WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 22

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Political Theory in a Closed World: Reflections on William Ophuls, Liberalism and Abundance

Andrew Dobson

Environmental Values 22 (2013): 241-259. doi: 10.3197/096327113X13581561725275

ABSTRACT

This paper takes as a starting point William Ophul’s claim that the last 450 years amount to an ‘era of exception’ in terms of resource availability. Ophuls suggests that it is no accident that this exceptional era of abundance coincides with the birth and development of liberalism - that liberalism, in other words, would not/could not have occurred without the conditions provided by this era of exception. Some of the ways in which this suggestion might be critically examined are discussed, and attention is drawn to one of its more interesting implications: if liberalism depends on abundance, what kind of political theory do we need if we are entering a new era of scarcity (‘peak oil/peak everything’)?


KEYWORDS

Ophuls, closed world, political theory

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Degrowth or Regrowth? Mark Whitehead


Download full text (PDF format) from IngentaConnect. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values.

Subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

THE WHITE HORSE PRESS
The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222