The author concludes that one cannot conceive- much less build- an ecological society without there being a broad consensus that the current economic system, founded on never ending growth, cannot be part of a new society. We must understand that all economic growth is destructive and that therefore we cannot have both capitalism and a habitable planet, says Cox. He goes on to warn that if we do not achieve such an understanding, any proposal or solution to the ecological crisis will be a pretentious and futile exercise, with a high entertainment value but with absolutely no usefulness in the real world.
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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up