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The Enemies of Progress: Dangers of Sustainability (Societas) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 2008


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This polemical book examines the concept of sustainability and presents a critical exploration of its all-pervasive influence on society, arguing that sustainability, manifested in several guises, represents a pernicious and corrosive doctrine that has survived primarily because there seems to be no alternative to its canon: in effect, its bi-partisan appeal has depressed critical engagement and neutered politics. It is a malign philosophy of misanthropy, low aspirations and restraint.This book argues for a destruction of the mantra of sustainability, removing its unthinking status as orthodoxy, and for the reinstatement of the notions of development, progress, experimentation and ambition in its place. Al Gore insists that the 'debate is over'. while musician K.T. Tunstall, spokesperson for 'Global Cool', a campaign to get stars to minimize their carbon footprint, says 'so many people are getting involved that it is becoming really quite uncool not to be involved'. This book will say that it might not be cool, but it is imperative to argue against the moralizing of politics so that we can start to unpick the contemporary world of restrictive, sustainable practices.


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6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Potential Unrealized: classic frontier economics from a "blue" worldview 11. Februar 2009
Von Mark T. VanDyke - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is not so much a critique on "sustainability" as it is on "environmentalism". Williams' text attacks "sustainability" without ever really addressing the concept in general; economic sustainability and social equity (two of the three so-called components of the sustainability concept--and the elements that make sustainability unabashadly anthropocentric) are notably absent as Williams lays out a familiar and played out (albeit passionate) argument against environmentalism. Williams displays a viewpoint described by Michael Colby (1991) as classic "Frontier Economics": progress as infinite growth; extremely strong anthropocentric views; privatization and free markets; exploitation of infinite natural resources et cetera. The downfall of this viewpoint is that although it is creative and pro-humanity (very important aspects), it has absolutely no awareness of any reliance on ecological services--which is apparent in Williams lack of coverage throughout the book. To Williams, nature is still that force to be conquered by man, providing nothing of value without human labor and ingenuity.

For those interested in possibly buying this text, some of William's key arguments are as follows:

Sustainability is a dangerous concept that restrains human imagination
Human ambition is suppressed by sustainability's biocentric viewpoint
A progressive future relies on human-centered (anthropocentric) politics

Thesis statement: Sustainable development is the enemy of development; environmentalism is the enemy of humanism; ergo, sustainability is the enemy of progress (page 3)

The real fallacy is Williams steadfast framing of an argument with only two sides--humans or the environment; to use Williams' own vocabulary, that seems awfully "parochial" and altogether less than "progressive" thinking. For those readers (or potential readers) who believe that environmental problems are real and deserve attention and management, look instead to the much more progressive texts such as Bryan Norton's "Sustainability: Adaptive Ecosytem Management", which proposes adaptive management as a way to recognize and value real environmental problems while complementing the progessivist viewpoint and strongly rejecting any form of economic reductionism. Williams' argument is based on very outdated conservation versus preservation ideologies; however, many alternatives are available to those who are more pragmatic and believe that there is a middle way between the polarized views of the past.

This is an extremely weak argument against sustainability--if an argument at all--and does not provide any solution other than to continue "business-as-usual" approaches.
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Useful study of Green errors 1. Juni 2009
Von William Podmore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Austin Williams, an architect who is Director of the Future Cities Project, argues that sustainability is a dangerous concept, at odds with progress. He urges us to see human beings as the solution to problems, as against Greens, who see people as the problem. The increasingly odd John Gray shares this misanthropy when he sweetly compares humanity to `slime mould'.

Again, the reactionary Club of Rome wrote in 1991, as the Cold War ended, "in searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention ... The real enemy then is humanity itself." This turns human beings against each other and against themselves.

Greens want no growth or industry, less production and consumption, more social restraint and conformity. Activist Susan George says, "Growth is not the solution but the problem." They see producing energy and using it as bad. This new Puritanism chimes in with the ruling class's interests: they want us to accept lower living standards and less freedom.

So European Commission President Barroso says, "Europe must lead the world into a new, or maybe one should say post-industrial, revolution." The Bishop of London tells us that flying is `a sin against the planet'.

Greens also try to impose their ideas on other countries, to hold back their progress towards better lives for their people. Green Jonathan Porritt (son of Lord Porritt, who was once Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief over New Zealand) says, "Massive large power stations, connecting up every single individual wherever they are in that country, to a centralised distribution system of large-scale energy generation. That's it, that's the end of the world." Bono justifies colonial-style looting of poor countries, saying, "Aid for Africa is just great value for money ... the investment reaps huge returns."

A group of academics, who travelled to Keele University for a conference called `Against Mobility', said, "a car-based regime generates widespread problems - ecological collapse, war, widespread death and ill-health and economic dysfunctionality, to name but a few." Cars cause wars - that's novel, if nothing else.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Maybe a grad school prank? 20. Januar 2014
Von Just Trying to Help - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I am not ruling out the chance that this book was written by a few drunk grad students on a lark, as it is so obviously wrongheaded as to be almost comical. Presuming that the author is serious, we can only be glad that this particular uncritical embrace of the technological imperative has been completely without influence. Had this not been the case, a great reason to invent time travel would have been to go back in history and stop this author's parents from meeting.
6 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Must Read Expose 2. Dezember 2008
Von Crosslands - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Mr. Williams has written a must read expose of the socalled sustainable society movement. Mr. Williams demonstrates that the sustainable society movement is a group of ecofreaks or environmental extremists using bad science and scare tactics to deny mobility, personal and material advancement, decent education, and basic liberty to the mass of humanity. The sustainable society would serve only a small group of debased eco gurus who want to rule and control humanity through environmental restrictions. To this end the sustainable society proponent is always a climate alarmist who annunciates the global warming hoax no matter what the actual evidence is. It must be noted that the most vociferous climate alarmists who also stand in the way of nuclear energy are the sustainable society ecofreaks.

Mr. Williams, particularly in the last chapters of his book, demonstrates how the sustainable society ecofreak acts to destroy material, scientific and technological advancement in the Third World, thus leaving large masses of the population of the world in hopeless squalor and poverty. And what the ecofreak does to the developing world he will do to the the people of the United States and other developed countries if and when he is able to.

In effect Mr. Williams has demonstrated what a hateful creature the sustainable society ecofreak is - a vain, misanthropic, arrogant, controlling, imperialistic, demented, obscurantist, lying, elitist, technophobic enemy of humanity. This ecofreak must be stopped.
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