Missing the Marx: On Intellectual Failure and Environmental Catastrophe

Paul Street
Karl Marx

Getting radical anti-capitalist ideas wrong and ignoring those ideas  completely are timeworn traditions for U.S. intellectuals. The habits go back a long way and have continued through the current millennium. The consequences can be deadly, as is seen with two short books printed by leading U.S. publishing firms a few years ago – liberal historian James Livingston’s Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul (Basic Books, 2011) and environmental journalist David Owen’s The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse (Penguin, 2011).