Media Matters

John Bellamy Foster of the Monthly Review


John Bellamy Foster is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he teaches environmental sociology, social theory, Marxism and political economy. Foster is editor of Monthly Review. He became a director of the Monthly Review Foundation Board and a member of the Monthly Review editorial committee in 1989. He became a co-editor in 2000, and president of the Monthly Review Foundation in 2002.

Foster was active in the anti-war and environmental movements from a young age. His early research centred on political economy and theories of capitalist development. In the late 1980s, he turned toward issues of ecology, focusing on the relationship between the global environmental crisis and the crisis in the capitalist economy, stressing the imperative for a sustainable, socialist alternative.

Foster has written numerous books, including: - The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's War on the Earth (2010) - The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet (2009) - The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (with Fred Magdoff, 2009) - Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present (with Brett Clark and Richard York, 2008) - Naked Imperialism: The U.S. Pursuit of Global Dominance (2006) - Pox Americana: Exposing the American Empire (co-edited with Robert McChesney, 2004) - Ecology Against Capitalism (2002) - Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature (2000) - Hungry For Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment (1999, co-edited with Fred Magdoff and Frederick Buttel) - The Vulnerable Planet: A Short Economic History of the Environment (1999, 2nd Ed.)

In Naked Imperialism, Foster explains the growing U.S. military role in the world and the shift toward a more overt, brutal imperial project. In Critique of Intelligent Design, Foster draws on his ecological work to defend historical materialism as fundamental to a rational, scientific worldview, against proponents of "intelligent design" and other superstitious ideologies. The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences explores the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Foster argues that the crisis must be understood in the context of a broader crisis of monopoly-finance capitalism. The only real solution, Foster argues, is a radical restructuring of the entire economy to meet the needs of the vast majority, a reorientation toward production for social use as opposed to private gain.

Foster's most recent book, The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet, includes essays on global warming, peak oil, species extinction, world water shortages, global hunger, alternative energy sources, sustainable development and environmental justice. He argues that we have reached a turning point in human relations with the earth, and that any attempt to solve our problems merely by technological, industrial or free market means, divorced from fundamental social relations, cannot succeed.