The Global Political Economy of the imperial mode of living

Author: Ulrich Brand1
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  • 1 University of Vienna, Austria
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Despite the high politicisation of the ecological crisis, political strategies to deal with it fail to tackle the root cause of the crisis but intend to ecologically modernise capitalism. This is an entry point for critical (Global) Political Economy. First, to understand the hegemonic character of ecologically destructive social relations, GPE should focus not only on political and economic structures, but also on their anchoring in people’s everyday lives. Second, critical scholarship should examine the global political economy of social-ecological transformations in capitalist centres which go hand in hand with a deepening of neo-colonial resource extractivism in countries of the global South, even in its ‘green’ version. The concept of an imperial mode of living aims to make sense of the hegemonic character of unsustainability rooted in everyday practices. Moreover, it connects the everyday life of people in the global North to overarching social and international structures and thus reveals the global socio-ecological preconditions of the prevailing patterns of production and consumption as well as the mechanisms that render their destructive effects invisible to those who benefit from them. Some contours of a ‘solidary mode of living’ and some preliminary conclusions for future research in critical GPE are drawn.

Abstract

Despite the high politicisation of the ecological crisis, political strategies to deal with it fail to tackle the root cause of the crisis but intend to ecologically modernise capitalism. This is an entry point for critical (Global) Political Economy. First, to understand the hegemonic character of ecologically destructive social relations, GPE should focus not only on political and economic structures, but also on their anchoring in people’s everyday lives. Second, critical scholarship should examine the global political economy of social-ecological transformations in capitalist centres which go hand in hand with a deepening of neo-colonial resource extractivism in countries of the global South, even in its ‘green’ version. The concept of an imperial mode of living aims to make sense of the hegemonic character of unsustainability rooted in everyday practices. Moreover, it connects the everyday life of people in the global North to overarching social and international structures and thus reveals the global socio-ecological preconditions of the prevailing patterns of production and consumption as well as the mechanisms that render their destructive effects invisible to those who benefit from them. Some contours of a ‘solidary mode of living’ and some preliminary conclusions for future research in critical GPE are drawn.

Key messages

  • The greening of capitalism takes shape in the mode of a ‘passive revolution’.

  • The ‘imperial mode of living’ links global domination and exploitation with the everyday.

  • The concept helps to understand the hegemony of ecologically destructive social relations.

  • A solidary mode of living can serve as a normative horizon for a multiplicity of alternatives.

After decades of policies under the banner of ‘sustainable development’ or ‘sustainability’, the environmental state of the planet has worsened dramatically. It has already been 15 years since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fourth assessment report, which emphasised the dramatic effects of anthropogenic climate change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2007). At the same time, the International Resource Panel of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) gave an extraordinary description of the enormous increase in the use of resources for construction materials, fossil fuels, biomass and minerals during the 20th century (UNEP, 2011). The recently published sixth assessment report of the IPCC (2022) is a dramatic call to radically transform the economic system within the next few years.

Despite the relatively high politicisation of the ecological crisis it was surprising that during the economic crisis of 2007–08 public attention and political action were reduced to the economic aspects of the crisis whereas its other dimensions were downplayed – in particular the ecological ones. The main aim of economic policies at that time was to regain economic growth (at any cost). In some countries, for instance, governments included a buyer’s premium (scrapping bonus) in their recovery packages to encourage people to have their car scrapped – even though there was nothing wrong with it – and buy a new one. And in the midst of the economic crisis, the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen was a complete failure because it became obvious that climate negotiations at this time were largely about the ‘right to pollute’ (Wissen, 2009).

This was the starting point of our work on the concept ‘imperial mode of living’ as a contribution to critical GPE (Brand and Wissen, 2013; 2018; 2021). We were puzzled by the paradox that, on the one hand, in times of crisis – such as in 2007–08 – capitalist social relations need to be stabilised and the ‘growth engine’ restarted at any cost. On the other hand, the sheer worsening of the ecological crisis, the scientific evidence and the growing societal awareness led to more or less ambitious policies such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or the Sustainable Development Goals, both agreed upon in 2015. More recently, the initiative for a European Green Deal became the lighthouse project for Europe (Ryner, 2021). At the core of the proposals, under the banners ‘green growth’ or ‘green economy’, is the greening of state policies, production and consumption patterns, values and public discourses. However, the initiatives to ‘green’ the economy remain in the corridor of an ecological modernisation and rarely question capitalist social relations and capitalist societal nature relations more profoundly (Brand, 2012). In part, this was also mirrored in several contributions to critical GPE and also in most proposals for Green New Deals from the political left (Aronoff et al 2019; Ajl, 2021; Mastini et al 2021; Schumacher, 2021; Wissen and Brand, 2022).

