Friday, September 16, 2016

The Bourgeoisiophene.

Karl Marx was right. Driven by the Bourgeoisie, Capitalism will continue until all the natural resources are exhausted, the workers are pauperised, and the natural realm, badly polluted. (Of course, based on his views concerning natural resources, Communism and Socialism weren't much better, or were even worse, depending on your perspective.)

From Truthdig: Paul Street, How to Stop Capitalism’s Deadly War With Nature (Link).

Earth scientists now know that the history of our planet has been set for some time in our current geological age, the Anthropocene. According to leading experts Will Steffen, Paul Crutzen and John McNeill, in this era, “human activities have become so pervasive and profound that they rival the great forces of Nature and are pushing the earth into planetary terra incognita. The Earth is rapidly moving into a less biologically diverse, less forested, much warmer, and probably wetter and stormier era.” We are living in a “no-analogue state” in which “the Earth system has recently moved well outside the range of natural variability.” ... ...
The terrible trends and data have led the venerable progressive political scientist and social-justice advocate Susan George to introduce what she calls “a new phenomenon in the history of humankind.” In a recent lecture to the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights in Buenos Aires, she names it “geocide,” meaning “the collective action of a single species among millions of other species which is changing planet Earth to the point that it can become unrecognisable and unfit for life.” Humanity, George says, “is committing geocide against all components of nature, whether microscopic organisms, plants, animals or against itself, homo sapiens, humankind.” George is unstinting in her denunciation of the human species: “Homo sapiens has only existed for roughly 200,000 years. The time we’ve spent on this planet compared to its total age is infinitesimally short, just the tiniest sliver of geological time. It amounts to a mere 0.00004 percent of Earth’s existence. And although any given species of plant or animal—vertebrate or invertebrate—tends to last on average about 10 million years, our species seems determined to cause its own extinction, along with the rest of creation, long before its allotted time.” ... ...
But is the culprit really Homo sapiens as a whole? The concept of the Anthropocene has rich scientific validity. It holds welcome political relevance in countering the carbon-industrial complex’s denial of humanity’s responsibility for contemporary climate change. Still, we must guard against lapsing into the historically unspecific and class-blind uses of the term “anthros,” and project the recent age of capital onto the broad 100,000-year swath of human activity on and in nature. As the brilliant and prolific environmental historian and political economist Jason Moore reminded Sasha Lilley during a KPFA radio interview in 2015: “It was not humanity as a whole that created … large-scale industry and the massive textile factories of Manchester in the 19th century or Detroit in the last century or Shenzhen today. It was capital.” It is only during a relatively small slice of human history—roughly the last 500 years, give or take a century or so—that humanity has been socially and institutionally wired from the top down to wreck livable ecology.
A compelling case has been made by Moore and other left environmentalists that it is more historically appropriate to understand humanity’s earth-altering assault on livable ecology as “the Capitalocene.” Capitalism has ruled the world since 1600 or thereabouts (by academic calculations), and only during this relatively brief period of history has human social organization developed the capacity and compulsion to transform earth systems. “Geocide” is a capitalist crime, not a transgression of humanity over its long and mostly noncapitalist history.
(Emphases in the above quote are mine)

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