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Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis Paperback – August 17, 2010
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great ideas, mostly well written, but sometimes repetitive. The organization of ideas into chapters is not always logical. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Peter Turner
I was a liberal before, but this book stepped it up a notch. This man, Chris Williams, is really something. Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Jame
This is a must read. Too many are hiding their heads in the sand. It is high time we wake up and fight for changePublished on January 19, 2011 by Rachel
Chris Williams should be addressing packed lecture halls and his book should be required reading at several levels. Read morePublished on November 24, 2010 by MM