Theorizing a post-capitalist future with Kim Stanley Robinson

In a wide-ranging interview with CCCB Lab, Kim Stanley Robinson (previously) discusses the origin of his climate-inspired, critical science fiction, which envisions futures in which the climate catastrophe arrives and precipitates the long-overdue crisis of capitalism.

This is brilliantly explored in his latest novel, New York 2140, with "sea level rise to be significant enough to make Lower Manhattan like a Venice, to be a kind of giant symbol of the current situation with climate change."

If the Anthropocene is a crisis, an end of the road for capitalism, well, what is post-capitalism? This I find painfully under-discussed and under-theorized. As a Sci-Fi writer, an English major, a storyteller – not a theorist nor a political economist – looking for help, looking for theories and speculations as to what will come next and how it will work, and finding a near emptiness. Finding a little town in northern Spain, Mondragon, which is a 170,000-people, a two-billion-dollar economy. It's big and interesting but it's one trillionth of the size of the world and very few people know about it anyway.

When you think about what the other post-capitalisms are, you come up with a blank. And here is the aporia, as they call it: the non-seeing that is in human culture today. This is another aspect of the Anthropocene. It's here but we haven't found out about it yet, and we haven't taken it on. This is a fundamentally different situation we are in, and so political economy comes back.

Economics is the quantitative and systematic analysis of capitalism itself. Economics doesn't do speculative or projective economics; perhaps it should, I mean, I would love it if it did, but it doesn't. It's a dangerous moment, as well as a sign of cultural insanity and incapacity. It's like you've got macular degeneration and your vision of reality itself were just a big black spot precisely in the direction you are walking.

Angry Optimism in a Drowned World: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson
[José Luis de Vicente/CCCB Lab]

(via Beyond the Beyond)