“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, October 30, 2015

Here's a Provocative Line from Dark Ecology

I just got the proofs! Proofs are cool, because you realize that you didn't screw up that badly. There's something about copy editing that makes me panic. But proof reading is sort of mellow. It's like your grave has already been dug, you know you are about to be executed, so a kind of calm reigns.

Anyway. Here's something naughty about Bruno Latour:

“Latour’s suggestion that we call [the Anthropocene] the Capitalocene misses the mark. Capital and capitalism are symptoms of the problem, not its direct causes. If the cause were capitalism, then Soviet and Chinese carbon emissions would have added nothing to global warming. Even the champion of distributed agency balks at calling a distributed spade a distributed spade.”



J. Ahlroth said...

I think your argument is spot on.

As a sidetrack, one could argue that modern China is a state-run capitalist society.

ai said...

Tim - Where does Latour propose calling it the Capitalocene? I know others who do that, but I'm surprised by Latour getting the credit for it. (And then I disagree that the Soviets and Chinese examples are exceptions that disprove the rule, but that's another matter.)

John Muse said...

Like ai, I want the Latour reference. And then I want a suite of distinctions between various anthropoi so as to mark that it's the never-been-moderns and not aboriginals and others who've made this -cene. If as you argue elsewhere that there is no origin and there are no species, then you shouldn't use "anthropos" to name and blame a species, pinning the tale on the human as such but via an elicit metonymy: not all humans but some and not only some humans but their assembled supports. Those who opt for Capitalocene are playing metonymic as well, but I think you're righter to insist reference human animals and their debris. How then to capture in a word these splits, in time and agency?

But perhaps more importantly, I would love for you to retire the spade thing, now a fraught racial trope, even if not "originally" so. See http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/09/19/224183763/is-it-racist-to-call-a-spade-a-spade