Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development Paperback – Aug 14 1997
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Daly is turning economics inside out by putting the earth and its diminishing natural resources at the center of the field . . . a kind of reverse Copernican revolution in economics. --Utne Reader
"Considered by most to be the dean of ecological economics, Herman E. Daly elegantly topples many shibboleths in Beyond Growth. Daly challenges the conventional notion that growth is always good, and he bucks environmentalist orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on 'sustainable development' is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless." --Mother Jones
"In Beyond Growth, . . . [Daly] derides the concept of 'sustainable growth' as an oxymoron. . . . Calling Mr. Daly 'an unsung hero,' Robert Goodland, the World Bank's top environmental adviser, says, 'He has been a voice crying in the wilderness.'" --G. Pascal Zachary, The Wall Street Journal
"A new book by that most far-seeing and heretical of economists, Herman Daly. For 25 years now, Daly has been thinking through a new economics that accounts for the wealth of nature, the value of community and the necessity for morality." --Donella H. Meadows, Los Angeles Times
"For clarity of vision and ecological wisdom Herman Daly has no peer among contemporary economists. . . . Beyond Growth is essential reading." --David W. Orr, Oberlin College
"There is no more basic ethical question than the one Herman Daly is asking." --Hal Kahn, The San Jose Mercury News
"Daly's critiques of economic orthodoxy . . . deliver a powerful and much-needed jolt to conventional thinking." --Karen Pennar, Business Week
About the Author
Named one of a hundred "visionaries who could change your life" by the Utne Reader, Herman Daly is the recipient of many awards, including a Grawemeyer Award, the Heineken Prize for environmental science, and the "Alternative Nobel Prize," the Right Livelihood Award. He is professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs, and coauthor with John Cobb, Jr., of For the Common Good.
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What makes Daly effective as a writer is the calm humility of his intellect. Economics has practically become a religion in our society (witness the dogmatic reviews of political/economic books on this site). However, unlike other economists, who get shrill and polemical when their dogma is challenged, Daly is willing to consider possible holes in his arguments, opponents' counterarguments, and unknowns. Of course, he shreds most counterarguments in his calm, polite way, but after reading other economists the openness is refreshing.
My one complaint is the disjointed nature of the book. Although certain themes run throughout each of the seven sections, some of the pieces were originally written as separate essays, and it shows. However, given the clarity of the writing (even on very technical subjects such as Soddy's views on the nature of money) that is ultimately forgivable.
In "Beyond Growth" Daly puts forth his beliefs in a concise and readable way. I found the first few chapters a bit heavy on economic theory and terminology (Daly is after all an economist first and foremost), but once that necessary underpinning has been laid Daly goes on to discuss growth-related topics (population, international trade, ethics) in terms more familiar to the layman, expressed in a thought-provoking and even moving way. Daly not only knows, he cares. The final chapter of the book, in which he attempts to meld the concept of stewardship common to most religions with principles of sustainable development, suggests Daly's concern for growth-addicted humanity springs from a religious upbringing. If he has forsaken some of the dogmatic teachings of his youth, he has retained the kernel of the faith, a devotion to Truth and the well-being of his fellow man, to which he adheres as firmly as did his Renaissance predecessor in heresy. Such adhesion brought Bruno martyrdom at the stake; for Daly it is more likley to bring ultimate recognition as one of the most forward-thinking intellectuals of his time.
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Daly's work is a necessary and candid re-evaluation of both (neo)classical economics, and current notions of 'sustainable development. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2008 by Jordan
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