‘Limits. Why Malthus was wrong and why environmentalists should care’

A new book by Giorgos Kallis (Stanford University Press, 2019)

Giorgos Kallis, February 2020

Western culture is infatuated with the dream of going beyond, even as it is increasingly haunted by the specter of apocalypse: drought, famine, nuclear winter. This book, published by Stanford University Press reclaims, redefines, and makes an impassioned plea for limits —a notion central to environmentalism— clearing them from their association with Malthusianism and the ideology and politics that go along with it.

Giorgos Kallis rereads reverend-economist Thomas Robert Malthus and his legacy, separating limits and scarcity, two notions that have long been conflated in both environmental and economic thought. Limits shows us how an institutionalized culture of sharing can make possible the collective self-limitation we so urgently need.

“With this book, I hope to make those who invoke limits consider how best to do so; I also hope to make the critics of limits think twice before branding those of us who call for limits as Malthusians”, explains Giorgos Kallis.

Giorgos Kallis is ICREA professor at ICTA (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and author of « Limits. Why Malthus was wrong and why environmentalists should care » (Stanford University Press, 2019). Tweets at @g_kallis


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Book review by Michael J. Sauter, November 27, 2019