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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The beginning of the twenty-first century is characterized by instability in the world-system—ecological, economic, and political. Immanuel Wallerstein, based on Ilya Prigogine’s concepts, argues the capitalist world-system is its crisis phase and now faces its inevitable transition to a new state. This chapter introduces a new concept, sociopoiesis, to integrate the complexity sciences with Wallerstein’s approach to crisis and Karl Marx’s understanding of metabolism and metabolic rift. Based on these ideas, this article demonstrates that capitalism cannot be ecologically sustainable due to how it organizes its relationship with nature: its sociopoiesis. The ecological rifts created by the capitalist sociopoiesis will eventually put pressure on the crisis phase Wallerstein describes in the capitalist world-system.

Keywords: sociopoiesis, autopoiesis, Marx, metabolic rift, Wallerstein, world-system, entropy, Prigogine, crisis, environment

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