Louis Proyect | 1 Mar 15:07 2010

Excrements of consumption

Karl Marx, Capital VIII:
With the advance of capitalist production the utilisation of the 
excrements of production and consumption is extended. We mean by 
the former the refuse of industry and agriculture, and by the 
latter either the excrements, such as issue from the natural 
circulation of matter in the human body, or the form in which 
objects of consumption are left after being used. Excrements of 
production, for instance in chemical industries, are such 
by-products as are wasted in production on a smaller scale; iron 
filings collected in the manufacture of machinery and carried back 
into the production of iron as raw material, etc. Excrements of 
consumption are the natural discharges of human beings, remains of 
clothing in the form of rags, etc. The excrements of consumption 
have the most value for agriculture. So far as their utilisation 
is concerned, the capitalist mode of production wastes them in 
enormous quantities. In London, for instance, they find no better 
use for the excrements of four and a half million human beings 
than to contaminate the Thames with it at heavy expense.


Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 1, 2010; A01

Nearly 40 years after the first Earth Day, this is irony: The 
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