|Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
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¡°Masterfully crafted, deeply thoughtful and mind-expanding.¡±¡ªLos Angeles Times?In this powerful and provocative manifesto, Bill McKibben offers the biggest challenge in a generation to the prevailing view of our economy. Deep Economy makes the compelling case for moving beyond ¡°growth¡± as the paramount economic ideal and pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. Our purchases need not be at odds with the things we truly value, McKibben argues, and the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture our own.
- Buy Local
This book is vaguely reminiscent of E.F.Schumacher's famous book published more than 30 years ago. "Small is Beautiful" was a reaction to the energy crisis and it marked the birth of the environmental movement. It was a time when it first dawned on many people - myself included - that the earth's natural resources - fossil fuels - were finite and nonrenewable. The biggest fear then was that key natural resources were rapidly being depleted. Since then new sources of energy have been discovered and new and more efficient technologies for their use have been invented, expanding the use of energy worldwide all in the name of economic growth.
Now economist Bill McKibben, environmentalist-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont, warns us not of fossil fuels being depleted but of their continued use in the name of unchecked economic expansion. This is actually a variation on a theme for those who follow the debate on global warming. To reiterate the mantra: If we continue to burn fossil fuels at the present rate for another 20 years the planet's ability to sustain life will become very precarious. Everyone - or almost everyone - would agree that something must be done to check the current trends.
Yet economies are directed toward growth and individuals are focused on accumulating wealth. As McKibben argues, "For most of human history, the two birds of More and Better roosted on the same branch. You could toss one stone and hope to hit them both." Now, however, More and Better are going their separate ways. Many in the developed world - McKibben included - are coming to the conclusion that More is not Better. This is an argument made mostly in advanced industial countries. But how does one convince the multitudes in the developing world such as China and India, many of whom have never owned an automobile, that More is not Better? The economic development of the West has progressed much longer than the rest of the world; why would the rest want to halt growth at this point?
McKibben's answer sounds agrarian utopian. The fact that he lives and works in Vermont already conjures up many images of his idea of a sustainable community. He wants to bring back the small, localized community were everyone knows their neighbors. Food and clothing would be produced locally as well as other manufactured goods. The long supply lines of globalization are wasteful, inefficient, and unsustainable. The "deep economy" is essentially the local economy; one that people can depend on because it is based on trust and neighborliness.
McKibben's view is optimistic and in the think-small mode. It is not as pessimistic as, say, James Howard Kunstler's vision in "The Long Emergency" were energy is depleted and we revert back to "pre-industrial" society. The solution in this book is probably far from most people's minds, but it may be realistic if we continue to head straight off the cliff of unfettered economic growth. At that point it will no longer be growth at any cost, but growth that is sustainable.
- McMe is the dilemma we face, Me first you last!
How old are you? the writing has been on the wall for a long time now and this is just the beginning race to global domination, even more than we are already. To put it simply we just need to down size everything we do and put passion and real thought into city planning like our European counter parts.
Orange coast college, Student ...more info
- how less is more
In this his newest book, Bill McKibben argues for the heretical notion that More is not Better. In fact, he says, More has become unsustainable, and is generating gross inequalities and insecurities, both among individuals and entire nations. He thus proposes a "quiet revolution begun by ordinary people with the stuff of our daily lives," beginning with our every day habits and our way of viewing the world. His favorite metaphor for this radical change is your local Farmer's Market; its antithesis is Wal-Mart, or perhaps the television show Survivor, the goal of which is "to end up alone on the island, to manipulate and scheme until everyone else goes away and leaves you by yourself with your money."
Free market capitalism has been based upon the premise and goal of unlimited growth, by any means and at all costs. Growth as both a means and an end, so goes this gospel, is good. But unsustained growth now faces three huge problems, says McKibben. Politically, unrestrained growth is "producing more inequality than prosperity, more insecurity than progress." Economically, unrestrained growth is unsustainable at present levels, especially if China and India intend to consume coal, oil, natural gas, and their by-products like Americans do. China, for example, is adding the equivalent of California to their electric grid every year. Global warming, species extinction, and resource depletion are all now a matter of the scientific record, and the earth can't sustain much more of it. McKibben's third observation is "less obvious and even more basic: growth is no longer making us happy." Our houses, to take but one example, are bigger than ever with fewer people living in them, with less sense of community than ever (cf. Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone).
