The ecology of global capitalism

Paul Guillibert


The studies of imperialism have been influenced since thirty years by ecological narratives elaborated mostly in the field of environnmental history (A. W. Crosby, R. Grove, Ra. Guha, J. Diamond). Most of this studies developps constructivist perspectives (Grove, Guha) or new forms of social darwinism (Crosby, Diamond). In reaction, the marxists (Foster, Clark) or post-marxist (Hornborg) theories elaborated a concept of « ecological imperialism » which take into account the relation between ecological degradations and the domination of the periphery by the center. Their analysis based on world-system analysis and theory of unequal exchange are problematic in two ways. On one hand, they miss the permanent play of the « historical divorce » of workers and means of production and reproduction. On an other hand, they didn't take into account the centrality of international rivalries in the definition of imperialism. This presentation argue that the ecological perspective of imperialism can produce a new theoretical and empirical understanding of the dialectic between the « territorial logic of states » and the « logic of capitalist accumulation » (Harvey) which explains the globalisation of capital.

Political ecology - Climate change - imperialism - Environmental Crisis