The Entropy of Capitalism (Studies in Critical Social Sciences)
The project of applying general systems theory to social sciences is crucial in today’s crisis when social and ecological systems clash. This book concretely demonstrates the necessity of a Marxist approach to this challenge, notably in asserting agency (struggle) as against determinism. It similarly shows how Marxism can be reinvigorated from a systems perspective. Drawing on his experience in both international systems and low-input agriculture, Biel explores the interaction of social and physical systems, using the conceptual tools of thermodynamics and information. He reveals the early twenty-first century as a period when capitalism starts parasitising on the chaos it itself creates, notably in the link between the two sides of imperialism: militarism (the ‘war on terror’) and speculative finance capital.
Robert Biel, PhD (1991) International Relations, London School of Economics, teaches political ecology at University College London and publishes extensively, including The New Imperialism (Zed Books, 2000). He researches systems theory and conducts a wide-ranging practical programme on urban agriculture.