Alternative Title

Economy, Ecology, and Ecological Civilization instructed by Martin Luther King Jr.

Publication Date

Winter 1-9-2018


This MLK Jr-inspired ecotheology [eco-theology] connects “economics,” “ecology,” and “ecological civilization” to the theological ethics of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Though we often remember King primarily as a domestic civil rights leader; attention to King’s book—Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967) reveals that he advanced a global ethics. King called for replacing recourse to war with nonviolent resistance to evil, and for abolishing poverty throughout “the world house.” He prescribed that we “civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.” King was concerned with civilizing “the world house” (house or household in Greek is “oikos;” and “oikos” is the root of the words “economy” and “ecology”). King’s concern is consistent with some recent writings from China about “ecological civilization” (Pan Yue 2006, 2008; Jia Zhibang 2009). The most profound difference is that King recognized and strongly emphasized faith-based reasons for believing that we can and should advance toward a civilized world house (toward an ecological civilization). King’s “audacious faith” in the future of civilization was based upon the reality of God, and related ethical realism. This improves upon cynical-pessimistic versions of Reinhold Niebuhr’s political realism.

Document Type



abolition of poverty, economics, ecology, ecological civilization, eco-theology, ecotheology, realism, world house


Applied Ethics | Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Constitutional Law | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Ethics in Religion | Human Rights Law | Natural Law | Philosophy | Religion | Religion Law | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion