Marx, Engels and Ecology

  • Michael Löwy Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Keywords: Ecosocialism, Marx, Engels


This is a brief survey of Marx and Engels’ views on ecology, from the viewpoint of their relevance for 21th Century ecosocialism. While there are some serious limitations in the way both consider the “development of productive forces”, there are powerfull insights in their discussion of the destructive consequences of capitalist expansion for the environment - an expansion that generates a disastrous metabolic rift in the exchanges between human societies and nature. Some ecological Marxists distinguish between “first stage ecosocialists” - who believe that Marx analyses on ecological issues are too incomplete and dated to be of real relevance today - and “second stage ecosocialists” that emphasize the contemporary methodological significance of Marx’s ecological critique of capitalism. This paper tries to argue for a third position (which probably could be accepted by several people of the two groups above): Marx and Engels discussion on ecological issues is incomplete and dated, but inspite these shortcomings, it has real relevance and methodological significance today.


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How to Cite
LÖWY, M. Marx, Engels and Ecology. Kalagatos, v. 14, n. 3, p. 149-161, 18 nov. 2017.