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HUAN QINGZHI: Enriching ecological connotation of socialist system

| 2015-05-28 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

In general, “socialist ecological progress” is a combination of socialism (social justice) and ecology (sustainability). It is a historical alternative to the capitalist system and its ideology and values. The historical experience in the pre-capitalist era shows that when economy is placed within, not above, traditional society, the logic of capital, if capital exists, has to adapt itself to traditional society and ecological rationality, and at least it would not be monopolized or hegemonic. This, of course, does not mean that we should regress to pre-modern society. Instead, it indicates that we should focus on the green future and the first consensus we must reach is that the hegemony of the logic of capital can be challenged.

The premise for the realization of socialist ecological progress is the design of a new set of social and ecological systems to contain capital and its operational logic. Combating ecological problems, in the final analysis, requires a new type of “social relations” or “socio-natural relations,” which is the fundamental implication of socialist ecological progress. As for the ecological meaning of socialist ecological progress, the domestic academic circle has already sufficiently elaborated on this. By contrast, the socialist nature of socialist ecological progress has been inadequately discussed so far.

The appearance and spread of green capitalism in European countries and the US can be a double-edged sword to the advancement of ecological progress in China. A great many Chinese scholars are still devout believers in the results, models and ideas of environmental management in European countries and the US, which is exactly the reason why the idea of “pollute first, clean up later” is so entrenched. What’s more important is that Marxist scholars should be committed to enriching the ecological meaning of the socialist system in line with the practice of promoting ecological progress in China, which in turn will further facilitate the practice.


Huan Qingzhi is a professor from the School of Marxism at Peking University.