Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro follow-up

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Apr 5 15:07:24 MST 2002

Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro:
i think we might be speaking across each other on this theme. i have
never stated that Marx has nothing to offer to ecology, but Marx's
ideas should be updated to the latest findings and approaches, rather
than remaining trapped in the framework of metabolic rifts and other
like approaches that suggest a "balance-of-nature" argument, as
complex as balance of nature approaches can also be. i do not think
that the concept of metabolic rift is really all that different from
what ecologists used to reckon in the past in terms of "systems" and
still many in the present, unfortunately. "Marx's ecology", and i may
have misread and i welcome a critique on this too, does not seem to
address this similarity nor how exactly these kinds of approaches

it is not a matter of simplicity to the metabolic rift model, as afar
as i am concerned (the same can be said of the functionalist systems
perspective related to Odum's work, e.g.), but rather one of not
being useful enough to understand non-equilibrium dynamics or chaotic
systems. i completely agree with John B. Foster on the matter of
starting from Marx as a set of guidelines, but not on following the
same model of explanation for ecological phenomena. there is also the
question about "Green theory" and how it has been by and large
toothless in terms of critiquing capitalism, i could not agree more;
the environmentalist movements have not brought about many necessary
changes. the problem is, which "Green theory"? there are quite a few
out there, from deep ecology to the German Greens who like to bomb
Serbians. surely there are appreciable differences between these
approaches. regardless, i find Foster's work is indispensable to
understand where and how Marxism went astray in spite of Marx's very
lucid writings, though too few regarding the rest of nature, but as
he states, it is a start and one that needs more work.

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 04/05/2002

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