Book Review: What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know About Capitalism


what_every_environmentalistMagdoff, F., & Foster, J. B. (2011). What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know About Capitalism: A Citizen’s Guide to Capitalism and the Environment. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.

Read the review by Bronislaw Szerszynski of Lancaster University, published in the Organization & Environment September issue:

The current book’s core argument is based on Marx’s insight that capitalism is an autonomous system that operates according to exchange value and profit, that it subordinates the needs of humans and nature to its imperative, and that it forces all within its orbit to behave according to its logic, whatever their social or ecological values or  concerns. A capitalist economy needs constant capital accumulation to survive, so has to grow continuously; but it can only secure profits by externalising much of the costs of production onto workers and nature, thus pressing inexorably against nature’s limits and undermining itsoae powers of self-reproduction. But, the authors insist, capitalism is also inefficient, tends to crisis and stagnation, and concentrates wealth in an elite. An ecologically and humanely sustainable society would have to be a socialist society, one based on small-scale production, democratic economic planning, and the meeting of basic human needs.

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