The overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that planet Earth is in the process of undergoing dramatic climate change, which threatens to undermine the quality of life around the world. Irrationality of Capitalism and Climate Change demonstrates how the roots of humanity's assault on the environment are directly associated with the origins of capitalism, an irrational social system in which reproduction of capital on a global scale is destructive to the environment. The author begins with a philosophical analysis of the role that reason and passion assume in social systems., then traces the local and regional environmental effects of preindustrial social systems. The author argues that nations are faced with a global challenge, to construct life-affirming policy that functions as an alternative to the global devastation that the accumulation of capital causes. The book concludes by proposing rational socialism, a life-affirming social system that functions in harmony with the environment.
Andrew Kolin is professor of political science at Hilbert College.
Chapter 1: Reason, Passion and Climate Change
Chapter 2: The Science of Climate Change
Chapter 3: Pre-Industrial Climate Change
Chapter 4: Genocide and Climate Change
Chapter 5: The Irrational and Destructive Aspects of Capitalism
Chapter 6: Rational Socialism
In his book, Irrationality of Capitalism and Climate Change, Andrew Kolin shines a spotlight on the irrational way in which capitalism acts to destroy nature and the environment. The pursuit of profit, accumulation, and the expansion of capitalism override all other concerns, explaining our current climate catastrophe. Drawing on, and considerably advancing, debates in Marxist theory, and through an engagement with the history of political thought, science, and imperialism, Kolin's new book shows us in no uncertain terms how both historically and in the present, it is the irrationality inherent to capitalism that is responsible for the assault on the environment that we experience today.
In this slim but dense volume, Kolin argues against the insanity of capitalism, demonstrating how capital has manifested in environmental destruction and climate breakdown. He extensively documents capital’s fatal assault on the environment—how it irrationally wrecks the very bough on which it nests. James O’Connor famously termed this madness the “second contradiction of capitalism.” Kolin expands on the second contradiction, without naming it as such, enumerating capital’s drive for ceaseless extraction, production, consumption, accumulation, and growth, which has brought climate apocalypse ever closer. In the process, capital’s inefficiencies fuel its irrationalities—capital’s obsession with its reproduction through accumulation. What sets Kolin apart from contemporary critics of capitalism is his powerfully persuasive case for a “rational socialism,” which, in his view, does not cause environmental and social harm. This is a must-read volume for anyone seeking to comprehend the destructive relationship between capital and climate. It is particularly suitable for those in the fields of climate sciences, environmental studies, environmental politics, ecological economics, political sociology, geography, and Marxist studies. This book is highly recommended for general readers, advanced undergraduates through faculty, and professionals.