[OPE-L:152] the place of environmental topics in Marx's theory

Tony Smith (tonys@iastate.edu)
Wed, 27 Sep 1995 06:30:44 -0700

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It seems to me that in Marx's methodology there are two ways of dealing
with topics that have to be covered. The first is to find their proper
place in the systematic progression from the most abstract and simple
economic categories to the most concrete and complex ones. But there
are other sorts of topics that deserve consideration on each stage in
this progression. For instance, there is no one place where it is
proper to consider the dynamics of technical change in capitalism. In
volume I it is appropriate to consider technical change that can be used
by capital as a weapon to break strikes and speed-up the labor process;
in Volume II it is appropriate to consider technologies that increase
the rate of turnover of capital investments, in Volume III it is
appropriate to consider technologies that lower constant capital costs,
selling costs, and so on. I would say that environmental questions are
of this second sort. On each stage of the progression Marx introduces
features of capitalism that have implications for the environment.

Tony Smith (tonys@iastate.edu)