This week's guest, Ashley Dawson, is a Professor of English at the Graduate Center/City University of New York, and the author of Extinction: A Radical History (as well as an extensive list of publications on sociology, economics, and literature).
His book's argument – that capitalism's innate drive to grow and consume is essentially incompatible with sustainability – makes Extinction something in between an ecological treatise written by a communist and an economic manifesto written by an ecologist.
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We had a fascinating and challenging conversation with Professor Dawson – a disarmingly modest and thoughtful fellow in spite of his fiery and politically charged writing. Part of acknowledging our role as ancestors-in-training is the unpleasant responsibility for examining our generation's role in the mass extinction of The Human Age.
His ardent voice as a liberal intellectual, examining capitalism-caused mass extinction as an offense against the civil rights of our fellow beings, is a fresh contribution to the debate about climate change, "green" businesses, and personal responsibility.
But he was also surprisingly willing to hear our critiques and place the conversation in a much wider context that examines the other mass extinctions that predated human beings; that considered the mass killings of premodern humans and the significant increase in recent years of ecological consciousness among average people.
In light of his argument that we have to stage an economic coup to put a stop to the Sixth Mass Extinction, we get into it with questions like:
• Can capitalism really be blamed for mass extinction?
• How can we transition into a more ecological economics?
• What happens if we treat capitalism as something nature's doing?
One of the heaviest – but also deepest and most interesting – conversations we've had on the show to date. Enjoy it before it's too late!
Visit his website:
Buy Extinction: A Radical History at OR Books: