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The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy

by David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith, 2007, Praeger Publications

ISBN : 978-0313345043

Authors Personal Notes
Read the Foreword
Read the Preface & Chapter 1 (PDF, 236 KB)


"In this latest volume of the Politics and Environment series, professor emeritus of medicine David Shearman and philosopher and ecologist Joseph Wayne Smith show a complete willingness to challenge organizational identities.

They forcefully argue that our system of overall political, economic, and social governance is an obstacle to confronting effectively the looming environmental crises that global climate change poses. Shearman and Smith challenge us to reexamine how states, corporations, and consumers are driving us, literally, to the brink of disaster. In engaging considerations of the limits to growth, the separation of corporatism and governance, financial reform, legal reform, and the reclaiming of the "commons" for human society, they ask us to consider what is often considered unthinkable in our cosmopolitan, ideologically centered mindset.

In short, Shearman and Smith argue that liberal democracy - considered sacrosanct in modern societies - is an impediment to finding ecologically sustainable solutions for the planet. Many, of course, will find this argument untenable. But I would urge readers to listen closely to Shearman and Smith's entertaining and always thoughtful arguments. In an era of ever widening, ever deepening globalization, liberal democracies have proven unable, or unwilling, to check the explosive growth of corporatism's power, influence, and reach. In terms that mirror Marx's thoughts on the aggregation of capital into the hands of the fewer and fewer, Shearman and Smith are nonetheless, not neo-Marxists in their argument. In some ways, their notions that liberal democracy must give way to "a form of authoritarian government by experts" reminds us as well of Plato's Republic".

P. H. Liotta
Executive Director

Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy
Newport, Rhode Island

The quotations from the text are reproduced with permission of Greenwood Publishing Group. Inc., Westport CT.

Publishers' Notes

You can read the publishers' notes at Greenwood.com.

Podcast Discussion

David Shearman discusses this book with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live, Radio National. Air date 21st Feb 2008. Click here to listen.

Purchase this book

This book is available from Greenwood.com and Amazon.com.

Other Books

A New Way of Thinking About Our Climate Crisis


Climate Change as a Crisis in World Civilisation: Why We Must Totally Transform How We Live


The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy


Climate Change Litigation


Green or Gone