Die ekologiese krisis, kapitalistiese ekonomie en tegno-optimisme / The ecological crisis, capitalist economy and techno-optimism

The ecological crisis, capitalist economy and techno-optimismThis article is an attempt to put into perspective the complex relationships pertaining to the role of the currently dominant economic practice of neoliberal capitalism, as well as of the pervasive technophilia in global societies, in the...

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Published in: Tydskrif vir geesteswetenskappe Vol. 58; no. 3; pp. 464 - 482
Main Author: Olivier, Bert
Format: Journal Article
Language: Afrikaans
Published: Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns 09-01-2018
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Summary: The ecological crisis, capitalist economy and techno-optimismThis article is an attempt to put into perspective the complex relationships pertaining to the role of the currently dominant economic practice of neoliberal capitalism, as well as of the pervasive technophilia in global societies, in the growing ecological crisis – probably the most serious crisis that has faced humanity in its entire collective existence. In the first place, to answer the question, whether there is an ecological crisis – not a rhetorical question, given the relative success of denialist attempts to discredit affirmative claims in this regard – a succinct account of the state of natural ecological systems on planet Earth is provided, with reference to evidence to this effect in the freely accessible, growing scientific and critical literature. This literature includes the fifth (and most recent) report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has confirmed the high probability (the highest possible scientific affirmation) that anthropogenic climate change has been happening for some time, and has already harmed planetary ecologies, including human ones. Further (critical) affirmation of the ecological crisis in the work of leading thinkers is adduced and discussed, including that of Joel Kovel, Naomi Klein, John Bellamy Foster and Thomas Princen, with a view to demonstrating the seriousness of the global situation by highlighting the extent to which “natural” states of affairs – regarding Earth processes such as global warming, ocean acidification, species extinction and chemical pollution – are approaching “red alert” status.Hierdie artikel poog om die problematiek rondom die verhouding tussen die huidige, groeiende ekologiese krisis – waarskynlik die grootste krisis in menslike geskiedenis – en die dominante ekonomiese praktyk van neoliberale kapitalisme in perspektief te stel. Eerstens word die ekologiese krisis in bondige terme geskets, met verwysing na getuienis hiervan in die vrylikbeskikbare, groeiende wetenskaplike en ander literatuur, wat onteenseglike aanduiding is van die bestaan van sodanige krisis. Daarna word die verhouding tussen hierdie toedrag van sake en die kapitalistiese beginsel van grenslose ekonomiese groei aan die orde gestel, in die lig van die stelling dat onbeteuelde ekonomiese groei nie binne ’n eindige ekologiese sisteem moontlik is nie. Bowendien het die uitwerking van ongebreidelde ekonomiese groei onder kapitalisme demonstreerbare, vernietigende gevolge vir die omvattende eko-sisteem, soos wat dit waargeneem kan word in die veranderinge wat daar reeds in sommige “aardprosesse”, soos oseaanversuring, globale verwarming, spesie-uitsterwing, en so meer, plaasvind. Daar word uitgebrei op die gevolge hiervan vir die voortgesette bestaan van lewende wesens op aarde. Ten einde die gronde van die ekologiese krisis beter te verstaan, word die kwessie van wydverspreide tegno-optimisme vervolgens ondersoek, in die oortuiging dat daar ’n verband is tussen genoemde krisis en die obsessie met tegnologie wat die huidige era kenmerk. Ter afsluiting word besin oor wat die huidige toedrag van sake filosofies impliseer sover dit die moontlike uitsterwing van die mensdom en ander lewende wesens betref.
ISSN: 0041-4751
DOI: 10.17159/2224-7912/2018/v58n3a2