Synopses & Reviews
Amid the hubbub of daily life and the seemingly endless bounty of capitalism, its easy to forget that all human action must be played out within our planets limitations. Any hope of infinityof infinite growth, infinite prosperity, and the likeis an illusion. Yet that very acknowledgment of the earths limits, highlighted by environmentalists for decades, has been assimilated almost seamlessly into the rhetoric, dynamics, and power structures of development.
Wolfgang Sachs predicted as much nearly twenty years ago in Planet Dialectics, his now-classic collection of trenchant and elegant explorations of the crisis inherent in the Wests relationship to nature and social justice. Looking specifically at such key concepts as efficiency, speed, globalization, sustainability, and development, Sachs shows that our current economic system is utterly incompatible with true sustainability and the quest for justice among the worlds people. Only by taking back the concepts of sustainability and justice, and acknowledging that they demand wholesale change to the Wests growth-obsessed economics, can we make real change for good in the world.
In this hugely important intellectual, ethical and ultimately practical analysis from the internationally renowned Wuppertal Institute, the authors address the two problems that define our age - social justice and environmental sustainability. How can those in poor countries raise their standards of living, on a planet with limited resources, without putting it under additional environmental stress? Going beyond the outdated North and South divide, they construct the necessary intellectual and moral platform for fundamental progress in the opening decades of the 21st century.
All effects of human action will inevitably be played out within our planet's limits; any hope of infinity is an illusion. And yet, as Wolfgang Sachs warned almost twenty years ago, environmental concerns have been assimilated into the rhetoric, dynamics and power structures of development.
This classic collection of trenchant and elegant explorations address the crisis of the Western world's relations with nature and social justice. Examining specifically the notion of efficiency - the mantra of our times; speed - the love affair with modernity; globalization - a market inevitability and the juggernaut of history; sustainability - oxymoron as rhetoric; and development - the great undelivered promise, Sachs shows that sustainability, truly conceived, is incompatible with the worldwide rule of economism and that the Western development model is fundamentally at odds with both the quest for justice among the world's people and the aspiration to reconcile humanity and nature.
About the Author
Wolfgang Sachs and Tilman Santarius are both senior research fellows at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Justice for Realists * Connective World * Divided World * Finite World * Justice in an Age of Limits * Part 2 Unequal Shares * The Triad of Omnivores * Unequal Ecological Exchange * The Newcomers and their aspirations * Part 3 Arenas of Appropriation * Geopolitics: the Hand on the Oil * Foreign Trade: Appropriation of Land * Investments: Diversion of Water * International Law: Patents on Plants * Part 4 Paradigms of Resource Justice * Long-Distance Ethics * Recognition and Redistribution * Protecting Livelihood Rights * Cutting Back Resource Claims * Making Exchange Equitable * Redressing Disadvantages * Part 5 Fair Wealth * Contraction and Convergence * Descent from High Consumption * Ecological Leapfrogging * Part 6 Governance for Ecology and Fairness * Equity in the Greenhouse * Fairness and Diversity * Fair Trade Instead of Free Trade * Civic Duties for Corporations * Part 7 What is Europe Worth? * Make law not war * Kyoto - and what else? * Farewell from Marrakech * Alliances for a fair future