Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism
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Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism

Edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás

Climate change is causing traditional political and legal concepts to be revisited. The emergence of a global polity through physical, economic and social interaction demands global responses which should be founded upon new principles and which cannot simply be modelled on traditional constitutionalism centred on the nation-state. This Research Handbook explores how to build this climate constitutionalism at a global level, starting from the narrative of Anthropocene and its implications for law. It provides a critical approach to global environmental constitutionalism, analysing the problems of sustainability and global equity which are entwined with the causes and consequences of climate change. The Handbook explores how to develop constitutional discourses and strategies to address these issues, and thereby tackle the negative effects of climate change whilst also advancing a more sustainable, equitable and responsible global society.
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Chapter 2: The Anthropocene challenge to our worldview

Alf Hornborg


The emergent worldview of the Anthropocene is reorganizing our way of drawing boundaries between the natural and the social. Never has it been so apparent that the economic models and doctrines that guide our politicians cannot be cultivated in isolation from natural science. The Anthropocene prompts us to rethink the modern concept of ‘technology’, which tends to raise expectations of a magical human ingenuity that promises to liberate us from all kinds of limitations, but which involves a less obvious, distributive dimension that is essentially social. This chapter discusses some societal, philosophical and existential implications of Earth System science and the notion of the Anthropocene. It argues that the many commentators on our global predicament fail to seriously consider the idea of general-purpose money, which is arguably the ultimate root of the Anthropocene predicament. This predicament will ultimately force us to acknowledge – contrary to a conventional modern worldview – the natural, physical aspects of what we know as economic growth, as well as the social, distributive aspects of what we know as technological progress. Such a shift of perspective requires that we recognize the aggregate capacity of monetary flows to physically reorganize the Earth System, not least through the accumulation of fossil fuel technologies. Most fundamentally, we shall have to acknowledge that the quintessential artefact of modernity – the meme of general-purpose money – embodies an intrinsic logic that inexorably generates widening global gaps and environmental destruction.

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