The Robbery of Nature: Capitalism and the Ecological Rift

Front Cover
NYU Press, Feb 24, 2020 - Political Science
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

Bridges the gap between social and environmental critiques of capitalism

In the nineteenth century, Karl Marx, inspired by the German chemist Justus von Liebig, argued that capitalism’s relation to its natural environment was that of a robbery system, leading to an irreparable rift in the metabolism between humanity and nature. In the twenty-first century, these classical insights into capitalism’s degradation of the earth have become the basis of extraordinary advances in critical theory and practice associated with contemporary ecosocialism. In The Robbery of Nature, John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, working within this historical tradition, examine capitalism’s plundering of nature via commodity production, and how it has led to the current anthropogenic rift in the Earth System.

Departing from much previous scholarship, Foster and Clark adopt a materialist and dialectical approach, bridging the gap between social and environmental critiques of capitalism. The ecological crisis, they explain, extends beyond questions of traditional class struggle to a corporeal rift in the physical organization of living beings themselves, raising critical issues of social reproduction, racial capitalism, alienated speciesism, and ecological imperialism. No one, they conclude, following Marx, owns the earth. Instead we must maintain it for future generations and the innumerable, diverse inhabitants of the planet as part of a process of sustainable human development.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Expropriation of Nature
The Rift of Éire
Women Nature and Capital
Marx as a Food Theorist
Marx and Alienated Speciesism
Capitalism and the Paradox of Wealth
The Meaning of Work in a Sustainable
Marxs Ecology and the Left
The Planetary Emergency 20202050 238
The Long Ecological Revolution
Notes 288
Index 374

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2020)

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Oregon. He has written many books including The Robbery of Nature (with Brett Clark) and The Return of Nature, which won the Deutscher Memorial prize.

Brett Clark is a associate editor of Monthly Review and a professor of sociology at the University of Utah. He is co-author (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

Bibliographic information