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Palgrave Macmillan

Sustainable Civilization

ISBN 9781137382696
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Western civilization has entered a new fundamental crisis that can be explained by a very one-sided orientation of social values based on materialism and egocentrism, which is disrupting the delicate balance between the opposing forces of 'mind' and 'matter', and of 'I' and 'the others'. Many sources – from the great works of philosophy, religion, art and culture to social surveys and the course of history – qualify sustainability as the dynamic equilibrium between fundamental opposing forces. This insight and the ethical ability to better discriminate between stabilizing and destabilizing forces would allow further justification of human rights and new institutional arrangements in society at large and, in particular, in politics, economy and finance. It would enable a sustainable civilization to flourish within the boundaries of freedom and human dignity.

Klaas van Egmond is Professor of Sustainability and Environment at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Previously, he was Director of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. He completed several studies on all aspects of environment and sustainability for the Dutch government, the EU and the UN.

PART I: WESTERN CIVILIZATION IN CRISIS
1.1. Economic Growth and Social Progress
1.2. The Ecological Crisis
1.3. Economy versus Ecology
1.4. Limits to Growth
1.5. The Financial Crisis – 'No One Saw This Coming'
1.6. The Socio Cultural Issue
1.7. Sustainability and the Quality of Life
1.8. Summary
PART II: HUMAN VALUE ORIENTATIONS; WORLD VIEWS
2.1. Social Surveys
2.2. Philosophical and Religious Notes
2.3. The Resulting World View
2.4. Summary
PART III: THE LABORATORY OF HISTORY
3.1. History Repeats Itself
3.2. Overshoot and Collapse of Value Orientations
3.3. Centrifugal Forces
3.4. The Power of Identity
3.5. Reversal of Ends and Means
3.6. What Will Happen Next?
3.7. Summary
PART IV: THE WEST AND THE EAST
5. The Message of Culture and Religion
5.1. Culture
5.2. Spirituality and Consciousness
5.3. Summary
PART V: SUSTAINABLE CIVILIZATION
6.1. Ethics
6.2. Human Dignity
6.3. Good, Truth and Beauty
6.4. Freedom and Free Will
6.5. Human Rights
6.6. Democracy and Social Responsibility
6.7. Summary
PART VII: AGENDA FOR A SUSTAINABLE CIVILIZATION
7.1. The Political Task; the Radical Centre
7.2. People, the Social Issue
7.3. Planet; the Environmental Issue
7.4. Profit; Economy and Finance
7.5. Summary
PART VIII: SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
8.1. Economic Means to Social Ends
8.2. Ownership, Economical Scale and Dematerialization
8.3. Summary
PART IX: SUSTAINABLE FINANCE
9.1. Financial History
9.2. A New Financial System
9.3. Summary
PART X: THE NEXT STEP
10.1. Crisis
10.2. A New Form of Governance
10.3. Agenda
10.4. An End to the Caricature
10.5. Sustainable Civilization

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'The current disastrous impasse in global society has resulted from pursuing policies justified by a worldview that is no longer relevant – social progress through economic growth, both without limit. If we continue to use that worldview to design policy responses to the crisis of humanity, it will only get worse. Sustainable Civilization offers an alternative. It lays out a novel and useful framework for describing paradigms. It discusses the options that are realistically available to us and offers guidelines for more effective policies.' – Dennis Meadows, author of Limits to Growth (1972)
'The human mind seems to allow the quick embracing of deeply ingrained belief systems, and then extremes of denial in defence of them. This is why, like earlier civilizations, we tend to a suicidal blindness when facing enormous risks. This book is about these patterns of behaviour, the values that underpin them and how they need to change urgently. I recommend it and urge all to action on the consequences of it.' – Jeremy Leggett, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, UK
'Klaas van Egmond is an unconventional and engaging thinker… In his new book, he addresses questions about how to develop a more sustainable world in new ways, reviews the values that underpin individual and organizational behaviour and redefines human dignity in the process. Sustainable Civilization explores the internal dimension of sustainability and connects it with its external developments. He shows how climate change, the social crisis and the financial crisis are interconnected. This book is a must read for social entrepreneurs, bankers, scientists, politicians and citizens looking for a better understanding of what is happening around us and how to pursue a more sustainable future.' – Peter Blom, CEO Triodos Bank
'Professor van Egmond's book is an important contribution to the understanding we need to find our way toward a more balanced and sustainable civilization. His emphasis on the crucial role of integral worldviews is a welcome addition to the current literature where "hard" factors such as energy, resources and finance take the centre stage. If we are to create a better world, that creation must start in our thinking – in our worldview. And reading van Egmond's book helps this essential process get under way.' – Ervin Laszlo, founder of the Club of Budapest
  • Avinash Tripathi 4th November 2014

    Professor Klass Van Egmond explores the connection between climate change and world views of civilization .He provides a fresh breeze to current debate on complex issue of sustainability.Thanks a lot for bringing forth the discussion on social values which are often downplayed for mindless unlimited growth to happen .A must read for growing understanding on sustainability issue.

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