Post-ProfWork Home Page

Summary: This stub provides a refreshed working version of the post-retirement profwork home page.

This stub tracks work of interest to me in regirement: Capitalism in climate crisis.

Mission and Goals:

The mission of my newly framed project remains consistent with my Statement of Concern that has steadily defined my mission since 2007, while still teacing at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Since my retirement on July 1, 2015, my interests have extended this conundrum to include a long-term horizon as capitalism brings widespread destruction, sometimes called the Anthropocene --- but coinciding with capitalism's Industrial Revolution. My concern has deepened to speculate that capitalism cannot adequately adapt to rectify or adapt adequately to climate-related challenges. The results will be an irreversible and nearly ubiquitous catastrophe. Remedial and adaptive measures will come to late, well after the point when the capacity to fix the internal crises of capitalism are yet intact, perhaps 2030 --- a mere decade beyond my writing these words in September, 2019.

Indeed, while others have advocated de-growth, steady states. and other wishful optimism, I remain convinced that capitalism will not morph into an earth- and humanity-friendly form in time to avert a catastrophe that could loom, or become only too obvious in daily life, by 2050, even by 2030. Projections to 2100, the end of this century, are way too late and, as I regard it, too optimistic. Indeed, billions enjoy the fruits of capitalism, as do I, but the uneven benefits and costs will, as I forecast, deteriorate far sooner than a response can be formulated and implemented. Hence, I stand to raise my voice of alarm, hoping to be wrong.

Capitalism Breaking Down

The story line is this: Economic and population growth has already started to stall in the richer countries, while the rest of the world will include some nations that will continue to increase GDP, even while others deteriorate into failed states, unable to secure susbistence or security for its inhabitants. No need to advocate for de-growth or steady state: These conditions are on the way within a decade.

However, the rewards associated with tolerating capitalism's downsides for the sake of prosperity of those well positioned in the market networks will diminish, as will the supporters of capitalist regimes. Inequality, fiscal crisis, kleptocracy, geopolitical rifts, and the rectionary capture of nation states by elites, often capitalist oligarchs and their mandarins, will set the stage for the finale: the calamitous uninhabitability of the Earth. The destruction of ecosystems, resource depletion, the overwhelming of disposal sinks, and, finally, the arrival of full-blown climate catastrophes.


Certainly, the keyword here, capitalism, carries baggage. I an not a Marxist, so let's get that straight right now. My acknowledged determism flows from the enormous power of the dynamics of capitalism, which is often dimly understood. For example, the extant capital stock includes trillions of dollars of sunk investment and privately held resource endowments. The situation has been well captured by Frederick Douglas:

Sources and Citations

The sources annotated support this topic.

Capitalism Breaking Down 2050 Project Web Site |
© Wayne Hayes, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sustainability, Ramapo College | ™ ProfWork
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