SIXWAKING UPFrom Maximizing Profits to Sustaining Life

I once taught a course at Schumacher College in southern England titled “Can the Earth Survive Capitalism?” I began the class by talking about problems with the current design of our economic system—particularly financialization and extractive ownership design (though I wasn’t yet using that language)—and I planned next to move to solutions about the redesign of corporations. But I found the class wasn’t ready for that next step.

Their minds were on “collapse.” That was the word I heard bandied about in hallways and over dinner, as I came to realize that many of these students—schooled as they were in deep ecology—were convinced that what lay ahead was total ecological collapse, after which ...

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