Beyond economics and environmentalism, McKibben's real concern is our isolating affluence and hyper-individualism. He would move us to the truth wealth of durable communities that not only care for the earth but for each other. Along the way he illumines his research with personal anecdotes about the power of localized economies, advertisement, energy, public transportation, local radio, community supported agriculture, third world development, and housing. Such is the "economics of neighborliness." In one chapter he describes his effort to eat only locally grown food for one year--no mean feat in his home state of Vermont. If it bothers you that three-quarters of Americans say they do not know their neighbors, that Wal-Mart is "now the largest seller of food in this country (and on the planet)," and that the world produces more food more cheaply than ever and yet half the world goes to bed hungry, then read McKibben, look in the mirror, and make a few small changes to discover how less can lead to more....more info
- Vital Reading for the Future
This book provides an insight into shifting society toward human values and survival of community, both of which are endangered. Delightfully readable and optimistic and practical....more info
- Better than most
Excellent writing. Bad title.
Bill McKibben throws the kitchen sink at us from Bill Gates to Gandhi. More time should have been spent on solutions, particularly in US communities. Eco cohousing was glossed over.
Also missed was the huge cost of US health care which is a serious drain on our resources. Missing was the fact that US universities are also building McMansions and our educational institutions are burning money while poor people can not get all day schools so they can work. I won't even get into the political waste going on.
But McKibben is totally right on - big is killing us. Growth is killing us. Small is obviously better, but right now most communities don't know that they have to take the bull by the horns. Stay home next time, Bill. It is less fun, but the real work is here....more info
- An optimistic way to avoid environmental collapse
This brilliant book about the oncoming wreck of the global economy fails to answer the most elemental and yet essential question: How do we change human nature from wanting More! More! More!
Almost 50 years ago, the General Motors' exhibit at the World Fair was based on the idea, "Technology can point the way to a future of limitless promise." If McKibben or anyone else wants to understand the future, they need only look at today's GM, or Ford. The world is heading for a similar wreck; the survivors will be those who get out of the way.
This book is an example of the problem it laments; it is a dazzling example of the benign greed that is producing disaster, it offers cheery solutions well suited for miniscule groups of the conscientious, but it's not an answer. It merely uses more paper to explain the danger of using too much paper and other materials.
Let's be realistic: GM's vision of the future produced gray smog, stop-and-go rush hour traffic, road rage, OPEC prices, the rust-belt, inner-city blight, White flight, auto thefts and car bombings, plus global warming, used car sales people and SUVs. It's all a product of free decisions in a free marketplace. Now, GM is collapsing but Toyota thrives with its little cars and hybrids. It's how we got today's mess. What's the solution? More free decisions in a free marketplace?
McKibben is perfect when he points out small hunter/gatherer cooperative groups were normal for 99 percent of our history; but, he fails to come to grips with the monetization of relations among people during the past 5,000 years, and especially the last 300 years. Everything is now impartially subject to decisions based on free market pricing, which means the lack of hunter/gatherer cooperation is replaced by individualized competition.
Our economy is a wolf-pack that has turned on itself.
He cites the creation of the Industrial Age as beginning with Thomas Newcomen's invention of a practical steam engine in 1712; but he ignores the agonizing social upheaval people endured in fleeing old local sustainable farms and moving into cities. Any major change in our future will likely involve a similar human and material price. Someone needs to explain the "cost" of change and how it can come about.
One solution I'm involved with on a daily basis is Amazon.com -- which by making it easy to "recycle" used and donated library books has spared whole forests. Until such recycling occurs for much more than books, we must be content with dire forecasts about the oncoming wreck of the economy.
For most societies, the solution has always been collapse before radical change. McKibben offers little hope that America is different.
Doable? Other reviewers are optimistic. But, I look at the sorrow of ruins and fear people are too attached to past and present mistakes to see or accept alternatives. Perhaps McKibben is right; he is certainly an antidote to my pessimism. His analysis is interesting -- if doable; and if doabvle, it is vital.
This is a rough guide to a better future....more info
- Finally An Articulate Arguement For A New Path
McKibben doesn't expose any new data but his interpretation is refreshingly different or maybe just a reaffirmation of what we knew in the Sixties but didn't follow -- Think Global Act Local. I have been thinking alot lately about why there aren't any more Southern restaurants in the South, why my kids aren't happy when we buy them yet another game, toy or gadget, why all the radio stations sound alike, why we have a dumpster packed to the gills with "stuff" in our driveway, and why I can buy tilapia imported from China for $2.50 per pound in our local supermarket but no fish from North Carolina. Apparently I am not the only one thinking about these things but judging by the number of reviews this engrossing book has garnered thus far there still aren't that many of us.
The concepts McKibben puts forth are important and hopefully gain a wider audience. ...more info
- Must Read for All Human Kind..
This was probably the most profound book I have read this year. Bill's viewpoint of our society is right on. In a culture that does nothing but push us to grow, what is our breaking point and how will we know when we get there? It really has made me take a step back and not only think about the energy I use and the food that I eat, but how those choices impacts my small little world and beyond.
Hyper-individualism will be the word used to describe our generation. ...more info
- left with wanting more
Although I thought that "Deep Economy" was well-written and informative, I was disappointed because I think that it did not give any real solutions, nor did the book take into account the desperation of the lower classes in the U.S. due to poverty, lack of health-care, lack of security, and lack of any promising opportunities. Before the poor in our country can tackle new, sustainable economic ideals, we have to resolve their subsistence and security issues and provide hopeful, long-lasting opportunities through education and business.
I agree most heartily with Mr. McKibben's overall assessment of America's gross over-consumption, and "hyper-individualism", and that, through globalism, we are exporting these ideals in a destructive way, but I cannot share his optimism that this can change just simply through localism. His anecdotes about how alternatives work, though idyllic sounding, are elitist and not at all practical or even possible on a large scale. With our current, growing population, we cannot go back to small, local village economies. Plus, even within the types of projects that he describes in the book, hyper-individualism prevails. I have experienced and witnessed that co-housing, community radio and cooperative projects in this country are often wracked with conflict and so much personal attacks that members become disillusioned and burnt-out and eventually good-hearted souls abandon the concepts altogether. For better or worse, "hyper-individualism" is here to stay.
The only solution, that I can see, is for the U.S. to take strong action at the Federal level. We need a major restructuring of our tax code, our agricultural policy, our energy policy, our trade policies and treaties, our health-care system, etc. But I doubt that there is the necessary political leadership and will to avoid (when the grid shuts down, the gas goes away, and the Wal-Marts empty) a future of shortages, chaos, conflict and misery.
- Essential, easy reading
On a very basic level, "Deep Economy" by Bill McKibben is about global warming. But McKibben moves beyond the message we hear from people like Al Gore--unplug your cell charger and you've done your part!--to explain how our spending affects the environment and the strength of communities.
His ideas would almost seem to contradict his message--after all, spending locally and organically actually causes consumers to spend more money than if they did all our shopping through the internet or at Big Box stores. But the result--less energy spent in transporting goods, and more relationships bulit when neighbors meet face to face--is worth every penny.
One of the most frightening points he makes is that if people around the world lived as we do in America--owned the same percentage of cars, that sort of thing--we'd run out of resources. Scarier still is that we promote our brand of lifestyle through our movies and music, which cross borders; if a country the size of China buys this message, we're screwed.
A final point he makes is that all this spending isn't making us any happier--our satisfaction levels, as marked by surveys, have steadily decreased. "More" is not equal to "Better," he says.
The book is highly readable, even for all its facts and details. I purchased it for people who I know won't listen to people like Gore, sure that no one can come away from a reading of this book unchanged....more info
- Naive and question-begging
I'll grant that we're rendering the planet unfit for human habitation, and not just rhetorically, but because I agree with McKibben. But his solution to the dilemma -- localized economies, and less consumption -- begs a few questions. His solutions might be the answer, but he's disingenous in not acknowledging their downside, and he puts far too much faith in good intentions trumping the self-interest of the rich world.
1. Can local economies work everywhere? Large-scale economies have made it possible for humans to live in many environments that could probably not otherwise support large populations. Los Angles, after all, is a desert.
2. Those of us in rich countries have long been reluctant to sacrifice for the rest of the world, and in the US, even for our own countrymen. Why does McKibben think we'll start now? After all, the economic benefits of localization will accrue to others, not to us in the rich world. And won't an emphasis on local economies make us even less interested, if that's possible, in the fate of, say, Africans and Africa?
3. McKibben has an absurd faith in neighborliness. For example, he claims that local currencies have no downside, because local governments won't issue more currency than they'd be willing to accept in payment of taxes and fees. But if national governments abuse the power to print money, why won't local governments?
4. Small farms are more productive per acre, but less per person. This of course means many of us will be returning to the farm. How is that going to be sold to Americans?
5. So I buy apples from a nearby farm because they taste better, even if they're more expensive. Why would I buy more expensive shoes from the nearby factory if they're no different from cheaper shoes from Vietnam?