These lacunae are entry points for Critical Political Economy and particularly for critical (G)PE analyses. First, the greening of capitalism will depend on existing power relations, available resources and technologies, the potential to contribute to capital accumulation, a specific consensus within society (including trade unions) and on whether awareness of the ecological crisis and conflicts over how to deal with it ‘become state (politics)’ (Brand and Wissen, 2018, Chapter 4). This needs to be studied empirically and against the background of bold and plausible explanatory frameworks.

Critical PE and GPE scholars often call the dynamics towards a greening of capitalism, in line with the fabulous work of Antonio Gramsci, a ‘passive revolution’ (Gramsci, 1971/1996, 966). Gramsci underlined the fact that under conditions of the capitalist mode of production and respective power relations, a probable handling of a crisis or dimensions of the multiple crises remain in line with existing societal relations.

The passive element is to integrate the interests of the subaltern segments while keeping them in a subaltern, powerless position, and to absorb their intellectuals and leaders into the power bloc, while depriving the subaltern of their leadership (transformismo). … The decisive factor for the power bloc is not to eliminate or to solve contradictions, but to manage them so that they stay under control. Thus, such a concept of hegemony does not ask for the stability of a certain order, but rather for ways of dealing with the contradictions. (Candeias, 2011: 2–3, emphasis in original)

From such a perspective, critical (G)PE looks at the fact that largely unsustainable but widely accepted capitalist social relations are deeply anchored in people’s everyday lives and practices. This has been highlighted for many years by Neo-Gramscian GPE (Showstack Sasson, 2001; Gill, 2008). And it should be extended to the ambiguous way in which the ecological crisis is being dealt with (Wanner, 2015; Spash, 2020; Brand and Wissen, 2021; Ryner, 2021).

Second, when it comes to mainstream as well as radical political alternatives, most political proposals for socio-ecological transformations remain at the national level – or within the European Union (overview in Schumacher, 2021). This is surprising given the bold recognition of the global nature of the crisis and the urgent need to counter it globally. Therefore, critical analyses should highlight the fact that under the conditions of a capitalist global political economy, such transformation processes remain restricted to certain regions and industries, that is, they will be selective and will not solve the enormous problems and crises society as a whole is facing and is going to face. Eco-capitalist modernisation strategies but also those of leftist Green New Deals do not normally deal with the implications for other world regions when, for instance, oil and gas consumption is drastically reduced, which in turn increases battery production using lithium from other parts of the world (Arboleda, 2020; Gilbert, 2020; Macmillen Voskoboynik and Andreucci, 2021). Or if they do, they restrict a global perspective to the availability of resources (sometimes called ‘resource diplomacy’ which is, in fact, resource imperialism or a form of ‘green extractivism’ (Isla, 2021). The world market and its power relations – for example, of transnational corporations benefitting from the lithium trade – are seen as an unquestionable fact; its capitalist and imperial constituency shaped by power does not need to be emphasised. Critical GPE in contrast, has the analytical tools to see the (world) market as a historically specific social relation, that is, a part of social relations of (re-)production (including distribution and consumption) and of social power relations. Such a perspective is helpful to describe not only the capitalist societal nature relations, but also their patriarchal, imperial and neo-colonial characteristics.

The imperial mode of living

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the policies in and after the 2007–08 crisis which were not very sensitive to ecological questions, and the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen conference on climate change.

