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The Demise of Capitalism?: Lessons from an Entropic Perspective on the Current Crises - Review of Robert Biel (2012) 'The Entropy of Capitalism'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Critical Realism
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)112-128
<mark>Original language</mark>English


How are we to understand the multiple overlapping crises of the present? In a superbly enlightening synthesis of Marxian (critique of) political economy and systems theory, Robert Biel presents a compelling case for the importance of an entropic perspective, regarding both thermodynamic and informational flows that constitute and transform social systems. This perspective offers an insightful analysis of neoliberalism as an attempt to harness the entropic benefits of spontaneous and complex emergence for the purposes of capitalist accumulation. The current crises may thus be understood as the overflowing of the resulting
complexity and the pathological response of neoliberal powers, further
accelerating this process. But is capitalism itself thus exhausted? An alternative
scenario of rejuvenated capitalism is outlined, together with the implications of Biel’s analysis for critical realism, critical social theory and a politics of the Left.