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Alf Hornborg

Alf Hornborg

Professor

Alf Hornborg

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

Author

  • Alf Hornborg

Summary, in English

This is Part 2 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 confine this insight to the worker’s sale of his or her labor-power for wages, and ground it in 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. Such a shift of perspective extends Marx’s foundational critique of mainstream economics by focusing on the unacknowledged role of ecologically unequal exchange, but it requires a critical rethinking of the concept of “use-value.” Part 2 of the article briefly reviews the history of debate in ecological Marxism, discusses the peculiar semiotics of money, outlines the implications of ecologically unequal exchange for a reconceptualization of modern technology, and concludes with the conviction that the proposed theoretical modifications are both indebted to and congruent with the pioneering insights of Karl Marx.

Department/s

  • Human Ecology

Publishing year

2019

Language

English

Pages

71-86

Publication/Series

Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

Volume

30

Issue

4

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Routledge

Topic

  • Human Geography

Keywords

  • unequal exchange
  • use-value
  • money
  • energy
  • technology

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1548-3290