For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?

by Kovel, Joel (2013)


We live in and from nature, but the way we have evolved of doing this is about to destroy us. Capitalism and its by-products - imperialism, war, neoliberal globalization, racism, poverty and the destruction of community - are all playing a part in the destruction of our ecosystem. Only now are we beginning to realise the depth of the crisis and the kind of transformation which will have to occur to ensure our survival. This second, thoroughly updated, edition of The Enemy of Nature speaks to this new environmental awareness. Joel Kovel argues against claims that we can achieve a better environment through the current Western 'way of being'. By suggesting a radical new way forward, a new kind of 'ecosocialism', Joel Kovel offers real hope and vision for a more sustainable future.

Key Passage

Ecosocialism now reveals itself as a struggle for use-value and through a realized use-value, for intrinsic value. This means it is a struggle for the qualitative side of things: not just the hours worked and the pay per hour and benefits, but the control over work and its product, and of what is beyond mere necessity a control that eventuates in the creation and integration of new ecosystems, and also incorporates subjectivity, beauty, pleasure, and the spiritual. These demands were part of the labor tradition, as workers asked for not just bread but roses, too. We would take it to the limit of its implications: the ecosocialist demand is not just for thematerial things (bread) on one side, and the aesthetic things (roses) on the other. It regards both bread and roses from the same perspective of enhanced and realized use-values or, better yet, as post-economic intrinsic values: bread and the making of bread to become aspects of a singular ecosystemic process into which a universe of meaning is condensed for what has more resonance than the "staff of life"? And roses are not external pretty things; they, too, have to be grown by labor. p. 215-216 ()


No Keywords


Ecosocialism, Ecology

Links to Reference



How to contribute.