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Vergara-Camus, Leandro (2017) 'Capitalism, Democracy, and the Degrowth Horizon.' Capitalism Nature Socialism, 30 (2). pp. 217-233.

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This papers seeks to contribute to a dialogue between the degrowth perspective and Marxist approaches on the sources and possible solutions to the ongoing ecological crisis of capitalism. While I agree with the general critique that the degrowth movement has raised not only against the consequences of growth but also against the idea of growth itself, I argue that the root causes of the destructive character of capitalism are not to be found in growth, but in capitalist accumulation. I present my reading of three of Marx’s most important contributions to our understanding of capitalism and argue for an understanding that puts the emphasis on the separation of the labourers from the means of production, alienated labour, the imperative and the dynamic of competition, and the limited nature of liberal democracy. I argue that growth could be greened in a post-capitalist society if the institutions and dynamics that drive capitalist accumulation were abolished and full democracy was established. The paper ends with a description of how the Zapatista movement in Chiapas and the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil managed to unevenly and contradictorily challenge and subvert some of the social institutions and dynamics that sustain capitalist accumulation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Marx, capitalist accumulation, competition, control of the means of production, de-commodification
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 15483290
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Center for Political Ecology. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Capitalism Nature Socialism on 04 Jul 2017, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2017 15:33

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