A Social Ecology of Capital
Published by: Pluto Press
Imprint: Pluto Press
Sales Date: 2023-02-20
Published: February 2023
Imprint: Pluto Press
Page Count: 176 Pages
Illustrations: 25 figures
Dimensions: 140.00 x 216.00
176 Pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 12.30 mm, 25 figures
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'A timely and urgent analysis which seeks to comprehend our ecological plight through an elucidation of monopoly capital' - Gareth Dale, Reader in Political Economy, Brunel University
Capital is pushing into motion ever larger global material flows. In doing so it has come to depend on massive expenditures of energy, putting to work fossil fuels and the machines they animate to transform the world, accumulate power and grow the economy. The ecological relations and crises of today’s societies are driven by the processes of extraction of the elements that come together as a throughput of material and energy flows controlled by capital and shaped by its imperative of valorization.
In A Social Ecology of Capital, Éric Pineault proposes an original model of the fossil social metabolism that has sustained the growth of advanced capitalism in the last century.
Drawing on ecological economics and critical political economy, the book analyses how the social structures of accumulation, production, consumption and waste determine and regulate the material flow and the accumulation of material artifacts. Showing how social relations shape the ecology of capital, the book highlights the contradictions humanity now faces.
1. The Material Flow
2. Nature's Work: The Ecology of the Material Flow
3. Metabolic Regimes in a Historical Perspective
4. Fossil Based Industrial Metabolism
5. On Capitalist Metabolism
6. Accumulation and Social Metabolism in the Great Capitalist Acceleration
Conclusion: Emancipation amid the Ruins of Fossil Metabolism
'A remarkably insightful analysis of the complex interface between capital and nature. This is indispensable reading for scholars, students and activists'William Carroll, Professor of Sociology, University of Victoria, Canada
'A Social Ecology of Capital is essential reading for all interested in ecological crises, limits to growth, and alternatives. Its materialist-feminist analysis of growth as biophysical expansion and accumulation presents a much-needed foundation for understanding our current predicament'Matthias Schmelzer, author of 'The Hegemony of Growth'
'In systematically illuminating the material flows and constraints of fossil-fuelled capitalism, Pineault has compiled a useful guide to social metabolism for Marxists. He shows that, to understand our global ecological predicament, we must go beyond Marx in establishing a materialist social science'Alf Hornborg, Professor Emeritus of Human Ecology, Lund University and author of 'The Magic of Technology: The Machine as a Transformation of Slavery'
'A timely and urgent analysis which seeks to comprehend our ecological plight through an elucidation of monopoly capital'Gareth Dale, Reader in Political Economy, Brunel University, UK
'Social ecology is further developed by Éric Pineault with this fascinating theoretical and empirical study. He shows how capital as a social relation exercises its domination - and how contested this is. A must read for scholars, students, activists, progressive politicians and the interested public!'Ulrich Brand, University of Vienna, co-author of the book 'The Imperial Mode of Living. Everyday Life and the Ecological Crisis of Capitalism'
‘Eric Pineault's book is a true Capital in the 21st Century. One where ecology matters’Giorgos Kallis, ICREA Professor, ICTA-UAB.
'Applying biophysical accounting methods from social ecology, Pineault analyses the metabolism of capitalism. It provides important lessons for scholars and activists about the root causes of ongoing environmental crises and the need for an encompassing social ecological transformation'Christoph Görg, Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria