Letters on Liberty: Greens: the new neo-colonialists

GREENS: THE NEW NEO-COLONIALISTSAustin Williams

Austin Williams argues that the contemporary environmentalist obsession with stopping development is a bigger threat to society than climate change. As humanists, he says, we need to reformulate the idea that all meaningful production requires the appropriation of nature. A Green desire to clamp down on production, population and any human impact on the planet is a middle-class political fantasy that keeps the poorest in developing nations poor. Holding down people’s aspirations for economic, social and national autonomy is the hallmark of modern day, sustainable, neo-colonialism, he says.

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Austin Williams is an architect and director of the Future Cities Project. He is the author of China’s Urban Revolution: understanding Chinese eco-cities and co-founder of mantownhuman: Manifesto – Towards a New Humanism which featured in Penguin Classics’ 100 Artists Manifestos. Other books include: Enemies of Progress; The Future of Community and The Lure of the City. Austin convenes the Bookshop Barnies. Find out more about Future Cities at futurecities.org.uk