Commentary

  • Jason W. Moore Binghamton University

Abstract

Alf Hornborg says many useful things in his article, Ecosystems and World Systems: Accumulation as an Ecological Process. His effort to ground the notion of capital accumulation in the physical realities of ecology and thermodynamics is a much-needed corrective to nature-blind studies of capitalism. At a more paradigmatic level, his dismay at the analytical disjuncture of ecology and economics in modern social science is right on target (1998: 169). Yet, despite the articles laudable intent, Hornborg goes astray by imputing to Marx a focus on labor that excludes the physical realities of labor reproduction, world trade, or imperialism. Hornborg is right to urge a synthesis of ecological and economic studies, but wrong in his call to supplement the labor theory of value with a resource-orientedconcept of exploitation (1998: 173). Even if Marx did not grapple with a global ecological crisis of contemporary standards, he was remarkably sensitive to ecological processes as they shaped, and were shaped by, capital accumulation; indeed, Marx studied intensively the works of the leading soil chemists of his day, foremost among them Justus von Liebig. Particularly in the ?rst and third volumes of Capital, Marx provides a compelling framework for comprehending the nature-society dialectic under capitalism.
Published
2000-02-26
How to Cite
Moore, J. W. (2000). Commentary. Journal of World-Systems Research, 6(1), 133-138. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2000.234
Section
General Section