With the ‘imperial mode of living’ Markus Wissen and I started to develop a concept which aims to better understand the productive and destructive forces of global capitalism and the reproduction of inequality as a complex social relation which are anchored in social structures as well as everyday practices.1 In particular, it emphasises the role of capitalist societal nature relations as well as the urgently needed alternatives, given the deepening ecological crisis (on the conception of societal nature relations in critical theory, see Görg, 2011; 2022). Our basic assumption is that the deeply rooted patterns of production and consumption, which dominate above all in the capitalist societies that were industrialized early, presuppose disproportionate access to nature and labour power on a global scale. This leads to a destructive use of planetary resources, including labour power – manifested by high unemployment in many countries and an uneven division of labour which tends to place more burden on precarious workers, women and (undocumented) migrants. One of developed capitalism’s characteristics is its need for a less developed or non-capitalist geographical and social ‘outside’ from which it obtains raw materials and intermediate products to which it shifts social and ecological burdens, and in which it appropriates both paid labour and unpaid care services. It is exclusionary and exclusive and presupposes an imperialist world order. I refer here to the broad body of ecological Marxism (O’Connor, 1998; Altvater, 1993; Foster, 2000; Burkett, 2014; Patel and Moore, 2017), feminist political ecology (Merchant, 1987; Biesecker and Hofmeister, 2010; Salleh, 2017) and unequal ecological exchange (Hornborg, 2019, see later). At the same time, that world order is normalised in countless acts of production and consumption, which renders its violent character invisible to those who benefit from it.

Markus Wissen and I understand the ‘imperial mode of living’ as a concept of hegemony theory in the tradition of Antonio Gramsci. It aims to detect the universalised (not homogenised) socio-economic, political and theoretical patterns and mechanisms of domination. Gramsci intended to elucidate, in depth, the complex mechanisms of ‘the agreement of associated societal wills’ (Gramsci, 1971/1991: 1536), but hegemony refers also to affects (Moore, 2015). The concept imperial mode of living points at the socially and ecologically problematic but also attractive industrialist-fossilist mode of production and living. It connects people’s everyday lives with social and international structures and thus reveals the prerequisites of capitalist patterns of production and consumption. As such, it also refers to the way of working and producing in capitalist societies. Exploitation of nature and labour power is not only a structural feature of the relationship between the global North and the global South; it also takes place in the class, patriarchal and racialised societies of the global North itself, where significant social and geographical inequalities exist and have increased in recent decades. We want to emphasise, however, that the exploitation of labour power in advanced capitalist countries is inherently linked to, and mediated by, exploitative structures elsewhere.

Alf Hornborg has pointed to this in his work on ‘unequal ecological exchange’ (Hornborg, 2019). Accordingly, the high degree of labour productivity in advanced capitalist countries is due not only to scientific discoveries and domestic social conflicts resulting in a sophisticated technology of production (the endogenous growth of productivity). It is also based on the asymmetric material transfers on a global scale that have allowed the development of productive forces and the increase of relative surplus value. Seen from this perspective, it becomes understandable that and how the ‘technologically advanced sectors of the world-system have increased the rate of exploitation of its own workers ... by simultaneously increasing the rate of net imports of resources from elsewhere’ (Hornborg, 2019: 80). The intermediate products and raw materials from other regions make (re)production cheaper; a large part of the added value in transnational corporations is created in the centres; together with the structural, organisational and institutional power of the labour force, this enables relatively high wages despite its unevenness across occupations and classes, a well-developed public infrastructure and services of general interest.

The imperial mode of living implies a hierarchy on a global scale: since the onset of colonialism, the working and living conditions in the economies of the global South, with their predominant forms of resource extraction, industrial or service production, have been largely geared to the economic needs of the capitalist centres. Domestic classed, gendered, sexed and racialised relations are not exclusively, but essentially, oriented towards these needs (Mignolo and Walsh, 2018; Svampa, 2019). This is the core of the concept of the ‘coloniality of power’ developed by the Peruvian sociologist Aníbal Quijano (2000). The fact that Europe became the supposed centre of modernity is therefore due to a long historical process imbued with power that constituted certain forms of division and control of labour in the respective societies and on an international scale. In the course of colonisation, race became ‘the fundamental criterion for the distribution of the world population into ranks, places and roles in the new society’s structure of power’ (Quijano, 2000: 535) of the colonised countries. Hierarchical identities related to skin colour were created, and a ‘systematic racial division of labour’ was imposed (Quijano, 2000: 536). The (post-)colonial state plays a major role in these processes (Coronil, 1997; Amin-Khan, 2013).

