Marx’s Theory of Metabolism in the Age of Global Ecological Crisis

In: Historical Materialism
Kohei Saito Graduate School of Economics, Osaka City University Osaka Japan

Search for other papers by Kohei Saito in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



When the existing order cannot offer a solution, the solution to climate crisis must come from the radical left, and this is precisely why Karl Marx’s idea of ecosocialism is more important than ever. In this context, it is worth revisiting not only the legacy of István Mészáros’s theory of ‘social metabolism’ and that of his successors – who can be categorised as comprising the ‘metabolic rift school’, which includes John Bellamy Foster, Paul Burkett, and Brett Clark –, but also Karl Marx’s own theory of metabolism. In order to highlight the contemporary importance of Marx’s theory of metabolism after its long suppression in the twentieth century, this paper aims at classifying the three different levels of Marx’s concept of ‘metabolic rift’, which also entails clarifying three different levels of ‘metabolic shift’ as the theoretical foundation for updating Marx’s theory of postcapitalism in the age of global ecological crisis.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 5691 1378 159
Full Text Views 1453 239 32
PDF Views & Downloads 2413 461 67