Karl Marx ~ A Short Essay On Globalization And The Disasters We Face

I've been spending some time reading about Global Warming in the interest of determining whether or not it's real. I haven't decided yet, as one might expect. I haven't yet read enough on the subject. However I have found some of Karl Marx's writings on the journey and they're actually quite good considering he wrote most of his material in the mid-1800s. The excerpt below, from an editorial titled, "A Failed Economic System: The World Crisis Of Capitalist Globalization" by John Bellamy Foster is providing me with some insight into Global Warming, Climate Change and other things but it also provides some sound reasoning behind the destruction of the environment and I am a firm believer that environmental destruction is inevitable under Capitalism and so it seems was Karl Marx. I didn't know that. Here is a short excerpt from the essay by Foster with a link at the bottom of the page:

The growing scale of the capitalist economy and the weight that it is imposing on a limited biosphere are not everything. More important, ultimately, is the actual integrity of ecosystems and the basic biogeochemical processes of the earth system. Here Marx’s theory of the metabolic rift helps us understand capitalism’s intensive, not merely extensive, destruction of the environment. Marx’s vision had included an ecological element from the beginning. In his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 he wrote of the environmental damage wrought by industrial capitalism, in the form of the “universal pollution to be found in large towns.” For Marx, “Man lives from nature, i.e. nature is his body, and he must maintain a continuing dialogue with it if he is not to die.” But Marx’s ecological critique of capitalism crystallized only with the publication of Capital, volume 1 in 1867. He was influenced by the critique of British industrial agriculture developed by Justus von Liebig, the leading German chemist of the day. Building on Liebig, Marx pointed to the fact that by shipping food and fiber hundreds and even thousands of miles to new urban centers (a reflection of the growing division between town and country) industrialized capitalist agriculture was in fact depleting the soil of basic nutrients (such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus), which were no longer recirculated to the earth. This created a major crisis of the soil in Europe and the United States in the nineteenth century. Marx described this as an “irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism, a metabolism prescribed by the natural laws of life itself.” He argued that society demanded the “restoration” of a sustainable human metabolism with nature, which however could only be accomplished under a society of associated producers. In the most radical conception of sustainability ever developed, Marx wrote:

From the standpoint of a higher socio-economic formation, the private property of individuals in the earth will appear just as absurd as the private property of one man in other men. Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations, as boni patres familias [good heads of the household].

During the present decade there has been a great deal of research applying Marx’s overall concept of the metabolic rift to explain different disjunctures in the global ecology related to capitalism’s exploitation of soils, forests, oceans, and the carbon cycle. This has led to the conclusion, in the words of environmental sociologists Brett Clark and Richard York, that “Capitalism is incapable of regulating its social metabolism with nature in an environmentally sustainable manner. Its very operations violate the laws of restitution and metabolic restoration. The constant drive to renew the capital accumulation process intensifies its destructive social metabolism, imposing the needs of capital on nature, regardless of the consequences to natural systems.”


Thus, my perception that Capitalism eats everything in its path and spits out only detritus in its wake leaving nothing but waste, both environmental and human. It's destroying the planet and it's also, unknown to those who believe in Capitalism, destroying we humans in the process. Some people so very unfortunately really can't see the forest through the trees but especially so when it comes to larger conceptualizations where societies, environment, economics and finance mesh.

The article that prompted this is here:


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Comment by Holly Roberts on April 20, 2019 at 5:56am

Great! Love it!

Comment by apeman2502 on December 7, 2011 at 4:18pm

  Too much CFRtv. Too many people believing in their own deliverance. Too many priests rewriting the traditions to suit their own prurient wants. Too much CFRtv. Way too much CFRtv.

Comment by Jeff on June 3, 2011 at 8:45am
The only people that can state they "Care about the earth" and who aren't fooling themselves are people that give up cars, cell phones, computers, TVs, and all of the things we're supposed to require to achieve happiness and none of us are willing to make those decisions since they're now sacrifices.
Comment by Jeff on June 3, 2011 at 8:43am
Vince, I agree with you. While the elite have no intention of "going green," it's the only answer for ultimate survival and we need to eliminate capitalism too. Since we won't eliminate this odd form of corporate capitalism and we won't be going green properly, the ultimate demise is apparent. While it may not happen in my lifetime, and it won't, it's eventual.
Comment by ArchAngel on June 2, 2011 at 7:29pm

The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves and the Plutocracy is laughing their collective backsides off seeing US argue and call each other left-this and right-that.


Nothing will solve the problems unless there is organized opposition to the top of the pyramid. 

Comment by fireguy on December 2, 2010 at 12:58pm
Too bad the Marxist countries are the worst polluters and we do not live in a free capitalist economy but a mixture of corporatist and socialist with a little facisim thrown in for good measure. Yes there is terrible pollution and GMO foods with DNA manipulation is among the worst with the highest probability of screwing up the planet and the gene pool. Global Warming is a HOAX as the developing countries figured out last year in Copenhagen when they rejected the G-20's agenda en masse.

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