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.