Nature on the Move: The Value and Circulation of Liquid Nature and the Emergence of Fictitious Conservation

  • Bram Büscher Institute of Social Studies, University of Erasmus
Keywords: conservation, nature, circulation, capital, value, production

Abstract

A rich body of literature investigates the many ways in which nature is impacted upon and transformed by the ‘endless accumulation of capital’. Much less attention has been reserved for understanding how capital increasingly aims to profit from the non-extractive or non-transformative use of nature. While recognized as important, the theorization of conservation as a capitalist project has only just commenced in earnest. The paper contributes to this project by positing that the commodities created through capitalist conservation constitute a radically different type of (constructing) capital, defined as ‘value in process’, with potentially fundamental implications for (neo or post) Marxist theory and conservation. The theoretical implications concern the relations between circulation and production in contemporary capitalism and how the emphasis in the creation of value is shifting from the latter to the former. This, however, does not mean that production becomes less important. Rather, its role in value creation changes dramatically when the commodity to be produced and circulated is ‘liquid nature’. In turn, the paper argues that this change in the production of ‘value’ together with the present velocity of circulation of capital that is needed to come to ‘liquid nature’ results in ‘fictitious conservation’.

Author Biography

Bram Büscher, Institute of Social Studies, University of Erasmus
Institute of Social Studies, Associate Professor
Published
2012-12-10
Section
Special Theme Articles