Green Politics Is Eutopian by Paul Gilk is the Royal Book of the Week for Monday, August, 29, 2011. Duke August was recently reading an article about how environmentalist strategies are trapped within the paradigm of a capitalist system. These environmentalist needed to be handed this collection of Gilk’s essays. Did the Duke say “capitalist”? No, the Duke is not peddling a re-tread of the Communist Manifesto, so there is no need to reach for a copy of the oft-misquoted Wealth of Nations.
Gilk finds that capitalism and communism are two faces of the same utopian, patriarchal, urban, mechanistic civilization. He calls for a eutopian society as the antidote to this destructive path. The term eutopian, as used in the title of the book (At least it did for the Duke.) Gilk defines eutopian is defined in comparison. While Utopian means ‘no place’, Eutopian means the ‘good place.’
Despite the confusing contradictions in the respective titles, we can take two late-nineteenth-century novels as clear examples of the “no-place”/”good place” division: Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and William Morris’s News from Nowhere. the contradiction is clarified by Bellamy’s “ideal” story is set entirely in a city, while Morris’s “real” tale is situated in the countryside. Bellamy’s story is of an authoritatian, if also benevolent, urban nierarchy that directs a city-as-machine, while Morris’s tale is of robust community-oriented physical life in a classless and unspoiled countryside.