What Does Climate Change? Value As the Continual Necessity of the Present

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Alex STONER, Salisbury University, USA
The domination of human and non-human natures is wrapped up in an alien, runaway developmental logic, which, despite current efforts, no one controls and to which all are subject. This paper advances a Marxian critical theory account of capital-induced planetary degradation (e.g., accelerating land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change) following the Second World War. In contrast to strands of environmental thought which critically examine the production of wealth (increasing use-value output) by counterposing finitude and limits against the expansionary tendencies of economic growth, the critical theory approach advanced in this paper conceptualizes accelerating environmental degradation in terms of the unfolding of the contradiction between wealth and value. The temporal dimension of this process, as I endeavor to demonstrate, is more adequately captured in terms of a treadmill of production of value, which gives rise to a fundamental tension between "capital time" and "ecological time". Against this background, I direct focus toward a dialectic of transformation and reconstitution whereby the necessity of value is continuously established in the present. The paper concludes by indicating how a Marxian critical theory framework allows one to better understand the widespread growth of environmentalism and the concomitant spread of post-Fordist (neoliberal) capitalism.