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Reason for common cause: A review of “The Robbery of Nature,” from Against the Current


The Robbery of Nature:
Capitalism and the Ecological Rift
386 pp, $28 paper, ISBN 978-1-58367-839-8
By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

Reviewed by Tony Smith

In a recent review of The Robbery of Nature, Tony Smith engages with each of John Bellamy Foster’s and Brett Clark’s key assertions, one by one:

(1) There is indeed “an existential crisis in the human relation to the earth.”

(2) There is no “technological fix” for this existential crisis.

(3) Capitalism is the fundamental cause of the existential crisis in the relation between humans and the earth.

(4) The metabolic rift between capitalist society and its natural environment is only one of many ways human flourishing is undermined by the reign of capital.

(5) The work of Karl Marx remains an indispensable aid to comprehending our social world.

(6) A Marxian theoretical framework is indispensable for comprehending historical developments in recent centuries.

(7) The struggle for a world beyond the limits of capital must be a movement of movements.

Smith concludes: “Foster and Clark show that the exploitation of wage labor in the capitalist production process is essentially tied to the expropriation of the natural world, the refusal to socially acknowledge care labor as socially necessary labor, the privatization of our common cultural heritage, the treatment of non-white communities as places where the social pathologies of capitalism (unemployment, poverty, and so on) can be concentrated, and so on. From this perspective workers, environmentalists, feminists, community activists, and anti-racists have good reason to make common cause.”

Read the full review at Against the Current


Monthly Review Press
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