Ecological Imperialism and Marx's Capitalism Thesis

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ECOLOGICAL IMPERIALISM and MARX'S CAPITALISM

Imperialism is a well-understood concept and the mere mention of the word generates extreme sentiments of resentment and bitterness against certain nations of the world. When imperialism in politics was destroying the colonies, there was another phenomenon at work, which had also been working hand in hand. It was called ecological imperialism where entire ecologies of colonies were changed because of imperial influences. Alfred W. Crosby first brought this forward in 1986 in his book Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. In this book, he presented his thesis that imperialism did not only change the political and social structures of colonies but also affected their ecological systems as rest of the world was colonized. These colonies served as main hub of crop exports for Europe and Crosby calls them Neo-Europes. These regions suffered immensely as imperialist rulers gradually destroyed their environment advertently or inadvertently. This resulted in many environmental issues such as Eastern Canada experienced a serious decline in its water tables. Crosby makes a very strong case against imperialism while highlighting its "a biological, an ecological component," saying that 'ecological imperialism' was used as just another means of stamping authority on colonies. This was as critical to the success of European rulers as any political tool. This could allow them a feeling of "superiority in arms, organization, and fanaticism" (Crosby: 7).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Thesis on Ecological Imperialism and Marx's Capitalism Imperialism Is Assignment

While Crosby did not bring in the capitalist view and neither did he try to connect the biological side with the political, the fact remains that ecological imperialism worked in the same way as capitalism did. According to Marx's argument against capitalism, it was a force that treated laborers as machines and did not give them the value they deserved. This degradation of work leads to degradation of environment and ecology. A very good example of this would be the massive physical changes we have witnessed in earth's surface over the years. The ozone layer depletion is the case in point. It is not due to increased population or any other factor but mainly due to capitalism that ecology has suffered seriously. It is not only the large number of workers alone but their concentration in small areas which is the real cause of environmental damage. Marx thus argued, "But with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more" (Manifesto, 480).

Capitalism has always taken great pride in the fact that it allows greater mobility of labor and other resources. However what it fails to understand is that robbing one nation of its resources with this mobility leads to serious ecological damage to that country. When labor and resources move from East to West, does it not affect the Eastern countries in any manner? Of course it does. Their resources are depleting rapidly, brain drain is a serious problem and their concentration in particular areas in foreign countries is also resulting in serious issues. Marx furiously discussed this in his work Capital when he talked about colonization and the resulting plunder:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of blackskins, are all things which characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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