The Capitalocene is an alternative social theory to explain the current ecological crisis, which focuses on capital and capitalism rather than the collective responsibility of man and the human race in general. Critics of the anthropocene narrative, including Andreas Malm and Alf Hornborg, ecologists at Lund University in Sweden, point out that environmental degradation and climate change are not the collective primordial crime of mankind (anthropocene) but the result of capitalism responsible for social inequalities and the appropriation of cheap nature. In the 19th century, the fossil fuel based economy was not created and maintained by mankind as a whole, but by a group of capitalists seeking to increase the productivity of their companies. As a result of global class differences, the richest and poorest do not contribute equally to pollutant emissions (e.g. the richest 1% of Americans, Luxembourgers and Saudi Arabians emit two thousand times more CO2 than the poorest Hondurans, Mozambicans and Rwandans).
The capitalist economy interested in capital accumulation appropriates raw materials, energy sources, food necessary for production cheaply, and often for free, and does not pay for the labour-power needed to operate the system. Thus, continued growth is guaranteed by the exploitation of wage labour and the depletion of nature. According to Jason W. Moore, a prominent figure in critical ecological thinking, capitalism is not a socio-economic system, but a world-ecological nature-making praxis that is facilitated by the appropriation of cheap nature. His main insight is that capitalism has now exhausted the Four Cheap Resources (labour-power, food, energy, raw materials). And the end of Cheap Nature means that the “unpaid costs” manifest themselves as ecosystem degradation and climate change, which hinder continued economic growth and thus bring about a crisis of capitalism. Moore therefore argues that it is not humanity as a whole which is responsible for the ecological crisis (anthropocene), but that the root of the problem lies in the profit-oriented logic of capitalism (capitalocene).
Post-humanism is a generic term that contains several schools, often opposing each other and being grounded in different underlying principles. Their common aspect is the search for the new position of mankind in an era after the crisis and breakdown of classical humanism. Their other core principle does not regard humankind as the central element of existence – as the anthropocentric approach of classical humanism does –, but rather as a higher, or merely different degree of (co-)evolution.
A few examples of post–humanist doctrines include anti–humanism, related mainly to French philosopher Louis Althusser (1919–1990). Anti–humanists are critical of all traditional humanist ideas that consider humanity and the human condition fundamental. Althusser considers humanism an ideological state apparatus (appareil idéologique d’État), a relation between authority and knowledge – thus it cannot be seen as the universal value or natural state of being as believed to be since the Renaissance.
Trans–humanism praises the omnipotence of rationality and science. Their thesis is that future technological developments will result in the creation of the highly improved version of the human, called the post–human or trans–human state of being.
Speculative humanism explores the common future of clones, hybrids and humans, and the possibility of a humanless future. Critical post–humanism defines an image of man that co-evolves with its environment and technology inseparably.
Animal studies aims at eliminating our deeply ingrained dualistic thinking regarding nature and culture, science and non-science, and human and animal; it also strives to constitute the ethics of animal rights.