Marx and the Earth

An Anti-Critique


A decade and a half ago John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett introduced a new, revolutionary understanding of the ecological foundations of Marx’s thought, demonstrating that Marx’s concepts of the universal metabolism of nature, social metabolism, and metabolic rift prefigured much of modern systems ecology. Ecological relations were shown to be central to Marx’s critique of capitalism, including his value analysis. Now in Marx and the Earth Foster and Burkett expand on this analysis in the process of responding to recent ecosocialist criticisms of Marx. The result is a full-fledged anti-critique—pointing to the crucial roles that dialectics, open-system thermodynamics, intrinsic value, and aesthetic understandings played in the original Marxian critique, holding out the possibility of a new red-green synthesis.

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John Bellamy Foster, Ph.D., 1985, York University, Toronto, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon and editor of Monthly Review (New York). He is author of Marx’s Ecology (Monthly Review Press, 2000).

Paul Burkett, Ph.D., 1984, Syracuse University, is Professor of Economics at Indiana State University, Terre Haute. He is the author of Marx and Nature (Palgrave, 1999) and Marxism and Ecological Economics (Brill, 2006).
"Marxist analyses of the natural world have been the focus of intense debate recently, and the publication of any book that further explores what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels thought about the subject is something to be welcomed. John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have proven track records of writing some of the clearest books on the subject, and while Marx and the Earth is not a specific response to some of their recent critics, it is an important defence of Marx's and Engel's orginal work." - Martin Empson, in : International Socialism, January 2017

Chapter 1 The Dialectic of Organic and Inorganic Relations
Chapter 2 The Origins of Ecological Economics: Podolinsky and Marx-Engels
Chapter 3 Classical Marxism and Energetics
Chapter 4 Engels, Entropy, and the Heat Death Hypothesis
Chapter 5 The Reproduction of Economy and Society
Conclusion: Marx and Metabolic Restoration

Appendix I:
Sergei Podolinsky, ‘Socialism and the Unity of Physical Forces’
(Translated from the Italian)

Appendix II
Sergei Podolinsky, ‘Human Labour and Unity of Force’
(Translated from the German)

All those (both academics and movement activists) interested in the relation of Marxism and socialism generally to ecology, including those in the fields of ecological economics, environmental sociology, Marxian theory, and history of ecology.
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