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Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism (review)

Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism (review) Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism. By james o'connor. New York: Guilford Press, 1998. Pp. xviii + 350. $39.95 (cloth); $19.95 (paper). Today, with most of the former "socialist" countries in a state of economic and ecological collapse, and the world market economy triumphant, it might well be asked what a book of essays on Marxism, such as Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism, can contribute to contemporary thought on history and ecology. James O'Connor, the editor of Capitalism Nature Socialism, would begin his answer with the observation that "just at the moment when world economy simulates the model . . . that Marx developed in Capital, Marxism is dismissed as fatally flawed" (p. 1). But O'Connor is more a critic of (albeit a friendly, constructive critic) than an apologist for classical Marxism. Marx, O'Connor notes, lived and wrote before the advent of ecology, and perhaps for that reason neglected the importance of nature as one of the "conditions of production." Marx identified a contradiction in capitalism, in that capitalists extract surplus labor from the working class, resulting in overproduction. Workers cannot afford to buy the more plentiful goods, and falling prices then cut into profits and prevent http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism (review)

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-8050
Publisher site
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Abstract

Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism. By james o'connor. New York: Guilford Press, 1998. Pp. xviii + 350. $39.95 (cloth); $19.95 (paper). Today, with most of the former "socialist" countries in a state of economic and ecological collapse, and the world market economy triumphant, it might well be asked what a book of essays on Marxism, such as Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism, can contribute to contemporary thought on history and ecology. James O'Connor, the editor of Capitalism Nature Socialism, would begin his answer with the observation that "just at the moment when world economy simulates the model . . . that Marx developed in Capital, Marxism is dismissed as fatally flawed" (p. 1). But O'Connor is more a critic of (albeit a friendly, constructive critic) than an apologist for classical Marxism. Marx, O'Connor notes, lived and wrote before the advent of ecology, and perhaps for that reason neglected the importance of nature as one of the "conditions of production." Marx identified a contradiction in capitalism, in that capitalists extract surplus labor from the working class, resulting in overproduction. Workers cannot afford to buy the more plentiful goods, and falling prices then cut into profits and prevent

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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