The Capitalocene argument therefore rejects anthropocentric flatten-ing — “We have met the enemy and he is us” (as in Walt Kelly’s iconic 1970 Earth Day poster) — along with economic reductionism. To be sure, capi-talism is a system of endless capital accumulation. But the Capitalocene thesis says that to understand planetary crisis today, we need to look at capitalism as a world-ecology of power, production, and reproduction. In this perspective, the “social” moments of modern class rule, white su-premacy, and patriarchy are intimately connected with environmental projects aimed at endless capital accumulation. Essentially, the great innovation of capitalism, from its origins after 1492, was to invent the practice of appropriating Nature. That Nature was not just an idea but a territorial and cultural reality that encaged and policed women, colonized peoples, and extra-human webs of life. Because webs of life resist the standardization, acceleration, and homogenization of capitalist prof-it-maximization, capitalism has never been narrowly economic; cultur-al domination and political force have made possible the capitalogenic devastation of human and extra-human natures at every turn.
Foto: Stefan Paulus