“The Crisis of the Earth: Marx’s Theory of Ecological Sustainability as a Nature-Imposed Necessity for Human Production” [PDF], Organization and Environment, vol. 10, no. 3 (September 1997), pp. 280-97. DOI: 10.1177/0921810697103003
Any systematic, forward-looking ecological vision must include three elements: (a) a theory of ecological crisis and its relation to human production; (b) a concept of sustainability as a nature-imposed necessity for production; (c) a vision of the transcendence of ecological crisis that establishes sustainability as a core part of any future society. All three elements are to be found in the work of Karl Marx. Marx `s analysis of the crisis of the earth (or soil) in the mid-nineteenth century led him to a concept of sustainability that was central to his vision of communist society. Because this concept of sustainability was rooted both in a critique of capitalism and a vision of a future society, it has a richness and complexity all its own. A close examination of Marx `s concept of sustainability therefore offers important insights into the possibilities for the creation of a more sustainable social order.
- Chapter 6 in Craig H. Humphrey, Tammy L. Lewis, and Frederick H. Buttel, ed., Environment, Energy, and Society: Exemplary Works (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2003), pp. 120-36.