New Criticals

The production of capitalist nature has arguably progressed furthest today in the field of biotechnology. Completely new commodities are literally produced in laboratories such as genetically modified seeds, immortalized cell-lines and even genetically modified mammals. Bio-capitalism has irreversibly moved past the stage of merely harvesting given resources or expropriating the biological properties of the nature it externalized; it is now producing its own capitalist nature for expropriation.

The fantasy guiding the biotechnological conquest of nature involves nothing less than an effort to bypass the very externality of nature that capitalism itself promulgated. Dependence on the availability of external nature for every cycle of production represents a considerable obstacle and source of insecurity for capital. Insofar as organisms can be harvested and engineered to reproduce themselves continuously, the need for continued plunder of external nature for raw materials is attenuated. …The increasingly social reproduction of nature incrementally infiltrates any remnants of a recognizably external nature (Smith 2007, 11).