили беспощадным режимом принудительного труда, непредставимым при феодализме. Их исключили из состава Цивилизации, а жизнь и труд поставили под жесточайший контроль. Женскую работу перестали считать работой (Сильвия Федеричи) именно потому, что она проходила теперь по классу Природы.

Историю планетарного кризиса обычно рассказывают сквозь призму Промышленной революции — одной единственной. Никто не оспаривает тот факт, что волны индустриализации совпадали с основными переломными моментами в использовании ресурсов и токсификации, но индустриализация как таковая началась задолго до XIX века! Однако объяснять истоки планетарного кризиса технологическими трансформациями — значит серьезно все упрощать. Промышленная революция в Британии, например, произошла целиком за счет дешевого хлопка, неоплачиваемого труда нескольких поколений коренных народов, производивших вид хлопчатника, пригодный для машинной обработки (G. hirsutum или хлопчатник обыкновенный), геноцида и грабежа чероки и других народов американского Юга, а также благодаря изобретению хлопкового волокноотделителя, увеличившего производительность труда в пятьдесят раз, и африканцам-рабам, трудившимся на хлопковых полях. Кроме того, индустриализация Англии была бы невозможна без произошедшей веком ранее насильственной гендерно-репродуктивной революции, которая поставила способность женщин рожать детей и ухаживать за ними на службу демографическим требованиям капитала.

Эти выписки из истории капитализма означают, что сия странная система всегда зависела от фронтиров — зон освоения новых дешевых, некоммодифицированных еще «природных ресурсов» (Cheap Natures), чей труд можно присвоить бесплатно или задешево за счет насилия, культурного доминирования и рынка. Все эти фронтиры играли и играют принципиальную роль, потому что капитализм — дико расточительная, самая экстенсивная система из когда-либо созданных. Этим объясняется невероятная экстравертность капитализма. Чтобы выжить, ему пришлось «разгородить» (enclose) планету для поиска источников дешевых «природных ресурсов» (Cheap Natures) и одновременно для создания планетарной свалки отходов. Оба этих «фронтира», обеспечивающие радикальное снижение издержек и за счет этого — максимизацию прибыли, уже выработаны. С одной стороны, дешевизна рано или поздно заканчивается: рабочие и крестьяне восстают и сопротивляются, месторождения истощаются, плодородные почвы подвергаются эрозии. С другой стороны, масштабы разгораживания капитализмом планетарной атмосферы и других общественных благ для утилизации своих отходов превысили критическую отметку. Эпохальные климатические изменения стали наиболее ярким выражением этого переломного момента, когда мы видим, как глобальная токсификация все больше дестабилизирует важнейшие достижения капитализма, прежде всего, созданный им режим «дешевого продовольствия». Две эти стратегии — «дешевых природных ресурсов» (Cheap Nature) и «дешевых отходов» (Cheap Waste) — все сильнее исчерпывают себя по мере того, как география жизнестроения и фиксация прибыли входят в патологическую фазу. Как напоминает нам Наоми Кляйн, климатический кризис меняет все. Мир-экология капитализма переживает сейчас эпохальные перемены, или скорее даже схлопывание, так как «природные ресурсы» (natures) перестают быть дешевыми и начинают оказывать все более действенное сопротивление. Ткань жизни повсюду бросает вызов капиталистическим стратегиям снижения издержек и становится реальностью, повышающей эти издержки для капитала. Из–за климатических изменений, хотя и не только из–за них, абсолютно все на этой планете становится дороже для капитала и опаснее для нас.

«Дешевым природным ресурсам» (Cheap Nature) приходит конец. Это огромная проблема для капитализма, который весь построен на практике удешевления — и в смысле цен, и в смысле культурного доминирования. Первое — форма политической экономии, второе — средоточие имперской гегемонии, расизма и сексизма. Среди важнейших проблем планетарной справедливости сегодня — формирование стратегии, которая привяжет справедливость к этим двум аспектам с их полным, сквозным охватом. Вдумайтесь: самые жуткие и выраженные биофизические последствия токсификации и экономической стагнации обрушились сегодня именно на те группы населения, которые последовательно относили к Природе еще с 1492 года: на женщин, жертв неоколониализма и цветные народы.

