Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance

Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance

by Laurence B. Siegel
Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance

Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance

by Laurence B. Siegel


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How the world has become much better and why optimism is abundantly justified

Why do so many people fear the future? Is their concern justified, or can we look forward to greater wealth and continued improvement in the way we live?

Our world seems to be experiencing stagnant economic growth, climatic deterioration, dwindling natural resources, and an unsustainable level of population growth. The world is doomed, they argue, and there are just too many problems to overcome. But is this really the case? In Fewer, Richer, Greener, author Laurence B. Siegel reveals that the world has improved—and will continue to improve—in almost every dimension imaginable.

This practical yet lighthearted book makes a convincing case for having gratitude for today’s world and optimism about the bountiful world of tomorrow. Life has actually improved tremendously. We live in the safest, most prosperous time in all human history. Whatever the metric—food, health, longevity, education, conflict—it is demonstrably true that right now is the best time to be alive. The recent, dramatic slowing in global population growth continues to spread prosperity from the developed to the developing world. Technology is helping billions of people rise above levels of mere subsistence. This technology of prosperity is cumulative and rapidly improving: we use it to solve problems in ways that would have be unimaginable only a few decades ago. An optimistic antidote for pessimism and fear, this book:

  • Helps to restore and reinforce our faith in the future
  • Documents and explains how global changes impact our present and influence our future
  • Discusses the costs and unforeseen consequences of some of the changes occurring in the modern world
  • Offers engaging narrative, accurate data and research, and an in-depth look at the best books on the topic by leading thinkers
  • Traces the history of economic progress and explores its consequences for human life around the world

Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance is a must-read for anyone who wishes to regain hope for the present and wants to build a better future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119526896
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 12/05/2019
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LAURENCE B. SIEGEL is the Gary P. Brinson Director of Research at the CFA Institute Research Foundation and a writer, speaker, and consultant specializing in economics and investment management. Siegel is the author of more than 200 articles on investing and related topics. He has won many writing awards including the Graham and Dodd Award, Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award, and the EDHEC/Robeco Award.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Part I The Great Betterment

1 Right Here, Right Now 3

Part II Fewer

2 The Population Explosion, Malthus, and the Ghost of Christmas Present 19

3 The Demographic Transition: Running Out of and Into People 31

4 Having Fewer Children: “People Respond to Incentives” 43

5 Age Before Beauty: Life in an Aging Society 59

Part III Richer

6 Before the Great Enrichment: The Year 1 to 1750 79

7 The Great Enrichment: 1750 to Today 89

8 Food 101

9 Health and Longevity 121

10 Energy: A BTU is a Unit of Work You Don’t Have to Do 135

11 Cities 155

12 Education: The Third Democratization 171

13 Conflict, Safety, and Freedom 191

14 The Alleviation of Poverty 217

Part IV Explorations

15 Robots Don’t Work for Free: A Meditation on Technology and Jobs 245

16 The Mismeasurement of Growth: Why You Aren’t Driving a Model T 269

17 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: Deirdre McCloskey, Capitalism, and Christian Ethics 285

18 Simon and Ehrlich: Cornucopianism versus the Limits to Growth 299

19 Obstacles 305

20 “He Shall Laugh”: Why Weren’t Our Ancestors Miserable All the Time? 319

Part V Greener

21 Prologue: Why Poor is Brown and Rich is Green 331

22 A Skeptical Environmentalist: The Greening World of Bjørn Lomborg 339

23 Dematerialization: Where Did My Record Collection Go? 355

24 “We are as Gods”: The Fertile Mind of Stewart Brand 369

25 Ecomodernism: A Way Forward 379

Afterword 403

Reader’s Guide: Annotated Suggestions for Further Learning 407

References 415

Index 439

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