Abstract: The paper aims to deepen our understanding of advanced capitalism’s drivers of growth by drawing on some theoretical insights from radical political economy and ecological economics. Through an institutional analysis of the structure of advanced capitalism as a monetary production economy, it is possible to propose a theory of accumulation that explains the tight coupling of overproduction and overconsumption on which rests its reproduction as a social form. It has been argued by pioneering figures such as Veblen and Baran and Sweezy that in such an economy ‘waste’ is not a byproduct of metabolic activity, it is a desired and planned mode of surplus absorption. This has important implications for any theory of ecological transition. This structural analysis will be complemented by a conjunctural analysis that will highlight some important contradictions of the current phase of advanced capitalism, late neoliberalism, where stagnationist tendencies are reworking the institutional forms and dynamics on which the coupling of overproduction and overconsumption rest in the global North.
Working Paper 5/2016 der DFG-Kollegforscher_innengruppe Postwachstumsgesellschaften