The concept of the imperial mode of living sheds light on these dominant interdependencies both between the global South and the global North and within the societies concerned. Above all, it aims to show and explain how domination, power and violence are normalised in neo-colonial North-South relations, in class and gender relations, and by racialised relations in the practices of consumption and production, so that they are no longer perceived as such.

The term imperial mode of living is not intended to make the social contradictions within the global North and the global South disappear in favour of a seemingly superimposed imperialist North-South divide. Instead, the upper (and middle) classes of the global South must be understood as important forces of the imperial mode of living (Boos, 2017; Landherr and Graf, 2019). Not only do they tend to adopt, and benefit from, Northern patterns of consumption (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2019), but as the dominant forces of their societies they also organise the extraction of resources or foster resource-intensive patterns of industrial development (Svampa, 2015).

In the global North, the infrastructures of everyday life in areas such as food, transport, electricity, heat or telecommunications to a large extent rely on material flows from elsewhere, on the workers who extract the respective resources and on the ecological sinks on a global scale that absorb emissions produced by the operation of infrastructure systems. Workers in the global North draw on these systems not just because they consider them to be components of a good life, but because they depend on them (cf. Lessenich, 2019: 34). Generally, it is not an individual choice that makes workers purchase cheap ‘food from nowhere’ (McMichael, 2009), drive a car or light their homes with electricity that is generated by burning fossil fuels. Rather, they have to do so in order to nourish their families, get to work or because the utility does not offer renewable alternatives, since in most countries, renewable energy has to date been offered at a higher price. Thus, workers are forced into the imperial mode of living simply because the latter is materialised and institutionalised in many of the life-sustaining systems of the global North.

Of course, capitalists are also forced by competition into socially and ecologically destructive practices – at least there is a strong incentive to do so, which is due to the structural tendency of the capitalist mode of production to generate ‘negative externalities’ (Wright, 2010: 59–60). Yet they assume a dominant position in this process. Workers who process raw materials extracted elsewhere in the production process, who use fossilist infrastructures (energy supply, automobility) or who produce mass consumer goods at high energy and material costs mostly do so because they lack alternatives, that is, because they have nothing, or little more, to sell but their own labour power. The buyers of this labour power equally benefit from its exploitation and from the exploitation of nature and labour power elsewhere in the world. In other words, workers participate in the imperial mode of living and reproduce it as subalterns.2 In addition, as consumers, they benefit materially from this mode of living to a significantly lesser extent. Due to the amount and type of consumption, they also produce and externalise lower socio-ecological costs than the middle and upper classes (Chancel and Piketty, 2015).

The normative dimension of the concept can be condensed in the formula that solidarity means – besides its inter-relational dimension – not to live at the cost of others and at the cost of nature, that is, to overcome a mode of production that essentially rests on the exploitation of human labour power and the destruction of the bio-physical foundations of life on earth. In that sense, solidarity has a highly institutionalised and structural dimension as it also implies that people and societies do not have to live at the expense of others and nature. I revisit this point at the very end of the article.

Preliminary conclusions and contours of a solidary mode of living

For our scientific discipline of Global Political Economy, I would like to draw some preliminary conclusions. First, the ecological crisis is socio-ecological; it is a crisis of societal nature relations, it has to do with capitalism and imperialism, with power and domination, with political institutions that at first sight do not deal with ‘environmental questions’ (but rather with, for example, free trade, financial or technological policies), with class, gender and race, with practices, subjectivities and everyday life. In that sense, GPE could benefit from a dialogue with disciplines such as political ecology – as well as ecological economics (Spash, 2021), which I did not address in this article – and also from taking seriously the contested character of (natural) science knowledge as emphasised in social ecology and science and technology studies.

