[OPE-L:7329] cogoy and environment etc.

From: ECUSERS (ECBURKE@scifac.indstate.edu)
Date: Tue Jun 04 2002 - 17:15:31 EDT

This is just a brief response to Gerald's call for thoughts on Cogoy 
and Lipietz's divergence from Marxism, and then his observations on 
the role of value theory in the development of an ecological Marxism.

Naturally I cannot speak for Cogoy or Lipietz, but my belief is that 
the general tendency of eco-socialists to reject Marxism is partly 
based on an inadequate interpretation of Marxism itself (especially 
the writings of Marx and Engels) and partly a matter of political 
convenience in the "post communist" era.  I do not think it has 
anything to do with inherent shortcomings of Marxism from an 
ecological perspective.  Over the last few years there has been a 
debate over the relationship between Marxism and ecology, and the 
result of this debate is that, while disagreement on the scope of 
Marxism's ecological potential continues, the basic ecological 
criticisms that have long been thrown at Marx and Marxism have all 
been refuted.  (This debate has been mostly in the journals 

On value analysis, neither Foster nor Sweezy views value theory as 
redundant in the sense of Steedman.  (See, for example, Sweezy's 
essay in THE VALUE CONTROVERSY (1981).)  It is just that Foster's book 
focuses on ecology and historical materialism in general, whereas 
mine had a greater (though not exclusive) focus on Marx's analysis of 
capitalism.  This has to do with the different purposes of the two 
books.  In my case, the intent was to interpret Marx's thinking from 
an ecological point of view, with Marx's work treated holistically as 
a coherent system (taking into account changes in Marx's thinking 
over time as absolutely necessary); whereas John's project was to 
show how Marx's engagement with ecologically inclined thinkers and 
ecological questions shaped the evolution of his work over time.  
John's narrative is historical-intellectual, whereas mine is more of 
a recontruction of Marx's thinking considered as a holistic system 
from an ecological point of view.  Both Foster and Sweezy insist that 
Marx could never have gotten the "results" he got in his analysis of 
capitalism without value analysis, especially his analysis of the 
"qualitative value problem."  I would only add that value analysis is 
precisely the way that Marx applies historical materialism to 
capitalism -- value and capital are capitalism's specific forms of 
material reproduction.

Paul Burkett

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