6. McKibben tells us how how horrible ecologically it would be if the Chinese lived like Americans do today. But of course they won't be able to; with the recent increases in commodity prices, even Americans can't continue to live like Americans. Increased demand for natural resources will prevent these horror stories from playing out....more info
- Take A Deep Breath, Relax and Get a Grip on the Economy and Life!
Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature", et al., has been studying "modern" society for years and has seen the writing on the wall of where the world is going with un-checked population growth (see his book, "Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families"); runaway growth mania economic platforms; rapidly increasing resource depletion; global warming, etc. It's not a pretty picture, but there is hope gained from the success of those people and entire communities that have stepped-back from the conventional "more is better" and "growth at all costs" lunacy and created simpler, far less stressful life-styles that are symbiotic with biological and sustainable resource use.
An awareness of interconnectivity and interdependence with life makes for a harmonious and happy existence and this, as McKibben makes it abundantly clear, is doable!
McKibben's books emphasize the old Chinese adage: "If we don't change the direction we're going, we will end up where we're headed" and currently, that is total collapse of all life support systems= chaos.
There is a plethora of information in this fine book on how people are mellowing-out from erratic, over-consuming society and getting into conservation, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), growing one's own food where viable, alternative power and community based organization for better local control of government - "Localism" (p122): in other words, "From Problem To Plan. If Hyper-individualism Is Damaging our lives, what can we do about that?". (p 104). Take charge and responsibility for one's self and community's life. Find balance in all affairs. Create "...thoughtful social innovation..." and "...face to face democracy as citizen legislators." (p 170) to create a "Durable Future". (Chapter 5).
- An Economy Based on Having Stuff is not Sustainable
This is a great book group read! It is not too long, has great examples, and is a pleasurable read. Not a book just for economic eggheads, but for everyone!
When I read this book I wanted to buy 100 and share them with people and discuss the ideas in the book. Since then my book group also read the book and can't stop talking about it.
McKibben challenges the fundamental economic belief that having more will make us happier and is necessary for our country's economic survival. Instead he offers a different model for our economic life that is sustainable for the planet and for us as a people.
- A Durable Future
Deep Economy is a very well written and important book. What I like best about it is the way Bill McKibben puts together a comprehensive way of looking at contemporary problems. He smoothly shows how individual consumer decisions, such as buying locally, and large scale environmental issues such as global warming are closely connected. I haven't read any of McKibben's earlier books, but he has been studying and writing about environmental and economic issues for several decades. The title is a play on the term "deep ecology," used by radical environmentalists. McKibben makes a persuasive case that economics is the best way to attack many of our most serious problems.
McKibben's most fundamental point is that we must question the widely held assumption that growth is necessarily a good thing for the economy. He concedes that for people living in extreme poverty, a certain amount of growth is indeed necessary, but that beyond a certain point it is counterproductive. Not only for the environment, but for happiness and well being. He quotes statistics that suggest accelerated growth in income and spending has been associated with a decline in overall happiness for Americans.This is partly due to what he calls "hyper-individualism," the extreme focusing on self that leads to alienation and the collapse of communities.
This is not, of course, an objective look at these issues, nor is there any pretense of this. I don't necessarily agree with all of McKibben's political assumptions. One could, for example, take many of the facts and possible solutions McKibben puts forth and interpret them in a more libertarian (rather than the anti-individualist, communitarian bias he has) way. But political ideology is not really the point of the book. McKibben believes, as do an increasing number of environmentalists, that global warming, peak oil (the world may be running out of oil very soon) and other environmental problems will soon make our current way of life (meaning Western, especially American) impossible. This is no longer a fringe position. With nations like India and China trying to emulate the American lifestyle, the prospect of running out of resources such as coal and oil no longer seems like a distant prospect. Add to this the issue of climate change and we really are facing a serious challenge to radically change the way we live.
Deep Economy is more than an alarmist tirade. It contains many hopeful ideas for the future, many of which are already being done. Probably the most basic and radical idea in the book is that local food production is actually more efficient than the mass production system that dominates the marketplace today. From local farmers markets across the U.S. to innovative solutions implemented in African, Asian and Central American countries, McKibben shows that the solution to virtually all food problems is simply for more people to grow and consume locally. The vast amounts of energy used in transporting food, the health concerns presented by genetically engineered crops and factory farmed meat all point to the extreme wastefulness of the agribusiness status quo.
