Labour, Eco-Regulation, and Value: A Response to Benton's Ecological Critique of Marx

Historical Materialism 3 (1):119-144 (1998)
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In an earlier article, I responded to Ted Benton's charge that Marx and Engels, upon realising the political conservatism associated with Malthusian natural limits arguments, retreated from materialism to a social-constructionist conception of human production and reproduction. I showed that Benton artificially dichotomises the material and social elements of historical materialism, thereby misreading Marx and Engels's recognition of the historical specificity of material conditions as an outright denial of all natural limits. In place of Marx and Engels's materialist and class-relational approach to population issues and the reserve army of the unemployed, Benton employs a partially Malthusianised Marxism heavily reliant on ahistorical notions of natural limits.



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