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The Money-Energy-Technology Complex and Ecological Marxism : Rethinking the Concept of "Use-Value" to Extend Our Understanding of Unequal Exchange, Part I

Hornborg, Alf LU (2018) In Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
Abstract
This is Part 1 of an article arguing for an extended application of Karl Marx’s insight that the apparent reciprocity of free market exchange is to be understood as an ideology that obscures material processes of exploitation and accumulation. Rather than to confine this insight to the worker’s sale of his or her labor-power for wages, and basing it on the conviction that labor-power is uniquely capable of generating more value than its price, the article argues that capital accumulation also relies on asymmetric transfers of several other biophysical resources such as embodied non-human energy, land, and materials. It proposes that the very notions of “price” and “value” serve to obscure the material history and substance of traded... (More)
This is Part 1 of an article arguing for an extended application of Karl Marx’s insight that the apparent reciprocity of free market exchange is to be understood as an ideology that obscures material processes of exploitation and accumulation. Rather than to confine this insight to the worker’s sale of his or her labor-power for wages, and basing it on the conviction that labor-power is uniquely capable of generating more value than its price, the article argues that capital accumulation also relies on asymmetric transfers of several other biophysical resources such as embodied non-human energy, land, and materials. It proposes that the very notions of “price” and “value” serve to obscure the material history and substance of traded commodities. Such a shift of perspective extends Marx’s foundational critique of mainstream economics by focusing on the unacknowledged role of ecologically unequal exchange, but requires a critical rethinking of the concept of “use-value.” It also suggests a fundamental reconceptualization of the ontology of technological progress, frequently celebrated in Marxist theory. Part 1 of the article introduces the argument on unequal exchange, the ideological function of money, some concerns of ecological Marxism, and the conundrum posed by three contradictory understandings of “use-value.” (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Capitalism, Nature, Socialism
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • scopus:85042396891
ISSN
1548-3290
DOI
10.1080/10455752.2018.1440614
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ecb109b5-6dd4-4229-8fbc-9512296ad6cb
date added to LUP
2017-10-24 10:27:48
date last changed
2018-03-11 04:44:24
@article{ecb109b5-6dd4-4229-8fbc-9512296ad6cb,
  abstract     = {This is Part 1 of an article arguing for an extended application of Karl Marx’s insight that the apparent reciprocity of free market exchange is to be understood as an ideology that obscures material processes of exploitation and accumulation. Rather than to confine this insight to the worker’s sale of his or her labor-power for wages, and basing it on the conviction that labor-power is uniquely capable of generating more value than its price, the article argues that capital accumulation also relies on asymmetric transfers of several other biophysical resources such as embodied non-human energy, land, and materials. It proposes that the very notions of “price” and “value” serve to obscure the material history and substance of traded commodities. Such a shift of perspective extends Marx’s foundational critique of mainstream economics by focusing on the unacknowledged role of ecologically unequal exchange, but requires a critical rethinking of the concept of “use-value.” It also suggests a fundamental reconceptualization of the ontology of technological progress, frequently celebrated in Marxist theory. Part 1 of the article introduces the argument on unequal exchange, the ideological function of money, some concerns of ecological Marxism, and the conundrum posed by three contradictory understandings of “use-value.”},
  author       = {Hornborg, Alf},
  issn         = {1548-3290},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Capitalism, Nature, Socialism},
  title        = {The Money-Energy-Technology Complex and Ecological Marxism : Rethinking the Concept of "Use-Value" to Extend Our Understanding of Unequal Exchange, Part I},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2018.1440614},
  year         = {2018},
}