Hooked On Growth

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Challenging conventional wisdom on the virtues of a consumer economy, this provocative book explores the nexus between growth and environment sustainability. The miracle of the modern affluent economy is an ever-swelling cornucopia of consumer goods, leading to expanding consumption as the essential underpinning of economic growth in more and more parts of the globe. Douglas Booth contends that expansion in this form amounts to an addiction. Are we as a society hooked on economic growth of a kind that carries with it significant threats to the natural environment? A critical dilemma for the modern economy is that growth is required to prevent the pain of unemployment. As growth continues, the environment declines, but if growth slows, unemployment rises. We seem trapped in a spiraling predicament like that of the addict. This accessible work explores whether getting "unhooked" from growth to meet the needs of the environment is possible. Giving the environment priority over growth may seem to some like a radical idea, yet the author argues that it can be accomplished using marketable emissions allowances, transferable development rights, and other tools popular with conventional economists. It can also be achieved by creating more interesting and environmentally friendly urban landscapes less beholden to the automobile. The key problem a less growth-oriented society will face is ensuring that everyone who wants employment can find it. This will require something that many people wish for anyway, a shorter workweek. More leisure, a higher-quality environment, and more attractive cities and towns are the potential rewards of a less consumption-oriented society. Yet powerful economic interests that benefit from a high-growth economy are arrayed against changes in the status quo. Under what circumstances can the power of special interests be overcome in the name of environmental conservation? This is the author's critical final question as he offers a clear path to a sustainable economic and environmental

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Editorial Reviews

In Hooked on Growth, Booth uses the metaphor of addiction to link three apparently distinct areas of society's affluent life: consumption, employment, and the natural environment....Using concepts from economics ecology, and environmental ethics, Booth examines questions of whether it is possible or desirable to get "unhooked" from growth. Recommended.
— M. Morgan-Davie, Utica College of Syracuse University
Using concepts from economics, ecology, and environmental ethics, Booth examines questions of whether it is possible or desirable to get 'unhooked' from growth. . . . Recommended.
John Gowdy
Hooked on Growth is a welcome addition to the sustainability literature. It not only presents a clear analysis of the growth addiction problem, it lays out a clear path to a better future.
Herman E. Daly
Hooked on Growth is a scholarly and insightful, yet very readable, diagnosis of our most serious addiction. Highly recommended.
Louis G. Fortis
Hooked on Growth is a must-read. Booth carefully explains how we can get unhooked from excessive economic growth and still live the good life in an environmentally friendly world.
Gaylord Nelson
Hooked on Growth should be on everyone's must-read list. Growth has become the magic formula for curing all political and economic problems. Yet the thoughtful reader will be driven to the conclusion that it is not possible to have infinite growth on a finite planet. Indeed we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of our resource base—resulting in polluted air, water, rivers, lakes, oceans, eroded soil, and denuded forests—thus raising the question: where do we go from here?
CHOICE - M. Morgan-Davie
In Hooked on Growth, Booth uses the metaphor of addiction to link three apparently distinct areas of society's affluent life: consumption, employment, and the natural environment....Using concepts from economics ecology, and environmental ethics, Booth examines questions of whether it is possible or desirable to get "unhooked" from growth. Recommended.
John Norquist
Doug Booth dares to explore the tradeoff between the environment and economic growth. He concludes that American consumers would have to pay a price for environmental sustainability, but the price is well worth paying.
Environment, Vol. 48, No. 2 - Kirk Waters
In Hooked on Growth, Douglas Booth takes us on a very readable and accessible examination of the economic dependency on growth and the implications of that growth on the environment. After making compelling arguments to support the claim that the U.S. economic system is not environmentally sustainable, Booth provides direction for realigning the growth rate with the environment. . . . This is a thought-provoking book that makes readers consider the future of America's current path and where they surely want to go instead.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742527188
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas E. Booth is retired associate professor of economics at Marquette University and a founding board member of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Hooked on Growth: Introduction Chapter 2 Conspicuous Consumption, Novelty, and Creative Destruction Chapter 3 The Macroeconomics of Being Hooked on Growth Chapter 4 Economic Growth and Environmental Change Chapter 5 Everyday Economic Life and Environmental Decline Chapter 6 Conventional and Ecological Economics: Adjusting the Environment to the Economy versus Adjusting the Economy to the Environment Chapter 7 Environmental Values and Getting Unhooked from Growth Chapter 8 The Politics of Getting Unhooked from Growth

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