The Ecological Crisis and the Logic of Capital

The Ecological Crisis and the Logic of Capital

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The worsening environmental crisis has become a serious threat to mankind. The search for a solution to this crisis must begin by understanding its causes. Taking an eco-socialist perspective, The Ecological Crisis and the Logic of Capital explores the logic of capitalism as a fundamental cause of today's environmental crisis, in particular the thirst for profit and the capitalist mode of production. By demonstrating the inherent antagonism between capital and ecology, this book argues that proposals to resolve the crisis within the capitalist system are utopian, that proposed remedies relying on scientific progress, alternative energies, low-carbon technologies or the introduction of ecological ethics and new attitudes toward Nature into market mechanisms are doomed to failure without a radical overhaul of the principles that govern capitalism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 592 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 35.56mm | 1,079g
  • Leiden, Netherlands
  • English
  • 9004355960
  • 9789004355965

Table of contents


Introduction: Capital and Ecology
On the Ecological-Marxian Analysis of the Ecological Crisis

Part 1: John Bellamy Foster's Research on the Ecological Crisis

1 The Theoretical Basis of Ecological Civilization
Constructing a Marxist Theory of Ecology
Ecological Theory in Marx's Work
The Essence of Marx's Philosophical Materialism
Insights from Marx's Ecological Theory

2 The Ecological Implications of Marx's Materialist View of Nature
Marx's Materialist Conception of Nature in his Doctoral Thesis
Marx's Materialist Conception of Nature in his Relationship with Feuerbach
Marx's Materialism as a Foundation for his Views on Ecology

3 The Ecological Implications of Marx's Materialist Conception of History
Ecological Theory in Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, 1844
Ecological Theory of the Communist Manifesto

4 The Ecological Implications of Marx's Theory of "Metabolism"
The Theory of "Metabolism" in Capital
The "Metabolic Rift" in Capital
On the Cause of the "Metabolic Rift"

5 The Revelation of Marx's Ecological Theory: Antagonism between Capital and Ecology
Marx's View of the Opposition between Capital and Ecology
The Conflict between Capital and Ecology in Today's World

6 The Bush Administration and the Kyoto Protocol
The Bush Administration's Attitude Towards the Kyoto Protocol
The U.S. Government's Attitude Toward the Other "Earth Summits"
Obliging the Third World to "Swallow Pollution"

7 Giving up Illusions in Order to Overcome the Ecological Crisis
Can Environmental Problems be Solved through the "Dematerialization" of the Capitalist Economy?
Can Environmental Problems be Solved through the Development of Science and Technology?
Can Environmental Problems be Solved through a Capitalistic Market Approach to Nature?
Can Environmental Problems be Solved through Moral Reform and Establishing Ecological Ethics?

8 The Fight against the Ecological Crisis
Beyond the Bottom Line of a Money-Driven Economy
Putting People First
Constructing Humanity's Relationship to Nature Based on "Freedom in General"
Having Enough, not Having More
Putting Land Ethics into Practice
Environmental Revolution Necessitates Social Revolution

Part 2: Research from Other Ecological Marxists

9 James O'Connor: The Intrinsic Relationship between Marxism and Ecology
Marx's View on "History and Nature"
Marx's view on "Capital and Nature"
Marx's View on "Socialism and Nature"

10 David Pepper: Why Marx's Ecological Theory Is Needed
Now More Than Ever
Marxism Contains Enough Elements for an Ecological Theory
Solution to Environmental Problems in Marxism
Ecological Contradictions: Inherent Contradictions of Capitalist Societies in Marxism
Capitalism: "Inherently Environmentally Unfriendly" in Marxism
The Cause of Overpopulation, Famine and "Natural Shortages" in Marxism
Overcoming Alienation from Nature and "Asserting its Humanness" in Marxism
Rationally Regulating Humanity's Relationship to Nature in Marxism

11 Paul Burkett: The Inherent Relationship between Natural, Social and Environmental Crises in Marxism
The Four Necessary Conditions of Social Ecology
Nature and Historical Materialism
The Analysis of Ecological Value and the Theory of Capitalism
Perspectives on the Ecological Implications of Communism

