Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In analyzing the relations between human societies and the larger biophysical world, Karl Marx employed a dialectical triadic scheme of “the universal metabolism of nature,” the “social metabolism,” and the metabolic rift. He incorporated this metabolic approach within his critique of political economy, allowing him to assess the historical interchanges and interpenetrations of society and ecological systems. Given its endless pursuit of accumulation, capitalism imposes its demands on nature, increasing pressures on ecological systems and the production of wastes. It generates distinct metabolic rifts (ruptures) in natural cycles and processes. Marx specifically developed this approach in his critique of capitalist agriculture, with regard to how this system created an ecological rift in the soil nutrient cycle. Contemporary scholarship has drawn upon this work to examine a broad array of ecological contradictions, which are culminating in an ecological crisis.

Keywords: Marx, ecology, environmental degradation, metabolism, nature

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.