Title of Book

Freedom in the Anthropocene: Twentieth-Century Helplessness in the Face of Climate Change


Sociology and Anthropology

Document Type

Book Section/Chapter

Place of Publication

New York


Palgrave Macmillan

Year of Publication


Page Range



This chapter situates Moishe Postone's critique of traditional Marxism in relation to the present moment of the Great Acceleration. We engage a close reading of Postone reinterpretation of Marx's mature theory of capital with specific focus on the linkage between economic growth and ecological degradation, and how this linkage is necessary connected to social domination in modern capitalist society. Postone's Marxian theory is significant because, as we demonstrate, it allows one to grasp societally induced environmental degradation following WWII in a critical and reflexive manner. The chapter concludes by discussing the growing sense of helplessness that defines the present moment of the Great Acceleration.