McKibben prefers the term "durable" to sustainable, but it means basically the same thing. In this book, he makes a very good case that the only durable future we have is one that is far smaller, less wasteful and community-based than the present American model. Perhaps some of the most significant statistics he sites are towards the end of the book, where he compares American and European consumption patterns. This is important because Western Europeans are not poor or disadvantaged -in fact they have longer life spans, superior educational systems and work shorter hours compared to Americans; all this while driving smaller, more efficient cars, living in smaller homes and consuming about half the energy as Americans. This is proof that the American notion that "more" and "bigger" is better is a fallacy, and one we can no longer afford to believe in.
- Not Far Enough
McKibben's Deep Economy is very good as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough towards discussing sustainable economies and societies. Our populations are already far beyond the size Earth could sustain in a style approaching Europe's or North America's economies. A Very Deep Economy would discuss controlled collapse towards sustainable societies and the avoidance of catastrophic collapse caused by nuclear warfare, economic collapse, etc. Also, his stuff is somewhat Vermont precious....more info
- Well-written book that ultimately is more for the already converted than for the skeptic
This is a promising but ultimately disappointing book.
Among its strengths: it is very well-written. Compared to books with similar themes by Herman Daly (e.g., "For the Common Good", written with John Cobb), Michael Shuman ("Growing Local"), and Gar Alperovitz ("Making a Place for Community", with Imbroscio and Williamson), this McKibben book is written in an accessible, engaging style, with plenty of real-world stories of interesting individuals.
Another strength: This book is much fairer than the non-fiction essays by Wendell Berry on similar economic issues. McKibben at places does make a real attempt to acknowledge the arguments of economists about the benefits of economic growth and about the potential for economic adjustments to deal with some of the problems he identifies. This is particularly true in chapter 1, which critiques the mainstream view of economic growth.
A third strength: chapter 3 contains some powerful arguments for putting a greater value on local communities in considering economic policy issues.
However, ultimately I think McKibben shies away from really confronting the difficult issues he raises in a manner that would be convincing to a broad audience. As a result, I think the book is likely to be more of a comfort and support to readers who already agree with the views he expresses, rather than a powerful challenge to readers who disagree.
For example, one of McKibben's key arguments against economic growth is that economic growth will overuse energy, increase global warming, and damage various natural economic systems. The mainstream view of most environmental economists is that these problems of growth can be dealt with by various specific solutions such as imposing caps on carbon emissions, allowing energy prices to rise or even taxing energy resources, and rigorous environmental regulations to protect ecosystems. These measures may reduce per capita economic growth, but do not require that it be eliminated. McKibben acknowledges these arguments, but does not really confront them.
In fact, McKibben does not really acknowledge the existence of environmental economics as a field within economics. He writes as if the only economists who seriously consider environmental issues are ecological economists. This is a much smaller group of economists who happen to agree with McKibben that economic growth is inherently and inescapably destructive of the environment.
His discussion of "happiness research" is also disappointing. One of McKibben's arguments against per capita economic growth is that some research on subjective perceptions of happiness indicate that individuals do not seem to become significantly happier beyond about $10,000 per year in per capita income. However, is it true that the only goal of public policy is to make people happy? What about increasing the options of individuals? Happiness research also shows that most people quickly adjust to physical disabilities that may restrict their mobility or other activities, so that most people are just as happy a year or two after becoming disabled as they were before. (See, for example, the work of Daniel Gilbert, for example in "Stumbling on Happiness") Does this mean that society should not try to reduce the incidence of physical disabilities?
Finally, McKibben's discussion of solutions is interesting but sketchy. He is interested in promoting more local economies, and spends some time describing some specific programs and experiments in local food production, local energy production, etc. I am not really convinced that most of these options would take off and become prevalent even if we tripled the price of gasoline. I suspect that truly relying on local production would require too great an economic sacrifice in standard of living for most people, even if we "got the prices right" for various environmental goods and natural resources.
If I were promoting a discussion group on the issues raised by this book, I might use McKibben's book, but pair it with a book that gives the other side of these issues, such as Benjamin Friedman's "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth"....more info
- Absolutely Essential Reading...In Conjunction with 'Only One'
Bill McKibben's concepts in his book 'Deep Economy' should be read by everyone in the world. This book should be required reading in all schools and for all political leaders as well, for it describes some key concepts we humans need to implement (now) to increase the odds of humanity surviving, and even prosepring, well into the future.
These concepts are summarized as:
1) We need to consume fewer goods and services per person (Past a certain point, More does NOT equal Better)
2) We need to produce the goods and services that we do consume in a much more efficent and environmentally sustainable way.