Это тяжелая ситуация для всех жителей планеты Земля. Но надежда есть, и есть основания для нее.

Ключевой урок, который я извлек, изучая историю климата за две тысячи лет, следующий: правящие классы редко выживали после климатических сдвигов. Крушение власти Рима на Западе совпало с Малым ледниковым периодом поздней античности (ок. 400-750 гг.). Феодализм вошел в кризис примерно через столетие после начала Малого ледникового периода (примерно 1300-1850 гг.). Самые серьезные политические кризисы раннего капитализма (до середины XX века) совпадали с самыми суровыми декадами Малого ледникового периода (XVII в.). Климат сам по себе ни на что не влияет, но климатические изменения вплетены в ткань производства, воспроизводства, основуправления, культуры — словом, всего! Климатические изменения, происходящие прямо сейчас, вне всякого сомнения, будут серьезнее, чем всё, что мы видели за последние 12 тысяч лет. Устоявшиеся системы классового господства, производства и всего остального никогда не выживали после серьезных климатических сдвигов. Конец голоцена и зарю геологического антропоцена можно поэтому только приветствовать как момент величайшей политической возможности и конца капиталоцена.

Конечно, капитализм продолжает существовать. Но он уже ходячий мертвец. Сейчас необходимы радикальные перемены, которые свяжут воедино декарбонизацию, демократизацию и декоммодификацию. Они должны вывернуть наизнанку логику Нового Зеленого курса (Green New Deal, GND). Целью такого радикального видения должен стать разворот сформулированной в GND важнейшей смычки экономической справедливости, социального обеспечения и экологической устойчивости в сторону декоммодификации жилья, транспорта, социального ухода и образования, а также обеспечения климатической справедливости за счет отказа от диктата капиталистических монокультур в сельском хозяйстве.

Именно этот радикальный призыв лежит в основе дебатов о мир-экологии. Их характеризует фундаментальная открытость к переосмыслению старых моделей мышления, в особенности, хотя и не только [дихотомии] «Общество и Природа». Они зовут к новому диалогу гуманитариев, художников, активистов и ученых-естественников, в рамках которого капитализм рассматривался бы как экология власти, производстваи воспроизводства в ткани жизни. Участники этих дебатов настаивают: не может быть трудовой политики без учета интересов природы, не может быть природной политики без учета интересов труда; климатическая справедливость есть репродуктивная справедливость. Они бросают вызов климатическому апартеиду с помощью идей климатического аболиционизма.

Капиталоцен, таким образом, — это не очередная издевка над антропоценом. Это приглашение к дебатам о том, как нам аналитически и практически демонтировать тиранию [дихотомии] «Человек и Природа». Это способ осмыслить планетарный ад и указать на то, что климатический кризис есть геоисторический сдвиг. Он, конечно, затрагивает и молекулы парниковых газов, но его нельзя сводить только к вопросам промилле. Климатический кризис — геоисторический момент, в котором системно переплелись загрязнение атмосферы парниковыми газами и классовое расслоение, классовый патриархат и климатический апартеид. История справедливости в XXI веке будет живо интересоваться, насколько нам удалось выявить эти противоречия и взаимозависимости, и насколько умело мы выстроили политические коалиции, выходящие за рамки этих противоречий.

Авторский вариант текста, опубликованного на платформе Maize

Джейсон Мур (Jason W. Moore) — историк экологии и географ, профессор социологии в Бингемптонском университете. Среди его последних книг: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things («Всемирная история и семь дешевых ресурсов», California, 2017); Anthropocene or Capitalocene? («Антропоцен или капиталоцен?», PMPress, 2016) и Capitalism in the Web of Life («Капитализм в ткани жизни», Verso, 2015). Книги и эссе Мура публиковались на 18 языках, некоторые тексты можно посмотреть на его сайте. Мур координирует Сеть исследователей мир-экологии (World-Ecology Research Network) — глобальное сообщество художников, деятелей науки и активистов.

Перевод: Максим Шер

Материал входит в серию публикаций по итогам образовательного проекта «Пространство и письмо: исследование антропоцена», который проходил в МСИ Гараж в июле 2019