1-5 April 2021
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Mending the metabolic rift: Marxism, nature and society


About this session

Mainstream views of ecological devastation often blame human nature itself – humans are greedy and self-absorbed, so of course we ruin the planet.

Marxists have a more complex account. Both human nature and society change through the kinds of labour we do, how we cooperate, and what tools we develop. Society shapes human nature, but in turn human nature can re-shape society.

Marx used concepts like labour, alienation, and rifts in ecological systems to explain the environmental destruction of his time. Marxists today extend that pioneering analysis to contemporary problems and explain why and how another kind of society is possible.

Recommended Reading

Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”in The Interceptby Naomi Klein
Land and Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human Historyby Martin Empson
The Robbery of Nature: Capitalism and the Ecological Riftby John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark
Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy by Kohei Saito
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