Capitalism and Climate Change: Theoretical Discussion, by Max Koch

By Max Koch

This publication discusses weather switch as a social factor, reading the incompatibility of capitalist improvement and Earth's physical limits and the way those were regulated in numerous methods. It addresses the hyperlinks among modes of intake, power regimes and weather swap in the course of Fordism and finance-driven capitalism.

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Dietz and Wissen argue that biotechnologies are built upon genetic information and resources that are of crucial importance for the seed and pharmaceutical industries. Genetic resources crucially differ from fossil resources, since their productive use presupposes their maintenance and not their one-time productive consumption. Hence, a ‘qualitatively new aspect in the area of biological diversity’ is that ‘large quantities of resources are often no longer required’ (Görg and Brand, 2003, p. 267).

Now nature was ‘for the first time [ . . ] purely an object for humankind, purely matter of utility; ceases to be recognized as a power to itself; and the theoretical discovery of its autonomous laws appears merely as a ruse so as to subjugate it under human needs, whether as an object of consumption or as a means of production’ (Marx, 1973, p. 409). Marx also shows that expanding scales of production, which are a corollary of the valorisation logic of capitalist production, normally coincide with greater amounts of throughput of raw materials and auxiliary substances, especially in the form of fossil fuels and of available energy.

The conditions of production involve not only the particular social, cultural and ecological conditions of the reproduction of labour Capitalism, Nature and Climate Change 29 power, but also those of capitalism’s natural environment: forests, oil fields, water supplies, a functioning atmosphere and so on. One thing these ‘conditions’ have in common is that they were not produced by capitalist methods, therefore Karl Polanyi (1944) referred to them as ‘ficticious commodities’. O’Connor argues that the tendential degradation of these conditions does not make itself felt directly, as a factor of crisis, but indirectly, through rising costs that diminish profits and constrain the supply side: ‘Limits to growth thus do not appear, in the first instance, as absolute shortages of laborpower, raw materials, clean water and air, and urban space, and the like, but as high-cost laborpower, resources, and infrastructure and space’ (O’Connor, 1988, p.

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