I would like to begin by complimenting this excellent essay. It summarizes with an economy of words and simplicity of language the considerable work of John Bellamy Foster in developing the concept of “metabolic rift,” advancing an ecological Marxism, and providing rigorous theoretical foundations for the politics of ecosocialism. Marx’s concept of the social metabolism is indeed crucial for analyzing socio-environmental change. Alongside Foster’s theory of metabolic rift, I would add the path-breaking work of Marina Fischer-Kowalski and the Vienna group on material flow analysis and the long durée of civilizational metabolic transitions; Joan Martinez-Alier’s work with our group in Barcelona on ecological distribution conflicts at the frontiers of an expanding global metabolism; and the work of Maria Kaika, Erik Swyngedouw, and other geographers in Manchester and beyond on how capitalism and its power asymmetries shape the metabolism of cities.
John Bellamy Foster’s article