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p. 523. Growth Unlimited: The Promethean Responselocked

p. 523. Growth Unlimited: The Promethean Responselocked

  • John S. DryzekJohn S. DryzekProfessor of Political Science and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, Australian National University


This chapter focuses on the Promethean response to unlimited growth. Discourses do not need conscious articulation. They can be so ingrained and taken-for-granted that it would never occur to anyone to mention them. Such was the case for the environmental discourse which can be styled Promethean. In Greek mythology Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, thus significantly increasing the human capacity to manipulate the world. Prometheans have unlimited confidence in the ability of humans and their technologies to overcome any problem — including environmental problems. The term ‘cornucopian’ is sometimes associated with this denial of environmental limits. After providing a background on the central argument of the Promethean discourse with respect to growth, the chapter considers various criticisms levelled against it. It also explores Promethean environmentalism and the impact of Promethean discourse.

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