Energy and Capitalism

project sponsor

University of Augsburg

project leader

Dr. Stephan Bosch
Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt

Many scientists associate energy transformation with an economic reorientation of society, as a result of which there must be a radical change in working and living conditions as well as in production and consumption patterns. They claim that the energy shift towards renewable energies must no longer be based on the logic of capitalism. This raises the question of whether the move away from fossil fuels must in fact and necessarily be accompanied by radical socio-economic changes. To this end, the central arguments of the environmental and resource-related critique of capitalism were analysed within the framework of the project and examined in a theoretical approach to the extent to which they comprehensibly link the end of fossil fuels with the end of capitalism. Joseph Alois Schumpeter´s 'Theory of Economic Development' served as a theoretical point of reference, which, with its explanatory approach of 'creative destruction', still provides remarkable insights into the robustness and capabilities of capitalist systems today. The study came to the conclusion that the overcoming of the environmental and resource crisis does not necessarily have to take place by overcoming market-based approaches, but that state-supported, competition-oriented market economies based on renewable energy systems can develop a great ecological effectiveness.


selected publications:


  • Bosch S., Schmidt M. (2020): Wonderland of technology? How energy landscapes reveal inequalities and injustices of the German Energiewende. In: Energy Research & Social Science, 70, 101733.
  • Bosch S., Schmidt M. (2020): Ungerechte Energielandschaften – die Produktion von Raum im Kontext der Transformation des deutschen Energiesystems. In: Geographica Helvetica, 75 (3), 235-251.
  • Bosch S., Schmidt M. (2019): Is the post-fossil era necessarily post-capitalistic? – The robustness and capabilities of green capitalism. In: Ecological Economics, 161, 270-279.
  • Bosch S., Schmidt M. (2019): Auswirkungen neuer Energiesysteme auf die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung – Möglichkeiten eines grünen Kapitalismus. In: NachhaltigkeitsManagementForum.
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