Starred Review. Challenging the prevailing wisdom that the goal of economies should be unlimited growth, McKibben (The End of Nature) argues that the world doesn't have enough natural resources to sustain endless economic expansion. For example, if the Chinese owned cars in the same numbers as Americans, there would be 1.1 billion more vehicles on the road—untenable in a world that is rapidly running out of oil and clean air. Drawing the phrase "deep economy" from the expression "deep ecology," a term environmentalists use to signify new ways of thinking about the environment, he suggests we need to explore new economic ideas. Rather then promoting accelerated cycles of economic expansion—a mindset that has brought the world to the brink of environmental disaster—we should concentrate on creating localized economies: community-scale power systems instead of huge centralized power plants; cohousing communities instead of sprawling suburbs. He gives examples of promising ventures of this type, such as a community-supported farm in Vermont and a community biosphere reserve, or large national park–like area, in Himalayan India, but some of the ideas—local currencies as supplements to national money, for example—seem overly optimistic. Nevertheless, McKibben's proposals for new, less growth-centered ways of thinking about economics are intriguing, and offer hope that change is possible. (Mar. 20)
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*Starred Review* Beginning with his prescient treatise on global warming, The End of Nature (1990), McKibben has been investigating and elucidating some of the most confounding aspects of our lives. He now brings his signature clarity of thought and handsomely crafted prose to a pivotal, complicated subject, the negative consequences of our growth-oriented economy. McKibben incisively interprets a staggering array of studies that document the symbiotic relationship between fossil fuels and five decades of dizzying economic growth, and the many ways the pursuit of ever-higher corporate profits has led to environmental havoc and neglect of people's most basic needs. At once reportorial, philosophic, and anecdotal, McKibben, intoning the mantra "more is not better," takes measure of diminishing returns. With eroding security, a dysfunctional health system, floundering public schools, higher rates of depression, "wild inequity" in the distribution of wealth, and damage to the biosphere, McKibben believes a new paradigm is needed, that of a "deep economy" born of sustainable and sustaining communities anchored in local resources. Using the farmer's market as a template, he explains the logistics of workable alternatives to the corporate imperative based on ecological capacities and the "economics of neighborliness." With the threat of energy crises and global warming, McKibben's vision of nurturing communities rooted in traditional values and driven by "green" technologies, however utopian, may provide ideas for constructive change. Donna Seaman
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Amazing book, really inspiring with great information and statistics. It gives good practical steps for making change, and most of all it's not all doom and gloom. Read morePublished 10 months ago by avid-bookie
Few writers tend to capture my attention for long but McKibben had me hook, ligne, and sinker, as they say. He kept me wanting to read more. Read morePublished on April 11 2012 by EaglesIII