Eco-Socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice by David Pepper

By David Pepper

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Maximum social good is thought to flow from individuals all seeking to maximise their own gain, after the ‘invisible hand’ theory of Adam Smith. Kamenka (1982a, 8–24) describes how socialist community mores imply, after Rousseau, that the ‘general will’ is qualitatively different from the sum of individual wills, and the latter may have to be subordinate to the former. The general will is an expression of humanity’s social, communal nature. To be fully human is to live with others and be concerned for them as one is for 16 RED AND GREEN: OLD OR NEW POLITICS?

This system is immensely resilient, and although humans could destroy it in its present form, it seems more likely that they would destroy themselves and that Gaia would continue—albeit with species other than humans being most dominant. Lovelock’s hypothesis does not attribute intelligence to Gaia. But many Gaianists do: particularly deep ecologists and New Agers. Gainism lends itself to New Age mysticism, including paganism, and to the ecocentric bioethic, which calls for respect and reverence for nature’s intrinsic rights and worth, regardless of use or otherwise to humans.

E. ecocentrics, ought theoretically to be concerned with radical social change, away from the kind of interventionism that has characterised liberal industrial capitalism for three hundred years. Marxism and anarchism, being concerned with radical social change, is thus more relevant to ecocentrism than technocentrism. This book mainly addresses ecocentric concerns, expressed through its political ideology of ecologism. It will suggest that these should largely be met through the more anthropocentric radical environmentalism of eco-socialism—except, that is, for the concern not to be anthropocentric, which should be abandoned.

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