Marxism, capitalism, and the production of nature



Publication Details

Castree, N. (2001). Marxism, capitalism, and the production of nature. In N. Castree & B. Braun (Eds.), Social Nature: Theory, Practice, and Politics (pp. 189-207). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.


Until recently, the idea that nature could be 'produced' by humans seemed to be the stuff of science fiction. The Hollywood movies jurassic Park and Gattaca offered entertaining morality tales about the perils of animal and human genetic engineering respectively, and audiences could leave the cinema safe in the knowledge that, even had we the technology, no one in their right mind would allow humanity to 'play God' with nature. Or could they? In 1997 British scientists announced that they had successfully cloned a complex organism, Dolly the sheep. The following year it was revealed that, unbeknownst to most ordinary Americans, some 20.5 million hectares of US farmland was being sown with genetically modified (or transgenic) crops. Not long after, the 'lifescience' transnational corporation Monsanto unveiled its new 'Terminator seeds,' which are bioengineered to produce crops that are sterile (meaning that farmers who buy the seeds must purchase new ones from Monsanto each time they wish to grow crops, rather than using seeds generated naturally by the crops themselves).

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