Kohei Saito, Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and
the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy
Paperback, 308 pages
Monthly Review Press, 2017
Karl Marx, author of what is perhaps the world’s most resounding and significant critique of bourgeois political economy, has frequently been described as a “Promethean.” According to critics, Marx held an inherent belief in the necessity of humans to dominate the natural world, in order to end material want and create a new world of fulfillment and abundance — a world where nature is mastered, not by anarchic capitalism, but by a planned socialist economy. Understandably, this perspective has come under sharp attack, and not only from mainstream environmentalists.
Kohei Saito’s Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism challenges such accusations. Delving into Marx’s central works, as well as his natural scientific notebooks — published only recently and still being translated — Saito argues that Marx actually saw the environmental crisis embedded in capitalism. “It is not possible to comprehend the full scope of [Marx’s] critique of political economy,” Saito writes, “if one ignores its ecological dimension.”