Marx’s Ecological Saving Grace: His Materialism

“Marx’s Ecological Saving Grace: His Materialism,” [PDF], Imprints, vol. 5, no. 2 (Winter 2000-2001), pp. 173-87. (Review of Jonathan Hughes, Ecology and Historical Materialism.)

Criticisms of Marx for his alleged anti-environmentalist views are commonly voiced today not only by liberals and Green thinkers, but also within the eco-socialist discourse that has arisen over the last two decades. Such criticisms have been leveled, ofter with little evidence to back them up, by such diverse figures as Laszek Kolakowski, Anthony Soper and Alain Lipiets, In an article recently published in the eco-socialist journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, Lipietz, a leading representatives of the French regulation school, declared that Marx underestimated ‘the irreducible character of … ecological constraints’ and adopted ‘the Biblico-Christian ideology of the conquest of nature.’ At the same time he insisted that Marx tended to reduce ‘the natural history of umanity to the transformative activities of men,’ thereby ignoring nature’s own ‘ecoregulatory activities’ (a criticism first raised by Benton). Finally, Marx is faulted for claiming that ‘nature is the inorganic body of man,’ and ignoring that it is ‘just as well that of the bee or the royal eagle.’

, , ,

Comments are closed.