Michael J. Albert presents "Navigating the Polycrisis: Mapping the Futures of Capitalism and the Earth" in conversation with Quinn Lester

Michael J. Albert presents "Navigating the Polycrisis: Mapping the Futures of Capitalism and the Earth" in conversation with Quinn Lester

Wednesday, April 24th 2024
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
An innovative work of realism and utopianism that analyzes the possible futures of the world-system and helps us imagine how we might transition beyond capitalism.

The world-system of which we are all a part faces multiple calamities: climate change and mass extinction, the economic and existential threat of AI, the chilling rise of far-right populism, and the invasion of Ukraine, to name only a few. In Navigating the Polycrisis, Michael Albert seeks to illuminate how the “planetary polycrisis” will disrupt the global community in the coming decades and how we can best meet these challenges. Albert argues that we must devote more attention to the study of possible futures and adopt transdisciplinary approaches to do so. To provide a new form of critical futures analysis, he offers a theoretical framework—planetary systems thinking—that is informed by complexity theory, world-systems theory, and ecological Marxism.

Navigating the Polycrisis builds on existing work on climate futures and the futures of capitalism and makes three main contributions. First, the book brings together modeling projections with critical social theory in a more systematic way than has been done so far. Second, the book shows that in order to grasp the complexity of the planetary polycrisis, we must analyze the convergence of crises encompassing the climate emergency, the structural crisis of global capitalism, net energy decline, food system disruption, pandemic risk, far-right populism, and emerging technological risks (e.g. in the domains of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nuclear weapons). And third, the book contributes to existing work on postcapitalist futures by analyzing the processes and mechanisms through which egalitarian transitions beyond capitalism might occur.

A much-needed work of global futures studies, Navigating the Polycrisis brings together the rigor of the natural and social sciences and speculative imagination informed by science fiction to forge pathways to our possible global future.

Michael J. Albert is a Lecturer in Global Environmental Politics at the University of Edinburgh. His research explores the global politics of climate, energy, and food in the context of global capitalism. His forthcoming book is titled _Navigating the Polycrisis: Mapping the Futures of Capitalism and the Earth. _It brings complexity theory and Marxism together with insights from the earth system sciences, ecological economics, energy studies, and critical security studies to explore the possible futures of the world-system. In doing so the book engages ongoing debates on green capitalism, degrowth & ecosocialism, and police-prison abolition. He has also written about climate emergency discourse, the geopolitics of renewable energy, and the intersections between militarization and the energy transition.

Quinn Lester is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. He researches and writes at the intersection of democratic theory and police studies, with published or forthcoming articles on policing, police abolition, self-defense, and rioting in Constellations, Politics, Groups, and Identities; New Political Science, and Social Science Quarterly.

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