Social Philosophy and Ecological Scarcity  book cover
1st Edition

Social Philosophy and Ecological Scarcity

ISBN 9780367353421
Published April 30, 2021 by Routledge
442 Pages

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Book Description

Originally published in 1989 Social Philosophy and Ecological Scarcity presents a systematic study of the implications of ecological scarcity for social philosophy. The book argues for a new social philosophy based on a conception of the ‘good society’ and the ‘good life’ which makes fewer, rather than more demands on scarce ecological resources. The book shows that the two major competing social philosophies in modern philosophical thought – the bourgeois liberal and the state socialist – are both forms of capitalism. Despite their obvious differences, they both pursue the logic of capitalism, of ever-increasing accumulation, growth and consumption. This pursuit is carried out by means of modern science and its technology, which assume that Nature’s resources are inexhaustible and can be exploited to meet infinite human wants or needs, ignoring ecological scarcity. The recognition of ecological scarcity would lead to a social philosophy, based on a frugal mode of socialism which has more affinities with the social visions of Fourier and Morris than with that of Marx. Their theories, far from being too ‘utopian’, are shown as more ‘realistic’ and less ‘fantastic’ than either bourgeois capitalism or state capitalism based on the Marxist model.

Table of Contents



1. A Rational Basis for a Naturalistic Ethic and Social Philosophy

2. The Principles of Ecology and the Laws of Thermodynamics

3. Ecological Scarcity

4. Human Agency and its External Relations

5. Rates of Reproduction and Consumption

6. Economics at Odds with Ecological Scarcity

7. Civilisation, its Contents and its Discontents

8. Work and the Two Socialisms

9. Redistribution, Equality as the Distributive Value

10. Human Capacities and Needs





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