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Marx in the Anthropocene: Value, Metabolic Rift, and the Non-Cartesian Dualism

  • Kohei Saito EMAIL logo


Characteristic to the Anthropocene is global ecological crisis that humans have created without knowing any effective solution. Beyond the division of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, there thus emerged a series of serious attempts to figure out an adequate theoretical framework for comprehending the formation, development and future of the Anthropocene. Ecological Marxists also actively participate in this discussion to problematize the relationship between the Anthropocene and capitalism, which results in a new debate. While second-stage ecosocialists such as John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett are trying to connect the general issues of the Anthropocene to the concept of the ‘metabolic rift’, Jason W. Moore not only replaces the concept of the Anthropocene with the ‘Capitalocene’ and rejects the metabolic rift approach as falling into the ‘Cartesian division’, which cannot aptly theorize the nature of today’s crisis. Critically analyzing Moore’s ‘monist’ understanding of the history of capitalist development, this paper examines why Marx used apparently ‘dualist’ terminologies in his analysis. Moore claims that his post-Cartesian approach is the correct interpretation of Marx’s political economy, but a closer examination of Marx’s method reveals his non-Cartesian dualism, which functions as a basis for a radical critique of today’s ecological crisis. Furthermore, this paper argues that Marx’s theory of metabolism must be understood in relation to his intensive research on natural sciences and non-Western societies to envision possibilities of the revolutionary subjectivity.


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Published Online: 2017-10-17
Published in Print: 2017-10-10

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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