Navigation Links
Book examines clash of capitalism and the environment

New Haven, Conn.The environment will continue to deteriorate so long as capitalism continues to be the modern worlds economic engine, argues Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, in his new book, The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability.

Seeing an emerging environmental tragedy of unprecedented proportions, Speth says the books aim is to describe a non-socialist alternative to capitalism. That alternative includes moving to a post-growth society and environmentally honest prices, curbing consumerism with a new ethic of sufficiency, rolling back growing corporate control of American political life, and addressing the enormous economic insecurity of the average person.

My point of departure is the momentous environmental challenge we face, Speth says. But todays environmental reality is linked powerfully with other realities, including growing social inequality and neglect and the erosion of democratic governance and popular control. Speth examines how these seemingly separate areas of public concern are intertwined and calls upon citizens to mobilize spiritual and political resources for transformative change on all three fronts.

Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science, calls Speths book, A powerful and ambitious attempt to characterize the changed strategies that environmental organizations need to adopt to become more effective. This book challenges many things that would seem to have political immunity of a sortamong others, corporate capitalism, the environmental movement itself and the forces of globalization.

Co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute and former White House advisor, Speth has been called the ultimate insider by TIME magazine. But now, faced with evidence of galloping degradation of the planet, Speth has concluded that all in all, todays environmentalism has not been succeeding. He calls on environmentalists to step outside the system and develop a deeper critique of what is going on.

Speth argues that aggregate economic growth is no longer improving the lives of most Americans and suggests that in some ways it is making individuals worse offenvironmentally, socially and psychologically. It is said that growth is goodso good that it is worth all the costs, that somehow well be better off, says Speth, We are substituting economic growth and more consumption for dealing with the real issuesfor doing things that would truly make us better off.

The book calls for measures that provide for universal health care and alleviate the devastating effects of mental illness; guarantee good, well-paying jobs and increase employee satisfaction, minimize layoffs and job insecurity and provide for adequate retirement incomes; introduce more family-friendly policies at work, including flextime and easy access to quality child care; and provide individuals with more leisure time for connecting with their families, communities and nature.

My hope is that all Americans who care about the environment will come to embrace these measuresthese hallmarks of a caring community and a good societyas necessary to moving us beyond money to sustainability and community, he says. Sustaining people, sustaining naturethey are just one cause, inseparable.

Speth writes that Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the dollar value of all goods and services produced by the economy, is a poor gauge of human well-being or welfare. The book cites studies showing that throughout the entire period following World War II, as incomes skyrocketed in the United States and other advanced economies, reported life satisfaction and happiness levels stagnated or even declined slightly.

Speth says that these studies suggest the need for a radical rethinking and reordering of societys priorities. Obsession with consumption and GDP growth has now causes more harmto the environment, social fabric and world securitythan good.

It took all of history, Speth notes, to build the $7 trillion world economy of 1950; today, economic activity grows by that amount every decade. At current rates of growth, the world economy will double in size in less than two decades. Society is facing the possibility of an enormous increase in environmental deterioration, just when we need to move strongly in the opposite direction.


Contact: David DeFusco
Yale University

Related biology news :

1. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
2. Iowa State University conference examines developing bioeconomy
3. New paper examines dams effects on California salmon
4. Study examines genetic defects linked to body abnormalities in patients with childhood cancer
5. SRMs track fire retardants in humans and environment
6. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
7. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
8. UCR engineers to develop new tool to measure how environmental exposures affect health
9. TAU scientists probe deep questions aboard EcoOceans environmental research ship
10. Genes and environment grant funds close look at nature-nurture overlap in common diseases
11. Americans remain pessimistic about the environment, Stanford-AP survey finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... Directors. --> --> ... the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the largest ... Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating ... companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... interface solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) ... smartphones. These new TDDI products add to the ... resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ... fostering and monetization of intellectual property, today provided ... designed to create shareholder value. ... "Based on published reports, the total addressable market ... and Spherix will seek to secure fair and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the ... acquired Cypher Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company ... software solutions. The San Diego -based ... Cypher CEO and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., ...  Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: AYTU), a commercial-stage ... will present at two upcoming investor conferences. Aytu is ... virtual conference, to be held December 3, 2015, and ... held December 2 nd & 3 rd , ... streamed live via webcast. Josh Disbrow , ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: NWBO ) ... immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, announced today that ... director, and the Company welcomes Neil Woodford,s ... recent anonymous internet report on NW Bio.  The Company,s ... Linda Powers stated, "We agree with Mr. Woodford ...
Breaking Biology Technology: