[OPE-L:155] where does ecology come in?

ECUSER (ECBURKE@scifac.indstate.edu)
Wed, 27 Sep 1995 10:30:23 -0700

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I agree with both Michael L. and Tony S. that the natural
environment is the kind of phenomenon that has to show up on
different levels of abstraction both within CAPITAL and in any
projected 6-(or more)-book schema. For instance, natural conditions
enter very directly in the early CAPITAL I chapter on the labor
process and even before that in Marx's analysis of the commodity's
exchange value. At the same time, it appears to me that one would
have to bring in the more concrete and even conjunctural analysis of
landed property, the state, and global market in order to get an
adequate picture (for strategic-political purposes) of the capitalist
people-nature metabolism and its ecological effects on a global scale
and how environmental struggles relate to class struggles and other
conflicts. So I think my earlier notion of a separate book on
capital and the ecology can be withdrawn; if followed through the
spirit of my earlier suggestion would show up as a re-progression
through the categories of CAPITAL and beyond from an ecological point
of view, sort of like Tony S.'s suggestion regarding technology at
different levels in CAPITAL.

My only comment on the Paul C. versus Mike L. disagreement on the
starting point for different books (and the one on landed property in
particular), is that it boils down to whether it should be historical
priority or priority of basic social forms (fundamentals first,
subordinates later) within capitalism that is the determining factor.
I'm not sure either method could be labelled incorrect; it would
depend on the type of abstraction being undertaken which is in turn
presumably a function of the purpose of the investigation. Ollman's
DIALECTICAL INVESTIGATIONS argues that historical and logical
abstractions are both legitimate; one just needs to be careful not to
confuse the two and to use both of them in their proper contexts.

Regards, Paul B.