Marxism and Environmental Crises

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David Layfield
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About The Author

David Layfield did a variety of jobs before going to university. During his time as a train conductor in London in the 1980s he became interested in trade union and radical politics. At the same time he also became interested in the environment as well as becoming aware of the extent of contemporary social inequality. He later gained a BA in politics from the Nottingham Trent University; an MA in Political Philosophy from the University of York; and then a PhD in Politics from the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, all of which led to this book.

He currently lives in Okinawa, in southern Japan, and continues to research and write about Marxism, the environment and international politics whilst working as an Assistant Language Teacher at Urasoe High School. He hopes to participate in more research projects, and to teach politics and environment in the future.

About The Book

How can Marxism help us understand the contemporary environmental situation? How can Marxism help greens respond to this situation? Marxism and Environmental Crises answers these questions by claiming that Marxism offers a uniquely useful means to understand the various environmental crises that affect the contemporary world.

The strength of Marxism, the author claims, lies in its ability to comprehend why capitalism produces environmental crises at this point in history, and why the effects of environmental crises fall most heavily upon those already in the worst social and economic position.

The author argues that contemporary developments of Marxism offer the most effective way for greens to engage with political economy, and with material social production on a deeper level. Marxism demonstrates that capitalism is unique, no other social form is quite like it because of its process of expansion, of infinite growth in a finite world. The book argues that the contradictions of infinite expansion in a finite environment has led to successive waves of dispossession, as capital attempts to seize control of production and nature by the imposition of markets as mediators between societies and their environments.

The author then calls for greens to re-engage with the critique of capitalism and with a politics of struggle for control of production, as a means to socialize the interaction of human societies and their environments.