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Engaging NatureEnvironmentalism and the Political Theory Canon$
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Peter F. Cannavò and Joseph H. Lane Jr.

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028059

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028059.001.0001

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Karl Marx: Critique of Political Economy as Environmental Political Theory

Karl Marx: Critique of Political Economy as Environmental Political Theory

(p.205) 11 Karl Marx: Critique of Political Economy as Environmental Political Theory
Engaging Nature

Timothy W. Luke

The MIT Press

Timothy W. Luke challenges the standard view that Karl Marx and Marxism are anti-environmentalist. Marx, Luke argues, sees humanity and the natural world as fully implicated and interdependent with one another and as mutually constitutive, all of which entails treating nature with care. Capitalism, however, exploits and dominates both labor and nature, transforming human society and the physical metabolism of the planet into hybrid assemblages for the production of commodities. Marx enables us to truly understand the global ecological crisis, as he offers us a holistic view of the material metabolisms encompassing the globalized market system, its class relations, and the reengineered, regimented, degraded natural world forced to yield up raw materials for commodity exchange. This holistic view also suggests a more critical stance toward supposed solutions to the environmental crisis, such as the emerging “green economy,” which Luke sees as yet another stage in the capitalist rationalization and reorganization of nature.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, Capital (Marx), “Wage Labour and Capital”(Marx), Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Marx), environmental political theory, Marxism, capitalism, commodification, political economy, globalization

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