Gift Ecology

Provocative, passionate and populist, RMB Manifestos are short and concise non-fiction books of literary, critical, and cultural studies.

Global sustainability in the 21st century seems to be an elusive goal. There are too many issues, too many problems—and, increasingly, too many people—to make the major changes required in the time various experts tell us we have left before it’s too late.

To create a sustainable future, we need to change the game itself. We cannot simply try to solve our problems one at a time. Instead, we need to reimagine sustainability in all its dimensions—social, cultural, environmental and economic—to create a global system that reflects how we should be living together, one that generates both hope and possibility.

In this thought-provoking work, Peter Denton argues that the attitudes and values associated with the economics of exchange are in part to blame for our current situation. We need to rediscover what it means to live in a universe of relations, not merely in one that can be counted and measured. The more we are able to replace an economy based on transactions with an ecology based on gifts, the more likely a sustainable future becomes for all of Earth’s children.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Gift Ecology 1
Contents 5
Preface 7
The Argument 11
Prelude 25
Part 1 • Mechanics, Methodists and Me 33
1. The Mechanical “I” 35
2. The Methodical Muse 53
3. The Metrical “Me” 71
Interlude: Lessons from a Scrub Oak 85
Part 2 • Toward a Gift Ecology 93
4. What Is Given, What Is Gift 95
5. A Universe of Relations 111
6. Gift Ecology: Rebalancing Ecology and Economy 127
Postlude: The Turtle’s Gift 145
Bookshelf 155
Other Titles in this Series 165