Edward Goldsmith

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Edward René David Goldsmith (born November 8, 1928 in Paris , † August 21, 2009 in Siena ) was an Anglo-French environmentalist , writer and philosopher , who was known for his critical views on industrial society and the free market economy .


Edward Goldsmith came from the old German-Jewish Goldschmidt family from Frankfurt am Main . He was the son of Frank Goldsmith and the Frenchwoman Marcelle Mouiller. Billionaire James Goldsmith is his brother.

Goldsmith went to the Millfield in Somerset and then graduated with honors in philosophy, politics and economics at Magdalen College of Oxford University (1947 to 1950). Goldsmith rejected the reductionist ideas of the sciences already during his studies and looked for a holistic worldview. After his military service as a British intelligence officer in Hamburg and Berlin, Goldsmith took part in a number of business models, largely unsuccessfully. He continued to devote most of his free time to studying the subjects that would occupy him for the rest of his life.

He spent the 1960s traveling extensively around the world to get a first-hand look at the destruction of the environment and traditional peoples. He came to the conclusion that globalized industrialization was the real cause of all social grievances and environmental degradation.


Edward Goldsmith is the author and co-author of a number of books dealing with environmental and social development issues. In 1969 he founded the environmental magazine " The Ecologist ". He has taught at several universities and was a member of the "International Forum on Globalization" (IFG), an association of sixty organizations from twenty countries, which educates people about issues of the global economy, as well as organizing campaigns.

In 1972 the Ecologist first published the title "A Blueprint for Survival" and later in book form, an influential appeal that sold 750,000 copies. He drew attention to the urgency and extent of environmental problems and advocated radical restructuring of society in order to prevent what the authors call "the collapse of society and the irreversible destruction of the livelihoods of this planet". This pamphlet was written primarily by Goldsmith and signed by over thirty of the leading scholars of the time including Julian Huxley , Peter Medawar, and Peter Markham Scott . Inspired by Blueprint, Goldsmith and Robert Prescott-Allen initiated the founding of the People Party in Great Britain, which was later renamed the Green Party. However, he later came into conflict with the party's social-liberal theses due to his deep ecological views.

A major exponent of a scientifically sound deep ecology and systems theorist , Goldsmith was an early proponent of the Gaia Hypothesis , having previously developed a similar concept of a self-regulating biosphere . Today Edward Goldsmith is considered a pioneer for bioregionalism and a critic of globalization .

Goldsmith expressed great sympathy for the cultures and values ​​of traditional peoples throughout his life. When "The Ecologist" was founded, he was a member of the founding committee of "The Primitive People's Fund", which later became the organization Survival International ; today one of the largest non-governmental organizations to support traditionally living indigenous communities.

In his book Der Weg E. Goldsmith names the role models and masterminds who influenced him: Ludwig von Bertalanffy , Alfred North Whitehead , Karl Polanyi , Michael Polanyi , Gandhi , Eugene Odum , CH Waddington , Paul Alfred Weiss , William Homan Thorpe , Placide Temple , Alfred Radcliffe-Brown , Roy Rappaport , Richard St. Barbe Baker .

The "Ecological Manifesto"

One focus of his work was a theory for the unification of the sciences. In the context of a holistic view of the world - which he felt was imperative for the future of man - he turned against what he believed to be the overly reductionist and mechanistic approaches of mainstream science. He called for a new scientific paradigm . His theory of a holistic science was strongly influenced by cybernetic thinking . In particular, he referred to the general system theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy .

A popular scientific publication of his theory is the book Der Weg - An Ecological Manifesto (1992), which was also published in German in 1996. Edward Goldsmith calls for the natural order of the earth to be preserved in order to ensure our survival. This requires an original, ecological worldview, which also takes into account the traditional knowledge and wisdom of non-industrialized earth-bound peoples - he calls them "Chthonic societies" - and returns to the essentials. He cites the results of numerous cross- cultural studies . Goldsmith investigates the reasons and cause-and-effect relationships and develops a holistic philosophy as a prerequisite for changing the present.


Edward Goldsmith has received a number of awards for his work to protect nature and for his commitment to the importance and situation of indigenous peoples, including the "Alternative Nobel Prize" ( Right Livelihood Award , 1991) and the French Order of Merit of the Legion of Honor .

Publications (also as co-author)

  • 1972: A Blueprint for Survival. Penguin Books, 1972.
  • 1977: The Doomsday Funbook. (Joys Of Apocalypse) 1977.
    • The Doomsday Fun Book New Edition. John Carpenter, 2006.
  • 1978: The Stable Society. Wadebridge Press, 1978.
  • 1988: The Great U-Turn. De-industrializing Society. Green Books, 1988.
  • 1984: The social and environmental effects of large dams. (Wadebridge Ecological Center) Volume I (1984), Volume II (1986), Volume III (1992).
  • 1990: 5,000 days to save the planet. Hamlyn, 1990.
  • 1992: The Way. An ecological world view. Rider Publishing House, 1992.
    • The way. An ecological manifesto. (489 pages) Verlag Bettendorf, Bartenstein 1996, ISBN 3-884980912 .

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