Sunday 23rd October 2016                 Change text size:

Book review: Capitalism as if the World Matters – Jonathon Porritt (2007)


It’s not very often that capitalism is described as the potential solution for sustainability, but that is what activist Jonathon Porritt does in Capitalism as if the World Matters.

Porritt argues that it is possible to reform capitalism so that it can provide a solution to the challenges we face today, including poverty and the impact we are having on the environment. By demonstrating how we can work with the current capitalism model whilst protecting the world around us, he offers a roadmap to responsible capitalism.

The book address current contradictions and looks at what needs to be changed, such as better regulation and stronger corporate reasonability. It also looks at the current fixation on growth and the impact it is having. The author states that if we are to progress, then well being needs to be prioritised above both economic and financial growth.

Whilst Capitalism as if the World Matters has been criticised by some green groups, as Porritt points out, capitalism is all we currently have to work with. Corporations aren’t going anywhere, he says, and as a result those businesses that are creating initiatives should be praised and we should encourage others to move towards sustainability.

The book takes a pragmatic, yet optimistic, approach and lays out a way forward. It is well written and researched and Porritt’s wealth of knowledge on the subject is evident and easy to follow. Evidence, along with references, accompany his suggestions making the text an excellent reference source for those that want to take a deeper look at the subject matter.

Overall, Capitalism as if the World Matters makes the reader consider how sustainability can be achieved through capitalism and encourages debate.

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