2015 Publications

Economism, the reigning ideology in economic policy, reduces social relations to market logic and functions as a secular religion for the global market economy. We need a new economics rooted in a belief system that embraces solidarity, sustainability, and well-being for all.

With commentary from John Ashton, John Barry, Lourdes Benería, John Cobb, Jr., John Fullerton, Rahul Goswami, Jonathan Harris, Stephen Marglin, Chella Rajan, Sandra Waddock, and Stephen Woolpert, and a response from the author

In A Rough Ride to the Future, contrarian Gaia theorist James Lovelock counsels abandoning all hope of preventing global environmental change, and adapting to it instead. But by assuming the fixity of human behavior and institutions, he resigns humanity to a passive present and a grim future.

This essay uncovers the deep ecological roots of Marxism, finding concepts that anticipate such contemporary notions as sustainable development and planetary boundaries. This common wellspring, it argues, supports a unified socialist and ecological project for a Great Transition.

Commentary from David Barkin, Michael Brie, Hannah Holleman, Tim Jackson, Giorgos Kallis, Kent Klitgaard, Ashish Kothari, Fred Magdoff, and Rasigan Maharajh, and a response from the author

The former president of Mondragon International discusses how Mondragon, a renowned worker-owned cooperative, puts democracy and solidarity into practice, and shares his insights on the future of global cooperative enterprise.

Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton offers a magisterial history of cotton’s role in the development of modern capitalism. However, it is a partial story: the bright light it shines on the “empire” and its masters occludes the array of social forces and actors working to tame or dismantle the emergent system.

Modern society is imperiling our collective natural and cultural inheritance. New institutions like common wealth trusts can enable us to protect these resources and share their benefits equally, countering the tendency of contemporary capitalism to destroy nature and widen inequality.

Commentary by Tom Bowerman, Thomas Hanna, Marjorie Kelly, Rajesh Makwana, James Quilligan, Brent Ranalli, Neera Singh, Elizabeth Stanton, Andy Stirling, and a response from the author

Gus Speth reflects on his distinguished career in environmental advocacy, public service, and higher education, discusses his new memoir Angels by the River, and reflects on the prospects for systemic change in the twenty-first century.

In The Collapse of Western Civilization, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway depict a dystopian future resulting from climate inaction. But the constricted dramatis personae in their scenario stacks the deck against the social agents that could emerge to alter the narrative.

We live in a full world but still behave as if it were empty. The urgent task ahead of us is to create an economy that remains within the earth’s carrying capacity while rethinking the ultimate purpose of the economy itself.

Commentary by John Barry, Nancy Folbre, Tim Jackson, Giorgos Kallis, Robert Paehlke, Stephen Purdey, Alan Willis, and Eric Zencey, and a response from the author

The Limits to Growth has had a profound impact on environmental research and discourse over the past four decades. Dennis Meadows discusses the genesis of the report and its lessons for our uncertain and perilous global future.

Operating from a realistic paradigm that understands the economy as embedded in the ecosphere is the key to transitioning to a sustainable civilization. Will the increasing unfitness of growth-obsessed neoliberal economics to our social and ecological realities spell its demise?

Humanity is pushing the Earth system into a post-Holocene state that very well could be inhospitable to human civilization. The urgent imperatives of respecting planetary boundaries and transforming the development paradigm have become complementary aspects of a single social-ecological project. 

Commentary by Noel Castree; John Bellamy Foster; Maarten Hajer, Marcel Kok, and Kathrin Ludwig; Richard Heinberg; Jill Jäger; Karen O'Brien; Kate Raworth; and John Robinson and David Maggs, and a response from the author

The Degrowth Alternative

The Degrowth Alternative

The "degrowth movement" has captured wide attention in recent years. Giorgos Kallis, an eminent scholar of this movement, explains its aims of opening up space for imagining and enacting alternative visions to modern growth-based development.

Commentary by Nicholas Ashford, Maurie Cohen, Herman Daly, Al Hammond, Michael Karlberg, Rajesh Makwana, Mary Mellor, Robert Nadeau, Robert Paehlke, Richard Rosen, Tilman Santarius, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Allen White, and Anders Wijkman, and a response from the author

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme comments on pivotal forthcoming international developments—the launch of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate negotiations—and the UN's role in fostering a sustainable future.

In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert powerfully documents a planetary tragedy. But the book is heedless of social roots of and solutions for the crisis, indicting, instead, essential flaws in human nature and offering only fatalistic despair.