Capitalocene, Necrocene, Anthropocene: Work, Life, & Power in the (Un)Making of Our Capitalogenic World-Ecology
Jason W. Moore
Department of Sociology, Binghamton University
FRIDAY, November, 18
Where and when do we find the origins of planetary crisis in the 21st century? One’s response to the question shapes the narratives, analytics, and politics of global environmental change. In this talk, environmental historian Jason W. Moore questions the dominant narrative of the Popular Anthropocene that identifies the nineteenth century’s Industrial Revolution as the origins of today’s crisis. He argues instead that the Anthropocene is the Capitalocene – the epoch-making relations of “the” Industrial Revolution were forged much earlier, when modern relations of power, knowledge, and capital expanded rapidly in the centuries after 1450. Their most dramatic expression was a landscape revolution unknown since the dawn of agriculture, reshaping human and extra-human natures at a scale, scope, and speed unthinkable in pre-capitalist civilizations. This dramatic transition cannot be explained through the activity of the “human enterprise” – modern environmental history is driven by capitalogenic – not anthropogenic – forces. Moore argues for seeing the modern world as a world-ecology of power, capital, and nature. In this, modernity’s creativity and destructiveness unfolds through the capacity to channel the paid and unpaid work/energy of humans and the rest of nature in service to endless capital accumulation. That capacity – to find and re/produce Cheap Natures – is now in question.
Jason W. Moore, an environmental historian and historical geographer, is associate professor of Sociology at Binghamton University. He is author of several books, mostly recently Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), Ecologia-mondo e crisi del capitalismo: La fine della natura a buon mercato (Ombre Corte, 2015), and editor of Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016). He coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network and blogs at https://jasonwmoore.wordpress.com/. Moore is completing Seven Cheap Things: A World-Ecological Manifesto (with Raj Patel) and Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism, both for the University of California Press.