Tuesday 24 July, 2012

The Biopolitics of Biosphere Complexity: Neoliberal Markets Vs. Cyborg Markets


Public Lecture by Prof. Philip Mirowski

How can it be that the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the deepest financial crisis since 1930s have done so little to undermine the supremacy of orthodox economics? Five years ago, it appeared that the world was about to take climate change seriously. Since the onset of the global financial crisis, however, surveys show that publics have increasingly come to believe that the science of global warming is seriously open to doubt. And despite the failure of existing carbon markets to reduce emissions, recent proposals to address the global extinctions of species involve establishing profit-driven ‘markets for ecosystem services’.

In this lecture, Prof Mirowski responds to the question of how it is that Science came to be subordinate to Economics, and the very future of Nature to be contingent upon The Market. Charting the contradictions of the contemporary political landscape, he notes that science denialism, markets for pollution permits and proposals for geo-engineering can all be understood as political strategies designed to neutralize the impact of environmentalism, as they all originated in the network of corporate-sponsored think-tanks that have made neoliberal accounts of society, politics and the economy so prevalent that even the most profound crises are unable to shake their grip on the political imagination. For those of us who are still paying attention, the task of constructing an alternative politics of Science and Markets is a vital one….