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Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis Paperback – August 17, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Williams: Chris Williams is a Long-time environmental activist and Vice President of the Union of Adjunct Faculty at Pace University, where he teaches course in energy and the environment, physics, and chemistry. He is also the chair of the science dept at Packer Collegiate Institute

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608460916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608460915
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Malvin VINE VOICE on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Ecology and Socialism" by Chris Williams convincingly makes the argument that fundamental socio-economic change is necessary to avert an impending environmental and social catastrophe. Mr. Williams is a professor of physics and chemistry who has been active in the environmental struggle for decades. Understanding both the science and politics of the key environmental issues of our time, Mr. Williams' important message deserves all the attention it can get.

Mr. Williams compares and contrasts the capitalist and socialist modes of production with respect to the promise of living on a sustainable planet. On the one hand, Mr. Williams contends that capitalism is inherently hostile to the environment inasmuch as natural and human resources are sacrificed in order to satisfy the few at the top (see also How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth). On the other hand, Mr. Williams draws on recent scholarship by John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett to prove that the integration of human needs with the environment was critically important to Marx, who articulated a vision of a sustainable human social system living in harmony with the earth.

Putting theory to practice, Mr. Williams discusses substitutes for the corporate-controlled industries that are currently running roughshod over the planet. Through Mr.
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Format: Paperback
As the fourth book in the "and Socialism" series (Black Liberation and Socialism; Women and Socialism: Essays on Women's Liberation; Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation), this book is an absolute must read for anyone who is concerned about the fate of the environment that is quickly approaching a point of no return in terms of irreversible damage done. Chris Williams combines data from peer-reviewed scientific journals, sharp political commentary, layman's English, and a class perspective to produce a book that is engaging, readable, and damn good.

The current environmental movement is at an impasse, stuck on false panacaeas like cap-and-trade, cutting individual consumption ("live others so that others may simply live"), and outright reactionary "solutions" that revolve around some form of population control (as if the number of people on the planet was the problem rather than the nature of the relationship between said people and the planet). Williams does an excellent job debunking both of these notions with a plethora of factual information and empirical data.

The central contention of the book is that capitalism and its social relations are the root of the problem, not surplus population, individual consumers' choices, or "bad corporations." Capitalism is organized around companies making as much money as quickly as possible; if they don't, their competitors will drive them out of business.
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Format: Paperback
Action through networks, and not adhering to advice from government or corporate leaders, is what "Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis" advocates as a way of saving the planet.

Author Chris Williams sees a dire future for the Earth and its inhabitants if we don't change our thinking, starting with how we consume energy. The solution, he writes, requires society-wide efforts, not just individual ones, to head off a global disaster.

This is a wide-ranging book, incorporating analysis of Marx, nuclear power plants, lightbulbs, airline workers, coal, natural time and a lot more. His main conclusion is that by shifting away from capitalism, humans will stop wasting energy and materiel on producing stuff we don't need and refocus our efforts on what we do need.

You may not agree precisely with the author's politics underlying the book but most of the environmental arguments are pretty well accepted by leading scientists these days. His solutions are drastic compared to, say, building a compost heap or lowering the thermostat a degree or two, and force us to look at exactly what we are willing to accept for ourselves and future generations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The legacy of socialism, including marxism, is not clearly fixed on the subject of ecology. Despite efforts to correct this (cf. such figures as Bellamy) the legacy of socialism requires an upgrade to its core idea set. This useful volume performs this task more or less successfully and points to the real crisis that confronts planetary civilization: the issue of socialism is the inability of capitalism to respond to the coming calamity of climate change. We need a new economic framework altogether and the cultural mindset to go with it. It is almost futile to expect the system fueled by the false profits of free markets to find any such in dealing with climate. The die is cast and we must snap out of the fixation of ideology created by the mesmerization created by economic fictions.
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