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Marx and the Earth
An Anti-Critique
Over a decade ago Foster and Burkett introduced a 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. In this volume, Foster and Burkett expand on this analysis in the process of responding to recent ecosocialist criticisms of Marx.
  • "Bellamy Foster and Burkett . . . present a convincing view of Marx as intensely aware of the ecological effects of capitalism, which formed an important part of his understanding of the totality of the system. This is very far from the traditional green view of Marx as the father of Soviet-style industrialisation, but the picture of Marx the ecologist is a convincing one, from both the analyses of his works and from his notebooks and correspondence."

    "Marx and the Earth is a rigorous defence of Marx's and Engels's engagement with wider scientific ideas that are of importance to ecology. But because it also reasserts how Marx puts the dialectical interaction between society and the natural world at the heart of his ideas, the book highlights the strength of a Marxist approach for understanding modern environmental crises. As Marxism and ecology is once again a subject for debate on the left, this is an important defence of the core ideas of the classical tradition."
    International Socialism Journal

    "Marx and the Earth is ... both a rejoinder to critics and a fresh presentation of its authors' interpretation of the ecological foundations of Marx's thought ... The authors' encyclopedic knowledge of the lives and writings of Marx and Engels and their mastery of a huge secondary literature make Marx and the Earth a significant, albeit somewhat specialized, work of Marxist scholarship. One of the book's crucial contributions is its exposition of the extent to which Marx especially (but also Engels) kept abreast of the major advances in the natural sciences in his day, and sought to incorporate them into an ever-richer and more complex historical materialism. Throughout, the authors also stress that Marx's dialectical grasp of nature and society was not only at the forefront of social and ecological thought in the 19th century, but remains an essential theoretical foundation for ecology today."

    Science & Society

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