Second, in light of the deepening ecological crisis and our previously mentioned considerations, the strong and classical tendency of critical GPE towards economic growth and issues of distribution (related to power) needs to be rethought. The escalating dynamics of global capitalism undoubtedly create material wealth for a remarkable proportion of the world population. But the mode in which it is produced and the effects thereof are highly unequal and ecologically destructive. The capitalist growth imperative in the global North and in the global South must be challenged, also in critical scholarship (Asara et al 2015; Kallis et al 2018; Chertkovskaya et al 2019). Critical Political Economy too often reproduces a kind of productivism under a ‘red’ banner. However, economic growth is not just a quantitative expansion of commodity production and consumption, but is related to power and domination, socio-environmental destruction, knowledge production and hegemonic ideologies. It also conceals alternatives that may exist in countries of the global South and in subaltern classes because it stabilises resource-extractivist economies and industrialisation at any cost.

Third, critical GPE examines power critically, which distinguishes it from many other approaches to (Global) Political Economy. Taking the deeply inscribed and hegemonic imperial mode of living into account, I stress a perspective of domination – that is, institutionalised and more or less accepted power relations – which is, of course, intrinsically linked to different ‘faces’ of power (Hay, 2002).

Fourth, the analysis of long-term structural changes is at the core of GPE as a discipline. Its strength lies in the important assumption that even specific and topical analyses are placed into their historical context, are considered from a perspective in which social relations and problems are historically created, contested and subject to change, in which relatively stable periods of capitalist development and crises occur and in which the capitalist mode of production and living is uneven in terms of time and space. The concept ‘imperial mode of living’ – which always include relations of production – is a particular contribution to this perspective as it emphasises the hegemonic character of the exploitation and even destruction of humans and nature. It should not be understood as an entirely alternative basis upon which to establish or undertake a critical GPE, but rather a bringing together of and further development of different strands of literature to better understand the dynamics and crises of globalising capitalism and the particular role of the commodification of work force and labour, the manifold mechanisms that the reproduction of capitalism bases on constant externalisation, the interplay of hegemony, power and exploitation, the interplay of everyday actions and social structures as well as the constant making of societal hierarchies along lines such as class, gender, race or international relations.

And finally, when it comes to practical emancipatory political alternatives such as eco-socialism, sustainable degrowth, post-development or concrete utopias (Wright, 2010; Lang et al 2015; Temper et al 2018; Klein and Morreo, 2019; Kothari et al, 2019), the proposed perspective undermines the dichotomy of top-down and bottom-up approaches to social-ecological transformations. Analysing historically concrete forms of hegemony and capitalist regulation means considering how the corridor of (top-down and bottom-up) alternatives tends to be systematically narrowed down to, at best, forms of capitalist ecological modernisation. It remains to be seen whether projects such as the greening of the economy or green capitalism may be capable of ushering in a new accumulation dynamic by changing the energy and resource base, and whether they can be more than just a passive revolution. From a critical perspective, there are many doubts. Powerful structures, interests and dispositifs of financial market capitalism still exist.

A critical and emancipatory concept of socio-ecological transformations implies analysing (and criticising in practice) the varied forms of societal domination. From a historical-materialist perspective, a crucial aporia of practical socio-ecological transformations lies in the fact that a new – sustainable, democratic, just and free – world must be realised on the terrain of existing forms of societal (re)production and domination, and must transcend them. As Marx argued at the beginning of The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1963 [1852]): ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.’ Marx stressed that from the (practical) critique of the ‘old’ world, a new one can be found. At a more concrete level, emancipatory transformation strategies must go beyond challenging the status quo and create progressive alternatives that are ‘rooted in concrete reforms’ and potentially capable of ‘neutralis[ing] the strategy of managing change through promoting a passive revolution’ (Showstack Sassoon, 2001: 13).

In that sense, the concept of the imperial mode of living aims to shed light on the contested historical formation of societal relations shaped by domination, which are often fetishised. This is also the case with the bio-physical preconditions of social life that are too often neglected or hidden in critical scholarship with its focus on capital relations and societal divisions of labour. But critical thinking shows that power and domination are based on and reproduce highly destructive societal nature relations. The concept of the imperial mode of living addresses the fact that the ‘dialectics of enlightenment’ leads to an epistemic domination of Western, rationalist, scientific-technological and male world views that lead to crises – and that alternatives to this thinking have always existed and should be recognised and strengthened. In that sense, a perspective informed by the ‘imperial mode of living’ would criticise eco-modernist and techno-fetishising positions and call for complex and context-sensitive degrowth strategies (Brand, 2018). History remains open, and critical analysis only can help us to better understand ‘what is’ and clearly state this.

