1.3 Socio-economic causes of the planetary emergency require political-economic and corresponding cultural changes

The main cause of the planetary emergency, argued here and in the above recommended reading, is the globally dominant capitalist socio-economic system, with its hierarchical structure, monopolistic characteristics, increasing roles for reckless mineral extraction and financial speculation and its evident resistance to moving decisively away from a reliance on fossil fuels.

This system is increasingly burdened and limited by its hierarchical structure and socially destructive cultural attributes, including authoritarian tendencies, a fetish on consumerism, and possessive individualism in the relationships among people and between people and nature, ideas elaborated by Frank Cunningham in his essay on "What's wrong with inequality" available at www.greensocialdemocracy.org/component/content/article/88-canada-corner/148-what-s-wrong-with-inequality. Each of these behavioural tendencies is generated by the treatment of nature and people's labour as private property, that is, by the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of capitalism as a system.

The two sides of current economic activity include a capitalist market economy (defined by the use of money as a medium of exchange with usury as a characteristic feature) and the traditional non-market economy (based on social sharing of the remaining commons). The continuing expansion of the capitalist market economy occurs at the expense of what remains of the traditional non-market economy. Given that the latter is the source of our efforts to make our way in the world through cooperation, the relative advances of the former undermine our capacity to address the environmental and social problems we now confront. No amount of private income and wealth will provide even the wealthiest security against the ravages of climate change and violence. Only cooperative action can do that.

Redefining economics as the sum of the market and non-market economy restores to economics its original Greek meaning (which treats the economy of a society as metaphorically the equivalent of a household economy, that is, which embraces all that we do for ourselves and each other to provide us with a living from nature). Only a science of economics based on this recognition of the totality of economic activity can serve us to address the crises which the deformed view of economics has aided and abetted.

The economy is a relationship between people and nature; it is a subsystem of the biosphere, that part of the Earth that contains living things, a subsystem nestled within the sum of all of Earth's ecosystems. The health of the economy is dependent on a healthy environment. Human welfare and the welfare of the environment are inextricable.

The notion that breathable air, drinkable water and food that is nutritious is only of concern to "environmentalists" and that some other breed of people called "workers" are only interested in earning income to pay for commodities is a false dichotomy, in part the product of a divide and rule strategy by capitalism's anti-rational defenders. Advocacy of a just, sustainable future expresses the inextricable link between the welfare of people and nature. It is through the unity of the environmental and labour movements that we can have a realistic expectation of steering a course away from the Black Hole towards which the neo-liberal defenders of capitalist privilege are leading us.


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.