Prometheus and the Fishpond
A Historical Account of Agricultural Systems and Eco-Political Power in the People’s Republic of China
Recent environmental projects of the Chinese state, including the preservation of ‘agricultural heritage’ and the promotion of ‘ecological civilisation’, are inspiring people from around the world. However, these endeavours are deeply embedded in two ideologies that foster technocratic and growth-oriented approaches to managing the natural environment: economic thinking and systems thinking. Meanwhile, the Chinese state’s very active involvement in these projects has increasingly served to limit the critical standpoint found among many proponents of ecological agriculture elsewhere. While state support for sustainability provides opportunities for much excellent scholarship and science, ecopolitics in China is also enhancing the power of an oppressive, technocratic state.