The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

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Overview

The Wealth of Nature proposes a new model of economics based on the integral value of ecology. Building on the foundations of E. F. Schumacher's revolutionary "economics as if people mattered," this book examines the true cost of confusing money with wealth. By analyzing the mistakes of contemporary economics, it shows how an economy centered on natural capital—the raw materials that support human life—can move our society toward a more productive relationship with the planet ...

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The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

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Overview

The Wealth of Nature proposes a new model of economics based on the integral value of ecology. Building on the foundations of E. F. Schumacher's revolutionary "economics as if people mattered," this book examines the true cost of confusing money with wealth. By analyzing the mistakes of contemporary economics, it shows how an economy centered on natural capital—the raw materials that support human life—can move our society toward a more productive relationship with the planet that sustains us all.

The Wealth of Nature suggests public policy initiatives and personal choices that can help alleviate the economic impact of Peak Oil. These strategies must address not only financial concerns, but the issues of resource depletion and pollution as well. Examples include:

  • Adjusting tax policy to penalize the use of natural nonrenewable resources over recycled materials
  • Placing public welfare above corporate interests
  • Empowering individuals, families, and communities by prioritizing local, sustainable solutions
  • Building economies at an appropriate scale

Profoundly insightful and impeccably argued, this book is required reading for anyone interested in the intersection of the environment and the economy as we enter the twilight of the Age of Abundance.

John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history, an award-winning author, and an internationally renowned peak oil theorist whose blog The Archdruid Report has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the future of industrial society.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his September 2, 2009, New York Times column, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman asked, "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?" That question embodied the soul-searching within economics that followed the field's admitted spectacular failure to foresee and prevent the recent financial crisis known as the Great Recession. Greer (The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age) takes the foibles of modern macroeconomics as his jumping-off point for what turns out to be largely a critique of contemporary society's organization, use, and management of natural resources. Drawing heavily on the work of E.F. Schumacher, Greer's central thesis is that we don't adequately value natural resources and irresponsibly consume them. He also explores the inevitable depletion of fossil fuels, the evils of money and the viability of other types of nonmoney economies, and the potential danger of excessive faith in technological progress. VERDICT While providing a handy summary of many concepts popular in "alternative economics," this book is not particularly engaging, although the going green/environmental crowd might get behind Greer's arguments.—Steve Wilson, Dayton Metro Lib., OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865716735
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Pages: 263
  • Sales rank: 349,095
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history, an award-winning author and an internationally renowned Peak Oil theorist whose blog, “The Archdruid Report”, has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the future of industrial society. He is a certified Master Conserver, an organic gardener, and has been active in the alternative spirituality movement for more than 25 years.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Guide for the Perplexed 1

1 The Failure of Economics 11

The illusion ofInvincibility 14

The Failure of Markets 19

Harnessing Hippogriffs 23

The Market as Commons 27

Energy's Rules 30

Lies and Statistics 33

Economic Superstitions 39

Undead Money 43

2 The Three Economies 49

The Power of Paradigms 54

Primary and Secondary Goods 59

Exchange Value and Nature's Wealth 62

The Anti-Ecology of Money 68

The Finance Trap 74

Before Money 78

3 The Metaphysics of Money 85

The Metastasis of Money 92

The Flight into Abstraction 98

The Twilight of Money 103

The Money Bubble 105

The End of Investment 109

The Wealth Of Nature

4 The Price of Energy 115

Energy Follows Its Bliss 120

A Crisis of Concentration 127

Barbarism and Good Brandy 131

Working With Diffuse Energy 136

The Economics of Entropy 144

5 The Appropriate Tools 149

The End of the Information Age 155

The Economics of Contraction 160

The Twilight of the Machine 164

Toward Appropriate Technologies 170

Becoming a Third World Country 178

The Twilight of the American Empire 183

Survival Isn't Cost Effective 187

6 The Road Ahead 191

Remembering What Worked 194

Defending the Commons 198

Taxing the Right Things 202

Housebreaking the Corporations 207

A Crisis of Complexity 213

Back to the Future 219

A Future of Victory Gardens 222

After Retirement 229

Afterword: Small Is Beautiful 233

Notes 245

Bibliography 251

Index 257

About the Author 263

Introduction 1

Part 1 Hell on Earth

Chapter 1 The Set Up 5

Chapter 2 The Disclosure 23

Part 2 The Desert of Recovery

Chapter 3 My New Reality 35

Chapter 4 Digging Deeper 45

Chapter 5 Real Life Begins in Tucson 55

Chapter 6 Going Home 67

Chapter 7 Growing Pains 83

Chapter 8 A Spiritual Awakening 95

Chapter 9 Who's Your Gail? 109

Chapter 10 A New Low 121

Part 3 Healing

Chapter 11 Getting Over Myself 141

Chapter 12 Never Say Never 167

Chapter 13 A New Day 195

Chapter 14 Eight Challenges to Consider 211

About the Author 225

ATribute 227

Acknowledgments 231

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Customer Reviews

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