The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

Post-capitalism by design not disaster

Samuel Alexander

The Ecological Citizen Vol 3 Suppl B 2020: 13–21

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First published: 21 February 2020  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


This article examines how to proactively design the end of capitalism rather than simply waiting for its collapse. It argues that capitalism is unable to resolve the emerging crises, for capitalism cannot function without economic growth, yet for ecological reasons economic growth cannot continue. However, there is a coherent alternative political economy – degrowth – and the emergence of various grassroots alternatives that, suitably scaled up, could help to form a post-capitalist economy. But our culture is not yet ready to embrace degrowth, with consumer affluence and techno-optimism still at the heart of mainstream conceptions of the 'good life'. Nonetheless, it is important to keep alive these ideas of what an ecocentric, post-capitalist economy could look like, for in a crisis what today seems impossible or implausible can suddenly become possible and even probable.



Ecological economics, Limits, Societal change, Sustainability