Haymarket Books
Books for changing the world
The Entropy of Capitalism
Capitalism sews chaos throughout society with crises and wars. In the twenty-first century it has begun feeding on this entropy.
The project of applying general systems theory to social sciences is crucial in today’s crisis when social and ecological systems clash. This book concretely demonstrates the necessity of a Marxist approach to this challenge, notably in asserting agency (struggle) as against determinism. It similarly shows how Marxism
can be reinvigorated from a systems perspective.

Drawing on his experience in both international systems and low-input agriculture, Biel explores the interaction of social and physical systems, using the conceptual tools of thermodynamics and information. He reveals the early twenty-first century as a period when capitalism starts parasitizing on the chaos it itself creates, notably in the link between the two sides of imperialism: militarism (the ‘war on terror’) and speculative finance capital.
  • "There is now a constant flow, if not a flood, of books on the various overlapping crises of the present – climate change and ecological destruction, the economic crisis, peak oil etc.. In The Entropy of Capitalism, however, Robert Biel has produced an analysis, synthesizing all of these developments, that certainly deserves a place on your bookshelf. It is a fascinating and insightful book, about which there is too much to say, every page warranting copious marginalia and underlining.
    —David Tyfield, Journal of Critical Realism

    “Overall, The Entropy of Capitalism constitutes an important contribution to the debate on the (un)sustainability of capitalism, and offers an interesting complement to similar theories, like Gunther Teubner’s idea of ‘systemic addiction.’ The book is very thoroughly researched, and made even more interesting by the author’s own involvement in transition initiatives (like Transition Town Brixton) and the urban agriculture movement.”
    —Luigi Russi, The Commons Sense