From dialectic of nature to the Asian mode: a pre-history of North Korean environmental approach

Winstanley-Chesters, R (2016) 'From dialectic of nature to the Asian mode: a pre-history of North Korean environmental approach.' Capitalism Nature Socialism, 27 (3). pp. 46-63. ISSN 1045-5752

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2016.1189944

Abstract

North Korea is not a nation or field that attracts a great deal of critically minded analysis which would address the processes and moments of its ideological history. This is especially true when it comes to matters of North Korea’s relationship with nature and the environment, and the ideologies which underpin developmental and productive strategies within that nation. The routes which Marxist analysis in general took to connect to the Korean Peninsula are themselves fairly obscure and rarely considered. This paper therefore seeks an examination of the generation of Marxist analysis of nature and of those modes of production which encounter, transform and interact with natural and environmental forms. It considers the work of both Engels and Marx on the subject before tracing the journey those theorisations took into the practices and articulations of later Marxists, communists and socialists tasked with applying Marxist principles more widely in the processes of nation building and governance. In particular, it analyses notions of an Asian Mode of Production and the debate in Marxist circles as to that mode’s veracity and utility. It also encounters briefly the work of Karl Wittfogel, a counter-Marxist theoretician, and his notion of Hydraulic Economy. Finally, the paper traces the journey made by these theoretical structures into the intellectual world of the Korean Peninsula, navigating the debates it generated among early Korean Marxist intellectuals and their embedding or otherwise within the ideological structures and processes of North Korea.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: North Korea, dialectic of nature, Asian mode of production, hydraulic economy, Marx and Engels, Karl Wittfogel
Divisions: School of Science
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 17:26
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 17:26
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