[OPE-L:7338] Re: Re: cogoy and environment etc.

From: ECUSERS (ECBURKE@scifac.indstate.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 19:37:49 EDT

Jerry asks:

>What are the ongoing disagreements on the scope of Marxism's 
environmental potential? 

There are more than I can list in one day.  I would say the most 
important are the usefulness of the metabolism concept as opposed to 
a more energetic approach to production, or how they can be combined. 
Also the connection between the value of labor power, natural 
conditions, and non-capitalist (reproductive) labor.  More generally 
whether Marx's value approach is useful for revealing capitalism's 
environmental contradictions even if it is not ecologically incorrect.
Some of these areas came up in the debate over Lipietz's rejection of 
Marxism in CNS (June 2000) and over Foster's book in CNS (September 
2001), also in my exchange with Ted Benton in HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 
(Issues 2, 3, and 8).   See also the debate over Marx's concept of 
nature as the "inorganic body of humanity" in ORGANIZATION & 
ENVIRONMENT (December 2000 and December 2001).

On the value and nature, and value and energetics, questions, see 
especially the work of Elmar Altvater, e.g. his book THE FUTURE OF 
THE MARKET (Verso 1993), his chapter in IS CAPITALISM SUSTAINABLE?, 
Martin O'Connor, editor (Guilford 1994) and his article in the 
very clearly that the energeticist criticisms of Marx's value 
analysis and their calls for an "energy theory of value" are 
misplaced in that they confuse the concepts of use value, exchange 
value, and value.  (I dealt with this confusion in my article in 
CAPITAL & CLASS, No. 68, Summer 1999.)

Controversy also continues over the coherence and accuracy of James 
O'Connor's "two contradictions" framework: see the special 
environment issue of CAPITAL & CLASS (No. 72, Autumn 2000) or my 
review of O'Connor in MONTHLY REVIEW (February 1999) -- the last is 
available on the MR website.

On the question of nature and reproductive labor, and the 
corresponding connections between gender and capitalist exploitation, 
the work of Ariel Salleh, ECOFEMINISM AS POLITICS (Zed, 1997) is a 
good starting point.  Salleh was one of the figures in the O&E debate 
mentioned above.

This is really a huge area that is hard to summarize.

Cheers, Paul Burkett

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