What we call a ‘solidary mode of living’ (Brand and Wissen, 2021, Chapter 8) is a normative horizon that refers to historical and current experiences, proposals and struggles for overcoming the multi-faceted imperial mode of living and related power relations. It will help to understand the conditions – obstacles, contradictions and potentials – under which emancipatory socio-ecological transformations unfold. It consists of manifold concrete alternatives in niches and through experiments, alternative frameworks as a ‘eco-socialism’, ‘radical Green New Deal’, ‘degrowth’ or ‘foundational economy’ – the latter understood as infrastructures for good everyday living. It implies contested public policies to promote, for instance, public transport and to reduce the car-dependency of many societies – that is, including not only car use, but also production, infrastructure, global sourcing and so on for these vehicles (Foundational Economy Collective, 2018; Mattioli et al 2020). The term ‘solidary mode of living’ is close to Max Ajl’s (2021) ‘People’s Green New Deal’. Both concepts might inform the development of corresponding strategies for emancipatory transformations and could potentially help to overcome one major political deficiency of our time: the lack of plausible, credible and attractive alternatives that can be realised against powerful interests and practically lived by the people of the world.

Notes

1

The arguments of this paragraph are a condensed and accommodated version from Wissen and Brand, 2021. The concept ‘imperial mode of living’ does not address a clearly defined research problem which we are specifically trying to address; it’s more a research heuristic.

2

I use the term ‘subalterns’ in a broad sense, that is, Gramscian, sense, as opposed to the dominant classes of society. It thus also includes workers in capitalism.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Markus Wissen for so many inspiring discussions on the ‘imperial mode of living’ and other topics, for our fruitful common work and his useful feedback on this article.

Author biography

Ulrich Brand has worked as Professor of International Politics at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna since 2007. His research focuses on the crisis of liberal globalisation, global environmental politics, the imperial mode of living, Latin America, the greening of capitalism and social-ecological transformations.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

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  • Lang, M., Cevallos, B. and López, C. (eds) (2015) Cómo Transformar? El rol de las Instituciones en la Transformacion en América Latina y Europa, Quito: Fundacion Rosa Luxemburg y Abya Yala.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lessenich, S. (2019) Living Well at Others’ Expense. The Hidden Costs of Western Prosperity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

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  • Mastini, R., Kallis, G. and Hickel, J. (2021) A green new deal without growth?, Ecological Economics, 179: 106832. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106832

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Mattioli, G., Roberts, C., Steinberger, J. and Brown, A. (2020) The political economy of car dependence: a systems of provision approach, Energy Research & Social Science, 66: 101486.

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  • Salleh, A. (2017) Ecofeminism as Politics. Nature, Marx and the Postmodern, London: Zed Books.

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  • Svampa, M. (2019) Neo-extractivism in Latin America. Socio-environmental Conflicts, the Territorial Turn, and New Political Narratives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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  • Temper, L., Walter, M., Rodriguez, I., Kothari, A. and Turhan, E. (2018) A perspective on radical transformations to sustainability: resistances, movements and alternatives, Sustainability Science, 13(10): 38595.

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  • Wissen, M. and Brand, U. (2022) Emanzipatorische Perspektiven im ‘Anthropozän’. Über die Grenzen des grünen Kapitalismus und die Notwendigkeit eines ökosozialistischen Projekts [Emancipatory perspectives in the Anthropocene. On the limits of green capitalism and the necessity of an eco-socialist project], Prokla. Zeitschrift für Kritische Sozialwissenschaft, 52(2): forthcoming.

