Can capitalism survive climate change?
Can capitalism effectively respond to climate change? This is the timely and critically important question posed by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson at the beginning of their book, Climate Capitalism. It is the same question that motivated me to focus my own research on the topic of business and climate change nearly fifteen years ago.
Between the event and democratic materialism
Bruno Bosteels, Professor of Romance Studies at the University of Cornell, has translated into English Theory of the subject (Badiou, 2009a) and Wittgenstein's anti-philosophy (Badiou, 2011). Additionally, he has written a number of significant articles and essays on Alain Badiou, including ‘Post-Maoism: Badiou and Politics’ (2005), Badiou or the restarting of dialectical materialism (2007), Alain Badiou: A polemical trajectory (2009a). He is therefore one of the best specialists of Badiou within the Anglophone academy.
Tales of ‘Much of a muchness’: Adventures in the land of social capital
Ben Fine’s argument in his second book on social capital, Theories of social capital, is straightforward: social capital is a non-sensical concept. With a nod to the Mad Hatter and his tea party in Lewis Carroll’s much-loved Alice in wonderland, Fine’s purpose in this book is to point out to us the circularities, tautologies and oxymorons of the exhaustingly vast academic and policy literature on social capital.
Is capitalism dying out?
The Austrian born but French writing social philosopher and author André Gorz’s (1923-2007) important book The immaterial: Knowledge, value and capital is now available in English. The leftist radical post-Marxist theorist originally wrote the book in French, entitled L’immateriel. Connaissance, valeur et capital, five years before the international financial crisis hit the world in 2008.
The playing fields of late capitalism
Neo-liberalism seems to persist through a double life. For sure, it believes in itself like all forms of fundamentalist thought, but it also unconsciously divines its own impossibility. It thus grows outrageous characters to compensate, to fill the void, like a petulant child who invents far-fetching tales after raiding the cookie jar.
The ‘third way’ for climate action
During the last two decades, there has emerged a substantial literature on climate change that deals with its various aspects from the very science of climate change to its economics, with widespread ramifications (see Cowie, 2007; IPCC, 2007; Stern, 2006). In his book, The Politics of Climate Change, Anthony Giddens sets out with the task of chalking out a political framework, which he believes is needed in order to deal with climate change.
Carbon trading in South Africa: Plus ça change?
Whether carbon markets have a role in responding to climate change and delivering positive benefits to the developing world is a question that continues to generate lively debate and is rightly subject to ever more critical scrutiny. From cases of climate fraud and corruption in carbon markets to instances of displacement and the exposure of poorer people to negative social and environmental effects from hosting CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects, there is mounting criticism of the effectiveness and equity of using offset and trading mechanisms to tackle climate change.
The unbearable emptiness of entrepreneurship
In Unmasking the Entrepreneur, Campbell Jones and Andre Spicer set about producing a much needed critical account of the entrepreneur and its place in contemporary society. This is a project with which we should have much sympathy, and there are certainly important questions to be asked. How, for example, did the word ‘entrepreneur’ move from Cantillon’s original sense of an administrator grappling with uncertainty (Spengler, 1954) to a contemporary trope modelled on Gates, Jobs and Branson?
Diasporas in a digital age
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff’s book Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement provides a great deal of useful material concerning the use of Internet technologies for social organizing among diaspora communities. As the author notes, this is an area that has been relatively under-researched and, for that matter, under-theorized.
The work of games
My heart sunk as the introduction to Games of Empire (GoE) began with a recounting of scene in Second Life – was this to be an analysis of the possibilities of virtual life tempered with warnings that the means of such life are brought to you by Empire? Three paragraphs later, the simple acknowledgement that Second Life avatars consume electricity produced somehow on servers located somewhere made the stakes of the book clear and allayed any such fears.