12 Andre Gorz: Surpassing Economic Logic as the Key to Constructing an Ecological Civilization
The Capitalistic Division of Labor as the Root of all Alienation
Capitalism's Profit Motive as the Cause of Ecological Destruction
Beyond Economic Logic, the Implementation of Ecological Logic
Advanced Socialism as the Key to Protecting the Environment

13 Ben Agger: The Ecological Dilemma has Shattered People's Faith in Capitalism
Re-examining the Theory of the Crisis of Capitalism
Toward an Ecological Marxism
Transforming Capitalism through Decentralization and Debureaucratization
Combining American Populism with Ecological Marxism

14 William Leiss: A Marxist Approach to Green Theory
The Logical Connection between Controlling Nature and Controlling People
Human Satisfaction Ultimately Lies in Production, Not in Consumption

15 Herbert Marcuse: The Marxist Path to Ecological Revolution
Marx's Theory of the Liberation of Nature in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, 1844
An Analysis of Ecology in Today's World
Marcuse's Theory of the Liberation of Nature and the "Club of Rome"

Part 3: The Implications of Ecological Marxism

16 Marxism and the Construction of an Ecological Civilization
The Ecological Vision in Marx's Works
The Practical Significance of Marx's Ecological Worldview

17 The Inspiration of Ecological Marxism for Constructing an Ecologically Friendly Civilization
From Humanity's Conflict with Nature to Conflicts between Human Beings
The Advantages of Constructing an Ecological Civilization in a Socialist Society
Constructing Ecological Civilization and Creating Humanity's New Way of Being
Making the Construction of Ecological Civilization into a Great Revolution of Thought

18 Ecological Marxism's Opposition to Postmodernism
"Green Politics" as a Form of Post-modern Politics
Should Modernization be Abandoned or Reformed?
Eco-centrism or Anthropocentrism?
Can Rationality Correct the Biases of Rationalism?
The Proper Way to Regard the Functions of Science and Technology
Humankind's Search for Meaning
The Theoretical and Practical Relevance of Ecological Marxism Compared to Postmodernism

19 Western Marxism's Rejection of Postmodernism
The Confrontation between Ecological Marxism and Postmodernism
The Inheritance of Habermas' Reflections on Modernity
The Inheritance of the Frankfurt School's Critique of Society
The Inheritance of the Pioneers of Western Marxism
A Reflection on the Positive Significance of Marxism Itself

20 Personal Fulfillment through Production Rather than Consumption
An Essential Thesis of Ecological Marxism
Focusing on Production Rather than Consumption
New Concepts for an Overhaul of Current Consumption Patterns
Seeking Satisfaction in Productive Activity
The Implications of the Thesis of Fulfillment through Productive Activity

21 Ecological Marxism's New Reflection on Contemporary Capitalism
The Cause of the Ecological Crisis-the Capitalist Mode of Production
From the Critique of the Profit Motive to the Critique of the Economic Reason of Capitalism
The Relationship between Environmental Protection and the Existing Capitalist Modes of Production
Capitalist Countries are Largely Ecologically Imperialist Countries
"Sustainable Development" is Impossible under Capitalism

22 An Ecologically Friendly Civilization is an Essential Goal of Chinese Socialism
Creating Environmental Standards for Chinese Socialism
Scientific Development Means "Green" Development
A Harmonious Society Founded on Harmony between Humanity and Nature
Promoting Human Fulfillment through the Unity of Humanity and Nature

23 The Strategic Choice for the Construction of Ecological Civilization under Chinese Socialism
The Three Strategies That we Can Not and Should Not Choose
The Viable Strategy of Ecologically Oriented Modernization

24 Challenges for the Construction of an Ecologically Friendly Civilization
Capital: Utilizing and Restricting
Technology: Development and Control
Production: Expansion and Reform
Consumption: Stimulus and Guidance
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About Xueming Chen

Chen Xueming is Professor of philosophy, doctoral tutor, and Deputy Director at the renowned Fudan University. His representative works include Approaching Marx: the Four Thinkers Track since Drastic Change (Oriental Press, 2002) and Forever Marx (People's Publishing House, 2006).
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