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  • Lang, M., Cevallos, B. and López, C. (eds) (2015) Cómo Transformar? El rol de las Instituciones en la Transformacion en América Latina y Europa, Quito: Fundacion Rosa Luxemburg y Abya Yala.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lessenich, S. (2019) Living Well at Others’ Expense. The Hidden Costs of Western Prosperity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Macmillen Voskoboynik, D. and Andreucci, D. (2021) Greening extractivism: environmental discourses and resource governance in the ‘Lithium Triangle’, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space (online).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marx, K. (1963 [1852]) The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, New York: International Publishers; quoted from the German edition, Marx-Engels-Werke 8, Berlin: Dietz, pp 11523.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mastini, R., Kallis, G. and Hickel, J. (2021) A green new deal without growth?, Ecological Economics, 179: 106832. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106832

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mattioli, G., Roberts, C., Steinberger, J. and Brown, A. (2020) The political economy of car dependence: a systems of provision approach, Energy Research & Social Science, 66: 101486.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McMichael, P. (2009) The world food crisis in historical perspective, Monthly Review, 61(3). doi: 10.14452/MR-061-03-2009-07_3

  • Merchant, C. (1987) Death of Nature. Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution, San Francisco: Harper & Row.

  • Mignolo, W. and Walsh, C.E. (2018) On Decoloniality. Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, Durham: Duke University Press.

  • Moore, P. (2015) Tracking bodies, the ‘quantified self’, and the corporal turn, in K. van der Pijl (ed) The International Political Economy of Production. Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp 394408.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2019) Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060: Economic Drivers and Environmental Consequences, Paris: OECD Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Patel, R. and Moore, J.W. (2017) A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet, Oakland: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quijano, A. (2000) Coloniality of power, eurocentrism, and Latin America, Nepentia. Views from the South, 1(3): 53380.

  • Ryner, M. (2021) Passive Revolution/Silent Revolution: Europe’s Recovery Plan, the Green Deal, and the German Question, Helsinki Centre for Global Political Economy Working Paper, 05/2021, Helsinki: University of Helsinki.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Salleh, A. (2017) Ecofeminism as Politics. Nature, Marx and the Postmodern, London: Zed Books.

  • Schumacher, J. (2021) Green New Deals. A Big Deal for Fair Climate Protection or Just the Latest Version of the Capitalist Model?, Brussels: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Showstack Sasson, A. (2001) Globalisation, hegemony and passive revolution, New Political Economy, 6(1): 2542.

  • Spash, C. (2020) The capitalist passive environmental revolution, The Ecological Citizen, 4: 6371.

  • Spash, C. (2021) Foundations for social ecological economics. Manuscript.

  • Svampa, M. (2015) Commodities consensus: neoextractivism and enclosure of the commons in Latin America, South Atlantic Quarterly, 114(1): 6582. doi: 10.1215/00382876-2831290

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Svampa, M. (2019) Neo-extractivism in Latin America. Socio-environmental Conflicts, the Territorial Turn, and New Political Narratives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Temper, L., Walter, M., Rodriguez, I., Kothari, A. and Turhan, E. (2018) A perspective on radical transformations to sustainability: resistances, movements and alternatives, Sustainability Science, 13(10): 38595.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) (2011) Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth, Report by the International Resource Panel, Paris: UNEP.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wanner, T. (2015) The new ‘passive revolution’ of the green economy and growth discourse: maintaining the ‘sustainable development’ of neoliberal capitalism, New Political Economy, 20(1): 2141. doi: 10.1080/13563467.2013.866081

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wissen, M. (2009) Klimawandel, Geopolitik und ‘imperiale Lebensweise’. Das Scheitern von ‘Kopenhagen’ und die strukturelle Überforderung internationaler Umweltpolitik [Climate change, geopolitics and ‘imperial mode of living’. The failure of ‘Copenhagen’ and the structural overburdening of international environmental policy], Kurswechsel, 2: 3038.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wissen, M. and Brand, U. (2021) Workers, trade unions, and the imperial mode of living: labour environmentalism from the perspective of hegemony theory, in N. Räthzel, D. Stevis and D. Uzzell (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Environmental Labour Studies, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 699720.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wissen, M. and Brand, U. (2022) Emanzipatorische Perspektiven im ‘Anthropozän’. Über die Grenzen des grünen Kapitalismus und die Notwendigkeit eines ökosozialistischen Projekts [Emancipatory perspectives in the Anthropocene. On the limits of green capitalism and the necessity of an eco-socialist project], Prokla. Zeitschrift für Kritische Sozialwissenschaft, 52(2): forthcoming.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wright, E. (2010) Envisioning Real Utopias, London: Verso.

  • 1 University of Vienna, Austria

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