We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, October 3, 2016

Capitalism, corporations and ecological crisis: a dialogue concerning Green Capitalism

Participants are Richard Smith, William Neil and Ken Zimmerman. This is a 10 page PDF document published in the real-world economics review journal
In the monograph Green Capitalism: The God that Failed, published by the World Economics Association (2016), and in a series of papers in Real-World Economics Review (2015; 2013; 2011; 2010), Richard Smith has set out a stark and unsettling argument. According to Smith, capitalism is systematically incapable of solving the most profound problem it creates. That is, ecological crisis. In making his case, Smith argues that many current analyses recognize the problem  but  do  not  go  far  enough  in  identifying  solutions.  For  example,  he  provides  a  constructive critique of Daly’s steady-state approach to capitalism. Smith advocates a form of eco-socialism.  In  the  following  dialogue,  adapted  from  a  series  of  blog  posts,  he  introduces  some of his key themes in an informal way and responds to interlocutors. Smith’s papers are amongst  the  most  widely  read  that Real-World  Economics  Review has  ever  published.  One  need  only  consider  the  limitations  and  problems  emerging  from  the  recent  Paris COP  21  climate  change  agreement  to  realise  that  Smith’s  work  deserves  careful  attention.


  1. Direct link to document: http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue76/Smith-et-al76.pdf

  2. Thank you so much for the correct link to the article. I have since updated the article to include this post which is a PDF document of an article contained in the journal [http://www.paecon.net] that is associated with the RWER blog website.


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