The Ecology of Freedom

English language

Published Feb. 16, 1982

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5 stars (1 review)

The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy is a 1982 book by the American libertarian socialist and ecologist Murray Bookchin, in which the author describes his concept of social ecology, the idea that ecological problems are caused by human social problems and can be solved only by reorganizing society along ecological and ethical lines. The book is considered Bookchin's magnum opus, but it has also been criticized as utopian.

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5 stars

Bookchin attempts to rewrite the history of humanity to prove that hierarchical structures aren't "natural" or "necessary". Paleosociology is inevitably hard and dubious, but Bookchin doesn't pretend to have the truth in his pocket. Every page challenges us to think differently and consider what we could do together as a society.

Bookchin is very aphorism-friendly so it would be easy to extract a myriad slogans. I've wondered about this passage on ecofascism: «To lecture society about its "insatiable" appetites, as our resource-conscious environmentalists are wont to do, is precisely what the modern consumer is not prepared to hear. And to impoverish society with contrived shortage, economic dislocations, and material deprivation is certain to shift the mystification of needs over to a more sinister social ethos, the mystification of scarcity. This ethos–already crystalllized into the "life-boat ethic", "triage", and a new bourgeois imagery of "claw-and-fang" called /survivalism/–marks the first steps towards …