[OPE-L:6544] marx, engels, and ecology

From: ECUSERS (ECBURKE@scifac.indstate.edu)
Date: Sat Feb 09 2002 - 14:05:45 EST

I disagree with the view that Marx and Engels completely missed the 
boat on ecology, and I have written at length in opposition to this 
view in my book MARX AND NATURE and numerous articles.  These 
writings explore the issue not in generalized AD HOMINEM terms but by 
looking at Marx and Engels' thought as a whole and at specific 
concepts they developed.  John Bellamy Foster's book MARX'S ECOLOGY 
comes to similar conclusions as my own, based on his historical-
intellectual analysis of the development of Marx and Engels' 
thinking and how it was shaped in various crucial ways by their 
engagement with the works of what would nowadays be called ecologists 
like Liebig and others.  (My review of John's book was published in 
NEW POLITICS, #31, Summer 2001, and there has been a lively debate 
about the significance of John's work in the 2001 volume of the 
journal CAPITALISM, NATURE, SOCIALISM.  See especially Jason Moore's 
contribution in the September-01 issue.)

I do not have time to participate in lengthy debates on this list 
(too many other things to do you know), and I apologize for being 
such a lurker, but I would like to say that the purpose of both my 
work and John's is not merely the textual defense of Marx and Engels 
but to further develop the ecological resources of historical 
materialism -- which we argue to be quite considerable not despite, 
but because of, the general outlook and specific conceptual 
apparatuses developed by Marx and Engels, including their value 
analysis.  I developed these points in some detail in a two-part 
response to Ted Benton's "ecological critique and reconstruction" of 
Marx, published in the new journal HISTORICAL MATERIALISM, No. 2 and 
No. 3, respectively.  Ted Benton's response to my arguments, along 
with my rejoinder, are in HM #8 which is supposed to be published 
this month.  I mention these things because some people on the list 
may be interested in a discussion of the specific issues and 
questions raised by the ecological reading of classical Marxism and 
the need to develop an ecological Marxism for today's world.   

Cheers, Paul Burkett

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