Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth

Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth

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by Lester R. Brown
     
 

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"One of the world's most influential thinkers."—Washington Post
In 1543, Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the view that the Sun revolved around the Earth, arguing instead that the Earth revolved around the Sun. His paper led to a revolution in thinking—to a new worldview. Eco-Economy discusses the need today for a similar shift in our

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Overview

"One of the world's most influential thinkers."—Washington Post
In 1543, Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the view that the Sun revolved around the Earth, arguing instead that the Earth revolved around the Sun. His paper led to a revolution in thinking—to a new worldview. Eco-Economy discusses the need today for a similar shift in our worldview. The issue now is whether the environment is part of the economy or the economy is part of the environment. Lester R. Brown argues the latter, pointing out that treating the environment as part of the economy has produced an economy that is destroying its natural support systems. Brown notes that if China were to have a car in every garage, American style, it would need 80 million barrels of oil a day—more than the world currently produces. If paper consumption per person in China were to reach the U.S. level, China would need more paper than the world produces. There go the world's forests. If the fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economic model will not work for China, it will not work for the other 3 billion people in the developing world—and it will not work for the rest of the world. But Brown is optimistic as he describes how to restructure the global economy to make it compatible with the Earth's ecosystem so that economic progress can continue. In the new economy, wind farms replace coal mines, hydrogen-powered fuel cells replace internal combustion engines, and cities are designed for people, not cars. Glimpses of the new economy can be seen in the wind farms of Denmark, the solar rooftops of Japan, and the bicycle network of the Netherlands. Eco-Economy is a road map of how to get from here to there.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
One of the world's most influential thinkers.
Publishers Weekly
Eco-economic theory calls for harmony between our economy and natural resources. Our current, untenable, profit-focused economic model, says Brown (Building a Sustainable Society), depletes forests, oil, farmland, topsoil, water, atmosphere and species beyond a sustainable level. Brown, founding director of the Earth Policy Institute, uses the Sumerians as an antimodel: as the land was overworked, water sources eventually disappeared. And he uses forestry as a counterexample: forests secure land and store water, acting as natural dams. Logging delivers paychecks, but doesn't consider flood damage from tree loss. Eco-economists would say that the logger and the town, while temporarily profiting, pay more in the end in rising insurance costs, flood damage to homes and infrastructure, increased taxes and disaster relief funds. The goal, presented here in convincing detail, is to design a profitable economy that accurately reflects the social cost of abuse of resources. Brown suggests shifting "taxes from income to environmentally destructive activities, such as carbon emissions." Individuals and towns should receive tax breaks for deploying solar and wind-generated power. However receptive to Brown's excellent, sophisticated proposals, many readers will wonder how they can become reality; for eco-economics to work, all world leaders would need to agree on what makes practices environmentally unsound. (Nov. 5) Forecast: In light of the current administration's poor reputation for eco-concern and its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, Brown's book will do well among students, activists and the growing environmental movement. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
We are losing the war to save the planet, we need a vision of what an environmentally sustainable economy would look like, and we need a new kind of research organization, says Brown, who is president of Earth Policy Institute. He synthesizes the current issues and data, and invites readers to interact with the Institute for ongoing research and activities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393321937
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
354
Sales rank:
1,384,706
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)

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