Shouldn’t Mother Nature be valued and not just raped by Big Business?

It’s close to Mother Nature Day and the following is a brief Marxist answer by John Bellamy Foster to this question about the corporate value of nature under a capitalist world economy controlled by international corporations.

‘The claim that Marx believed that nature was a “free gift” to humanity is a statement that one hears over and over, but is based on a fundamental misunderstanding. All the classical economists — Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Say, J.S. Mill, Marx — referred explicitly to nature as a “free gift.” It was part of classical economics and was inherited by neoclassical economics. Neoclassical economists, even mainstream environmental economists, still include this same notion in their textbooks.
Marx, however, was distinctive in that he was writing not about economic laws in general but about the laws of motion of capitalism as a historically specific system, and from a critical standpoint. He therefore argued, quite correctly, that nature was treated as a “free gift” FOR CAPITAL. Its non-valuation was built into capitalism’s law of value. He argued that while under capitalism only labor produced (exchange) value, that this merely reflected the distorted character of the system, since nature, he insisted, was just as much a source of real wealth (use values) as was labor.’

One can read more from this interesting interview with John Bellamy Foster here @ The Ecology of Socialism.

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1 Response to Shouldn’t Mother Nature be valued and not just raped by Big Business?

  1. Avatar Bob Yates says:

    Marx had a decent understanding of the modern situation the US is currently in. His insight DIRECTLY applies to our economic standing, and quite frankly, I feel like the government owes me a ferrari. In fact, the government probably could afford, if perhaps we increased the tax rate to around 79-80% and cut the Social Security, Welfare, Government Salary, Military budget to $0, to give EVERYONE Ferrari F430’s Opra style. I mean, if we think about it logically…it would cost less than healthcare, so why the hell not.

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