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Sustainable Socialism: William Morris on Waste


While William Morris has long been recognized for his radical approach to the problem of labor, which built on the ideas of John Ruskin and informed his contributions to the Arts and Crafts philosophy, his ideas about waste have received much less attention. This article suggests that the Kelmscott Press, which Morris founded in 1891, was designed to embody the values of durability and sustainability in sharp contrast to the neophilia, disposability, and planned obsolescence of capitalist production. Many critics have dismissed the political value of Kelmscott Press on the basis of the handcrafted books' expense and rarity, but by considering Morris's work for Kelmscott in light of his fctional and non-fctional writings about waste around the time of the press's conception, we can see how Kelmscott laid the groundwork for a philosophy of sustainable socialism. © Berg 2011.

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