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Magdoff, F. (2011). Ecological civilization. Monthly Review, 62(8), 1–25.  
Last edited by: Dominique Meeùs 2011-02-22 15:16:13 Pop. 0%
      Capitalism is incompatible with a truly ecological civilization because it is a system that must continually expand, promoting consumption beyond human needs, while ignoring the limits of nonrenewable resources (the tap) and the earth’s waste assimilation capacity (the sink). As a system of possessive individualism it necessarily promotes greed, individualism, competitiveness, selfishness, and an Après moi le déluge philosophy. (*) Engels suggested that “real human freedom” can be achieved only in a society that exists “in harmony with the laws of nature.” (**)
     Although it is impossible to know what future civilizations will be like, we can at least outline characteristics of a just and ecologically based society. As a system changes, it is the history of the country and the process of the struggle that bring about a new reality. However, in order to be ecologically sound, a civilization must develop a new culture and ideology based on fundamental principles such as substantive equality. It must (1) provide a decent human existence for everyone: food, clean water, sanitation, health care, housing, clothing, education, and cultural and recreational possibilities; (2) eliminate the domination or control of humans by others; (3) develop worker and community control of factories, farms, and other workplaces; (4) promote easy recall of elected personnel; and (5) re-create the unity between humans and natural systems in all aspects of life, including agriculture, industry, transportation, and living conditions. An ecological society is one that will need to be the opposite of capitalism in essentially all aspects. It would: (l) stop growing when basic human needs are satisfied; (2) not entice people to consume more and more; (3) protect natural life support systems and respect the limits to natural resources, taking into account needs of future generations; (4) make decisions based on long-term societal/ecological needs, while not neglecting short-term needs of people; (5) run as much as possible on current (including recent past) energy instead of fossil fuels; (6) foster the human characteristics and a culture of cooperation, sharing reciprocity, and responsibility to neighbors and community; (7) make possible the full development of human potential; and (8) promote truly democratic political and economic decision making for local, regional and multiregional needs.

(*) Après-moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and every capitalist nation. Capital therefore takes no account of the health and length of life of the workers unless society forces it to do so. (Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, p. 381.)

(**) Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring, in Marx and Engels, Collected Works, vol. 25, New York: International Publishers, 1975, p. 106.
      I will discuss the following: (1) the critical characteristics that underlie strong ecosystems ; (2) why societies are not adequately implementing ecological approaches ; and (3) how we might use characteristics of strong natural ecosystems as a framework to consider a future ecological civilization.
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