Excerpts from Introduction to Third Phase Transition: Solving The Anthropocene Crisis

On three metabolic phases

“Evolution has gone through two metabolic phases: harvesting metabolism and linear metabolism. A third phase is now possible: globally advanced circular metabolism.

“Sticking to harvesting metabolism would have tended to lead to a general plunder crisis. Sudden climate change, in combination with human overkill, had led to extinction of megafauna in entire regions and even continents.”

“Definition of agricultural society’s original linear metabolism should be exploitation of the soil through exploitation of human labour. Emergence of this type of metabolism could be counted by thousands of years. Linear metabolism would culminate in a much more rapid tempo. It has now endured for a few hundred years, by geological exploitation of Planet Earth. This fossil regime of resource extraction signified a culmination in exploitation of human labour by machinery. The industrial revolution of capitalism marks the end of the linear phase.

During this entire phase, class society had proven itself to be a superior form of association in developing productive forces. It had brought human evolution from self-subsistent small-scale production into associated integration in the modern industrial society. Its level of human association has exerted an irresistibly attractive force. In the light of the Anthropocene crisis, this phase of linear metabolism can be evaluated as a completed natural historic experience. Development of productive forces, as the general principle of exploitation, is depleted.

“The presently attained human level of social integration, which has been facilitated by globalisation, is not nearly enough. Much more will be necessitated by the Anthropocene crisis. But the processes emerging within globalisation form the given starting point. We have already gone far into the third phase transition. Advanced circular metabolism has become an acute necessity globally. And this is presently starting to penetrate common sense.

Human society needs to embed itself anew into global ecology and its circular metabolism.

“Within integrated associations, an axis of self-organised productive and scientific labour would form their organising principle, leading optimal conversion to advanced circular metabolism. By such integration of manual and intellectual labour at all levels of association, embodying integration of united science into everyday life, a natural metabolic standard of socially recognized labour would be constituted, a base level towards which other types of labour might be commensurately measured. In short, science and the working class need to clinch hands.”

Such a [virtual and non-fungible ‘humus’] currency would measure collective intelligence in the planet’s life system. It would be based in monitoring and measuring the relative ecological and social status throughout the planet. It would balance self-organisation’s auto-contracted resource allocation, according to natural and social need. Growth would be measured as increasing aggregate resources, getting equitably available to society, as positive feedback from success in re-integrating it into circular metabolism.”

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