Capitalism as a force of destruction
in The capitalist mode of destruction
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Following the discussion, in Chapters 3 and 4, of the negative effects of capitalism’s consumerist culture, this chapter continues the analysis of capital’s destructive uses of the surplus. Introducing the term “forces of destruction,” it highlights the increasingly destructive employment of capitalism’s rapid scientific and technological advances. In particular, the chapter pays special attention to capitalism’s rapid development and regular deployment of increasingly lethal military technologies, as well as to the ways in which capital’s productive technologies contribute to a deepening ecological crisis. By advancing a critique of market-oriented strands of the environmental movement, the chapter also initiates this work’s analysis of “new social movements” as, in part, a reaction to capitalism’s increasing destructiveness. In this respect, this critique also forms part of a recurring theme in this work, namely that new social movements cannot pursue their objectives effectively without also challenging capital’s undemocratic control of the surplus. Last but not least, the chapter argues for the need to analyze social and historical development through a complex three-way interaction between capitalism’s (or any other class society’s, for that matter) forces of production, forces of destruction, and relations of production. In so doing, it also lays the ground for reformulating the contradiction underlying contemporary capitalism.

The capitalist mode of destruction

Austerity, ecological crisis and the hollowing out of democracy


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