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Capitalism as if the World Matters Paperback – September 6, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A message that businesses may find they are surprised to agree with." – Financial Times

"... could not have come at a more timely and critical moment ... A vital contribution to the most compelling issue of our times." – Will Hutton, author of The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century

"... the best account of where we are now and how we might move ahead. Porritt's book is a brave and important working draft for an essential positive alternative." – The Observer

"To renew and rebuild, we need to listen to the voices of the few truly selfless and thoughtful individuals among us, and Jonathon Porritt is one of them."James Lovelock, creator of the GAIA Theory

"One of the most prominent voices promoting green issues over the last 25 years." – Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

"This is a very thoughtful and timely book. Many of those working towards a more sustainable future for our planet see capitalism as a big part of the problem. And with good reason. But if capitalism and free markets cannot be bent towards sustainability - towards being part of the solution - then I believe there is no solution. Hence the importance of this book. Read it."Lord May, President, The Royal Society

"This is a genuinely important book by one of Britain's most eminent environmentalists"Jonathan Dimbleby, political commentator and broadcaster

"As ex-chair of the Green Party, one-time director of Friends of the Earth, and co-founder and Director of Forum for the Future, Porritt is possibly the best person to write a book such as this. The reader can feel confident that his views are based on a desire to create a sustainable future rather than less laudable reasons ... an important factor when dealing with such a revolutionary book." – Pauline Thomas, The Waste Paper

"No US authors have matched this book's treatment of the interconnections between the environment, finance and economy, industry and technology, psychology and politics. Porritt depicts chilling vignettes, and decries greed and unbridled materialism without impugning business as a whole ... The book invites and repays detailed study."Choice

"This book is excellent, readable, comprehensive and ultimately quite optimistic. Essential reading for anyone interested in the world, the environment, humanity or the future."Warmer Bulletin

"This book may well challenge any Christian environmentalists that see capitalism as the enemy."Methodist Recorder

"In this brilliant and timely book Porritt has thrown down the gauntlet and provided the necessary data and analysis on our collective dilemma."David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review

"Too many environmentalists see capitalism as the enemy. Porritt grapples with its reality - a system capable of delivering sustainability and enhancing wellbeing, but only if we think carefully about what form of capitalism we want. This book stimulates that thinking."Adair Turner

"All too often, NGOs have to campaign against commercial activities that cause environmental degradation around the world. Our message about unsustainable lifestyles is increasingly understood, but greater thought leadership among business and governments is needed. In this refreshing observation of capitalism, Porritt positions the opportunities provided by sustainable development brilliantly." – Robert Napier, Chief Executive, WWF-UK

"Here's a compelling book that should sound the trumpet for a whole new generation of engaged and optimistic young people, establishing once and for all that we still have choices - we don't have to sleepwalk our way into the future."David Puttnam

"Porritt has applied a decade of experience with business and government to address the dilemma that, while capitalism is the most effective system for satisfying human needs, that process is putting intolerable strains on our ecology and climate. The book is a lively and penetrating discussion of how we can build on growing business interest in the challenges and opportunities." – Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Anglo American plc

"Porritt's green credentials are unquestioned, and I was impressed by his obvious desire to try and reconcile the gulf between environmentalists and supporters of capitalism."The Tablet (Catholic Weekly)

"We need more people like Porritt ... prepared to ... find the best ways to save both the environment and the capitalist system" – Professional Investor

"Everyone has a stake in the future of the world, from business executives to environmental activists, from community leaders to politicians with their hands on the lever of power, will find this a provocative and interesting read."Sustainability

"Revised and updated edition considers a new type of capitalism that could help save the world from environmental catastrophe."Journal of Economic Literature

"It's brilliant - containing a wealth of material and argument... The fire of the eco-prophet constrantly burns through, making the booth both more readable and provocative." Your Environment, the Environment Agency magazine

About the Author

Jonathon Porritt is Co-Founder and Programme Director of Forum for the Future. A leading adviser to business and industry, he was appointed by the prime minister as Chairman of the new UK Sustainable Development Commission. He is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales's Business and Environment Programme as well as a Board Member of the South West Regional Development Agency in the UK.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Revised edition (September 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844071936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844071937
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Activist Jonathon Porritt offers the startling proposal that capitalism may provide the best solution to poverty and global environmental degradation, though his solution requires reshaping capitalism. Porritt is aware that conventional environmental activists, greens and political academics favor socialism more than capitalism. However, he takes them to task for ignoring the power and potential of such capitalist mechanisms as markets and property rights and for their naïveté in expecting voters or political leaders to embrace their dismal vision of environmental responsibility as asceticism. We find his book more suggestive than programmatic. It meanders like a river and is sometimes directionless. The author makes his passions apparent, including anti-Americanism and scathing criticism of certain forms of Christianity. Though Porritt does not offer a detailed description of his vision or the practical steps needed to realize it, he does suggest a path toward a utopian ideal; for that hope, he deserves appropriate attention.
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Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Porritt's CAPITALISM AS IF THE WORLD MATTERS provides college-level readers with a fine survey of how capitalism at its foundations may be a part of the environmental problem as a whole. Many time commercial activities themselves lend to eroding environments: it's up to both business and government to work hand in hand to build a form of capitalism and free market solutions which lend towards sustainability rather than away from it - and to consider the chapters in CAPITALISM AS IF THE WORLD MATTERS, which offers commentary and guideposts for building different capital resources.
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Format: Paperback
There are actually a lot of good things in this book but it is profoundly disappointing because it never really makes a strong argument or comes to a clear conclusion. It feels like the author had collected a great deal of material and wanted to include it in the book but fundamentally did not know what to say in terms of his basic subject. The author never mentions social democracy, which is the most logical and obvious answer to the question of how to make capitalism respond to the needs of the world. He is politically naïve in many other ways as well, which is surprising given his background. I understand his reluctance to embrace socialism, the 39 countries that have had socialist or communist governments have all been dictatorial and not very successful economies. However, the 8 social democratic countries always rank at the top of lists when surveys are done of the best places to live.

A small point, he says Ernest Callenbach's book Ecotopia is about new country made up of California, Oregon and Washington. No -- that was Northern California not all of California, they let Southern California stay in the US. Good books and other information related to social democracy can be found here:

Midwest Independent Research
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By BenH on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The spirit is there along with a sound message and an abundance of info. But the author's flesh is much too willing. This book is about ten times longer than the message and the material justify. Go to a bookstore, browse it selectively for half an hour for free, and you'll have the best of it. What is sustainable about books that are too long? KISS = Keep It Short and Simple!!
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