Dominique Meeùs
Dernière modification le   
Notes de lecture : table des matières, index — Retour au dossier marxisme

À Friedrich Engels, le 25 mars 1868

Karl Marx, lettre à Friedrich Engels, le 25 mars 1868.

Mots-clefs : ❦ agriculture and deforestation

Very interesting is the book by Fraas (1847): Klima und Pflanzenwelt in der Zeit, eine Geschichte beider, namely as proving that climate and flora change in historical times. He is a Darwinist before Darwin, and admits even the species developing in historical times. But he is at the same time agronomist. He claims that with cultivation — depending on its degree — the ‘moisture’ so beloved by the peasants gets lost (hence also the plants migrate from south to north), and finally steppe formation occurs. The first effect of cultivation is useful, but finally devastating through deforestation, etc. The man is both a thoroughly learned philologist (he has written books in Greek) and a chemist, agronomist, etc. The conclusion is that cultivation — when it proceeds in natural growth and is not consciously controlled (as a bourgeois he naturally does not reach this point) — leaves deserts behind it, Persia, Mesopotamia, etc., Greece. So once again an unconscious socialist tendency !

This Fraas is also interesting as a German case-study. First Dr. med., then inspector and teacher of chemistry and technology. At present head of Bavarian veterinary services, university professor, head of state agricultural experiments, etc. In his latest writings you see his advanced age, but he is still a dashing fellow. He has been around a lot in Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt ! His history of agriculture is also important. He calls Fourier this “pious and humanist socialist.” […]

We must keep a close watch on the recent and very latest in agriculture. The physical school is pitted against the chemical.

MECW 42:558-559. Cité dans Baksi 1996:281-282.