While climate change has become the dominant concern of the twenty-first century, global powers refuse to implement the changes required to reverse these trends. Rather, they have neoliberalized nature and climate change politics and discourse, indicating a more virulent strain of capital accumulation on the horizon. Adrian Parr calls attention to the problematic socioeconomic condition of neoliberal capitalism underpinning the world's environmental challenges, and she argues that, until we grasp the implications of neoliberalism's interference in climate change talks and policy, humanity is on track to an irreversible crisis.
Parr not only exposes the global failure to produce equitable political options for environmental regulation, but she also breaks down the dominant political paradigms hindering the discovery of a viable alternative. She highlights the neoliberalization of nature in the development of green technologies, land use, dietary habits, reproductive practices, consumption patterns, design strategies, and media. She dismisses the notion that the free market can solve debilitating environmental degradation and climate change as nothing more than a political ghost emptied of its collective aspirations. Parr decries what she perceives as a failure of the human imagination and an impoverishment of political institutions, and she ruminates on the nature of change and existence in the absence of a future. The sustainability movement, she argues, must engage more aggressively with the logic and cultural manifestations of consumer economics to take hold of a more transformative politics. If the economically powerful continue to monopolize the meaning of environmental change, she warns, new, more promising collective solutions to our problems will fail to take root.
"I know of no other book in climate change/sustainability literature that applies Marxist thinking in the way this text does. Its greatest strength lies in its seeing how the diverse aspects of climate change and environmental damage all result from the same underlying forces: the neoliberal exploitation of resources and the appropriation of green solutions in order to continue that exploitation in a new guise."
– Tom Fisher, University of Minnesota
"There is no other book like The Wrath of Capital currently available – it is in a class of its own. It links the analysis of the current environmental crisis with political economy, and this in turn is connected with a certain configuration of the philosophical imagination. In itself this ambition is laudable, but what really matters is that Parr really does succeed in writing a book that establishes these linkages."
– Kenneth Surin, Duke University
"Adrian Parr reminds us that even our best intentions as planetary stakeholders exist under the regime of neoliberalism – a regime that the devastations of climate change and climate capitalism are only rendering more powerful day by day. Our will to do good is as subject to commodification as fossil fuels or carbon offsets, and those beautiful narratives of modernity are as distracting from authentic and radical change as any free market 'solutions' to the climate crisis. The Wrath of Capital wrenches us from the pleasant daydream of environmental ethics and reminds us, relentlessly, that any thought of greenhouse gas emissions as 'externality,' or of economics as distinct from the social and political, is pernicious."
– Karen Pinkus, Cornell University
"This book is a welcome addition to the spate of recent books on the ecological and resource calamities currently facing the planet. Unlike so many others – one thinks in this context of authors as disparate as Bill McKibben and Richard Heinberg – Parr analyses the crisis in the context of global inequality and social injustice."
– Allan Stoekl, Radical Philosophy
"an engaging, hard-hitting critique of neoliberalism"
"With this short, pointed, and very welcome text, Parr blends political theory and startling fact to refresh our understanding about the capitalist roots of environmental change."
– Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing
"With disarming wit and clarity, Parr successfully demystifies the green dreams of free market capitalism and their tangled connections to public policy, governance, and politics. Her open-ended engagement with Marxism offers an inspiring model of critical practice and a vital starting point for alternative futures in the global present."
– C. Greig Crysler, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Business as Usual
1. Climate Capitalism
2. Green Angels or Carbon Cowboys?
4. To Be or Not to Be Thirsty
5. Sounding the Alarm on Hunger
6. Animal Pharm
7. Modern Feeling and the Green City
Afterword: In the Danger Zone
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Adrian Parr is associate professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design and at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of Hijacking Sustainability, Deleuze and Memorial Culture: Desire, Singular Memory, and the Politics of Trauma, and New Directions in Sustainable Design (coedited with Michael Zaretsky).