Laid Waste! The Culture of Exploitation in Early America

After humble beginnings as faltering British colonies, the United States acquired astonishing wealth and power as the result of modernization. This has produced unimagined wealth and material comfort for some, yet it has also now brought the global environment to a tipping point. John Larson analyzes the roots of an American “culture of exploitation” that has left us free, rich, and without an honest sense of how this crisis came to be. Click here for a one-hour video of his presentation.

Originating in England and Western Europe, transplanted to the Americas, then copied around the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this modernizing process locked together science and technology, political democracy, economic freedom, and competitive capitalism.

This process was based on a set of assumptions that could be abandoned in the same way that divine right monarchies and African slavery have been abandoned in favor of ideas that were more communal in nature.

In order to stop such exploitation, we have to challenge the current paradigm, one that is nicely illustrated in the Lorax of Dr. Seuss.