Mr. McKibben seems to have left the obvious 'third leg of the sustainability stool' on the woodshop-room floor:
3) We need to achieve population stability...that is, zero population gowth.
However, fear not, for this essential element of the suatainability triad is the subject of another one of Mr. McKibben's books, 'Only One'.
Even if we achieve huge strides in ideas #1 and #2, if the total number of people in the human population increases unchecked long enough, then humanity will inevitably exceed the carrying capacity of our planet.
'GNP Growth' and 'Be fruitful and multiply' should not be suicide pacts...'The Truth Shall Set You Free'...
I highly recommend reading 'Deep Economy' in conjunction with 'Only One'. Even though I have not read 'Only One' yet, I am sufficiently impressed with Bill McKibben's thinkging and writing that I am confident it will be just as enjoyable and necessary as 'Deep Economy'.
Mr. McKibben's easy-going, non-pretentious, conversational writing style combines with his inescapable logic to make this an enjoyable and profitable read.
Peace, Hope, Understanding, Love and Compassion for All....more info
- a book which can change your thinking
A very good, well-written book on some of the most challanging topics of this era....more info
- Great book, great service
As we head into the uncharted waters of this new era, complete with economic breakdown, we need community more than ever in order to build a new real, stable economy based on the real needs of ALL of us, not just the 1% at the top of the heap. This book is an important guide to help us toward the realization of this dream....more info
- Wake Up! Wake Up!
McKibben's wake-up call must not go unheard. It's the antidote to 'global' go-go grow-grow chearleading by the likes of Thomas Friedman's 'World is Flat.' Another excellend wake-up is THE WORLD IS FLAT? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman's NYT's Bestseller," by Aronica and Ramdoo. In that book they extend the discussion to 'not killing the earth' and 'America's former middle class.'
I hope 'Deep Economy' will help us all start a journey so that we may somehow avoid Bill Moyers' 'Welcome to Doomsday,' and rekindle that thing we used to call 'community.'
WakeUp! WakeUp! ...more info
- Passionate and useful
This last year has seen a crop of great books which share a common message: that solutions are possible, and a sustainable society is within our reach. I'd put Deep Economy on the same shelf as Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises, Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century and (judged from its early reviews) Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.
It's enough to make even an old cynic hopeful....more info
- Deep Economy = Right on the money!
If you are looking for a good entry-level book addressing some of the more complex social issues of our time, then Deep Economy is a good place to start. Like other social issues book that deal with social issues, Bill McKibben's book will probably scare and then anger the reader at first, but it's a message that can't be ignored.
McKibben's premise is that our current economy is based upon year after year growth and expansion and our environment and well-being can't take it too much longer. He argues that our unofficial national motto of "more is better" is killing us as we tear through our global resources and destroy our bodies. Technology, vocational efficiency and economic growth are turning us into the hyper-individualized individual that is easily manipulated and controlled by big business corporations. We are obsessed with consumerism and excess but studies are showing us that "more stuff" does not actually make us any happier thus it is pointless. Meanwhile we are destroying the Earth through the burning of fossil fuel and the little gains we are slowly making will be more then wiped out by the growth of China and India's economies which are trying to become like the USA. His solution is logical as he argues we must become more communal in every facet of our life. Our economies, our energy usage/distribution and our food system will all benefit the Earth as a whole if we can address these problems at the community level.
This is all pretty heady stuff that most of think about at some levels, but might not be ready to accept as a way of life like McKibben suggests. Nonetheless this is a great intro book while others out there go into these subjects with more detail.
Bottom Line: Because of its short length and uncomplicated prose, this is a great book to give to that special someone that hasn't read any social issue books yet but might benefit from it.
- Must Read
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Add this to your must read list. It is interesting, challenging and extremely relevant!...more info
I read this book, then bought copies for the my mother and my sister. I want everyone I know to read it....more info
- Integrating global warming, economics and sociology
Over the several weeks that I was reading this interesting book, I found myself frequently quoting facts and anecdotes from it to other people. The author does a great job of integrating issues of global warming, social isolation and worldwide economics into one cohesive set of ideas. A couple of chapters (particularly Chapter 1) are a bit on the dry side, but that's the only flaw....more info
- Deep Economy Review
The authoe, Bill McKibben, is a thoughtful, well-informed person who cares about expanding community relationships and redirecting the reader's focus to creating a more sustainable world. Lots of facts and figures in the book to buttress his argument......more info