Utopia in the Anthropocene : A Change Plan for a Sustainable and Equitable World book cover
1st Edition

Utopia in the Anthropocene
A Change Plan for a Sustainable and Equitable World

ISBN 9780367614843
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

Utopia in the Anthropocene takes a cross-disciplinary approach to analyse our current world problems, identify the key resistance to change and take the reader step by step towards a more sustainable, equitable and rewarding world. It presents paradigm-shifting models of economics, political decision-making, business organization and leadership and community life. These are supported by psychological evidence, utopian literature and inspirational changes in history.

The Anthropocene is in crisis, because human activity is changing almost everything about life on this planet at an unparalleled pace. Climate change, the environmental emergency, economic inequality, threats to democracy and peace and an onslaught of new technology: these planetwide risks can seem too big to comprehend, let alone manage. Our reckless pursuit of infinite economic growth on a finite planet could even take us towards a global dystopia. As an unprecedented frenzy of change grips the world, the case for utopia is stronger than ever. An effective change plan requires a bold, imaginative vision, practical goals and clarity around the psychological values necessary to bring about a transformation.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of the environmental humanities, sustainability studies, ecological economics, organizational psychology, politics, utopian philosophy and literature – and all who long for a better world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The case for utopia

Part One: The burning platform

Chapter 1: The Anthropocene crisis: change mismanaged

Part Two: The growthist world system

Chapter 2: The goals and values behind our 'mad' world plan - and who’s behind it

Chapter 3: What keeps the system going? The economics, business and politics of growthism

Chapter 4: The wealth fallacy: the psychology and culture of growthism

Chapter 5: The worst case scenario: dystopia in the Anthropocene

Part Three: The change plan: 12 steps towards a people-planet utopia

Chapter 6: Step 1. Define the utopian vision (the SEWP model)

Chapter 7: Step 2. Set goals and clarify values

Chapter 8: Step 3. Support an ecological revolution in economics

Chapter 9: Step 4. Put wellbeing and community first

Chapter 10: Step 5. Build a circular democracy (and champion the transvaluation of politics)

Chapter 11: Step 6. Embrace utopian internationalism

Chapter 12: Step 7. Help to grow post-growth enterprises

Chapter 13: Step 8. Manage yourself to utopia (by democratizing leadership and other organizational practices)

Chapter 14: Step 9. Put psychology to work on transforming our values

Chapter 15: Step 10. Learn from the utopian imagination

Chapter 16: Step 11. Think and act like a utopian

Chapter 17: Step 12 Take heart from history

Part Four: Conclusion

Chapter 18: Make the choice: utopia versus Dystopia



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Michael Harvey is a London-based organizational psychologist and leadership coach with extensive experience in personal and organizational change. A former literary academic and entrepreneur, he’s also a trained psychotherapist and author of Interactional Coaching (2012) and Interactional Leadership (2015).


"Michael Harvey’s Utopia in the Anthropocene is a work of deep insight and compelling topical relevance. The author draws upon an impressive array of disciplines, scientific and cultural, to analyse the political, economic and ecological crisis facing us today. There are no simple solutions to the crisis, but in this highly original and persuasively written book Harvey elaborates a series of “steps” towards a new Utopia, which build upon what we have achieved in the past and are capable of achieving in the future."
- Martin Travers, Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, School of Humanities, Griffith University, Brisbane


"Michael Harvey’s Utopia in the Anthropocene:A change plan for a sustainable and equitable world provides readers with a stark warning of a very real possible future. More importantly, it sets out an agenda for genuine and significant Utopian change that can be realised if we are courageous and determined enough to enact its principles. Taking a wide perspective spanning several major disciplines, it challenges and provokes in ways that not only "tell it as it is" but, far more importantly, set out how a positive alternative still remains possible."
- Professor Ernesto Spinelli, BPS Chartered counselling psychologist and existential therapist