Several researchers argue that the root cause of today’s ecological disaster is not the anthropos, but the way we have been organizing the global economy through capitalism. It follows that we would be living in the Capitalocene rather than the Anthropocene. In this article, we demonstrate that the Capitalocene concept suffers from four intrinsic flaws, namely: (i) a fuzzy starting date, (ii) its inability to account for non-capitalist political regimes that were equally destructive to the environment, (iii) its incapacity to encompass a potential future with ecological disaster in the absence of capitalism, and (iv) the fact that the large-scale exploitation of nature and man refers to principles broader and older than capitalism. Indeed, we show that for the past two hundred years, capitalism fueled by fossil energy has only accelerated a logic of monopolization of nature whose origin coincides with that of the first empires. As a consequence, we propose to retain the Anthropocene label, but with two amendments: (i) redefining the onset of this epoch in ancient times, and (ii) making the distinction between two sub-epochs, the Agroligarkhian (from 1000 BCE to 1800) and the Thermoligarkhian (from 1800 to the present).
Adopting disruptive technologies for decarbonizing hard-to-abate industrial sectors requires experimentation through demonstration (pilot) projects. However, from an economic perspective, the potential long-term benefits and the difficulties in designing relevant public policies are not addressed in the standard valuations of those projects.
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