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Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development Paperback – August 14, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0807047095 ISBN-10: 0807047090

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807047090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807047095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Daly is turning economics inside out by putting the earth and its diminishing natural resources at the center of the field . . . a kind of reverse Copernican revolution in economics. --Utne Reader

"Considered by most to be the dean of ecological economics, Herman E. Daly elegantly topples many shibboleths in Beyond Growth. Daly challenges the conventional notion that growth is always good, and he bucks environmentalist orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on 'sustainable development' is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless." --Mother Jones

"In Beyond Growth, . . . [Daly] derides the concept of 'sustainable growth' as an oxymoron. . . . Calling Mr. Daly 'an unsung hero,' Robert Goodland, the World Bank's top environmental adviser, says, 'He has been a voice crying in the wilderness.'" --G. Pascal Zachary, The Wall Street Journal

"A new book by that most far-seeing and heretical of economists, Herman Daly. For 25 years now, Daly has been thinking through a new economics that accounts for the wealth of nature, the value of community and the necessity for morality." --Donella H. Meadows, Los Angeles Times

"For clarity of vision and ecological wisdom Herman Daly has no peer among contemporary economists. . . . Beyond Growth is essential reading." --David W. Orr, Oberlin College

"There is no more basic ethical question than the one Herman Daly is asking." --Hal Kahn, The San Jose Mercury News

"Daly's critiques of economic orthodoxy . . . deliver a powerful and much-needed jolt to conventional thinking." --Karen Pennar, Business Week

About the Author

Named one of a hundred "visionaries who could change your life" by the Utne Reader, Herman Daly is the recipient of many awards, including a Grawemeyer Award, the Heineken Prize for environmental science, and the "Alternative Nobel Prize," the Right Livelihood Award. He is professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs, and coauthor with John Cobb, Jr., of For the Common Good.

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Customer Reviews

Probably one of the most important books I've ever read.
C. Bordman
One of his major themes is that being truly concerned about the environment and the future of humanity requires reverence for the Earth as God's creation.
Paula L. Craig
Herman Daly has been warning his readers of the dangers of unrestrained growth longer than some of them have been alive!
Kenneth F Meyercord

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth F Meyercord on January 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Herman Daly has been warning his readers of the dangers of unrestrained growth longer than some of them have been alive! He is a tireless, thoughtful, and informed proponent of sustainable economic policy who has enjoyed more success than most growth heretics, as attested by his six years at the World Bank. But, like other heretics - whether of growth or of other dogmas - his teachings are largely ignored or ridiculed by the pharisees of proper thought. No doubt his professional status has been diminished by the stand he has taken. Felicitously, we don't burn heretics at the stake these days for undermining archaic beliefs purblindly held or the anti-growth movement might have its first martyr.
In "Beyond Growth" Daly puts forth his beliefs in a concise and readable way. I found the first few chapters a bit heavy on economic theory and terminology (Daly is after all an economist first and foremost), but once that necessary underpinning has been laid Daly goes on to discuss growth-related topics (population, international trade, ethics) in terms more familiar to the layman, expressed in a thought-provoking and even moving way. Daly not only knows, he cares. The final chapter of the book, in which he attempts to meld the concept of stewardship common to most religions with principles of sustainable development, suggests Daly's concern for growth-addicted humanity springs from a religious upbringing. If he has forsaken some of the dogmatic teachings of his youth, he has retained the kernel of the faith, a devotion to Truth and the well-being of his fellow man, to which he adheres as firmly as did his Renaissance predecessor in heresy. Such adhesion brought Bruno martyrdom at the stake; for Daly it is more likley to bring ultimate recognition as one of the most forward-thinking intellectuals of his time.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Will Miner on July 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Daly, more than any other economist or writer on sustainability, makes clear the fallacies of traditional free-market thinking. The book illustrates very clearly why economic growth cannot be sustainable in a finite world. (Although he doesnt use the metaphor -- I'll borrow it from Edward Abbey -- the same logic explains why "sustainable" cell growth in humans is called "cancer.") Daly argues that traditional economic theory is mainly useful in only one of the three core areas of economy (the optimal price and allocation of scarce resources) and does not address in any meaningful way two other issues -- the distribution of resources and determining the overall scale of the economy that can be sustained within the biosphere. Particularly interesting is the essay on economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, which describes all of the tenets of traditional economic theory that become untenable merely when one accepts the fact that the second law of thermodynamics (the law on increasing entropy) must apply to an economy just as it applies to the biological and physical world.
What makes Daly effective as a writer is the calm humility of his intellect. Economics has practically become a religion in our society (witness the dogmatic reviews of political/economic books on this site). However, unlike other economists, who get shrill and polemical when their dogma is challenged, Daly is willing to consider possible holes in his arguments, opponents' counterarguments, and unknowns. Of course, he shreds most counterarguments in his calm, polite way, but after reading other economists the openness is refreshing.
My one complaint is the disjointed nature of the book. Although certain themes run throughout each of the seven sections, some of the pieces were originally written as separate essays, and it shows. However, given the clarity of the writing (even on very technical subjects such as Soddy's views on the nature of money) that is ultimately forgivable.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By C. Bordman on October 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I can't say enough about how moved I was by this book. Having worked in a corporate setting for a number of years, I have wondered how growth can always be the goal of business and how the world can keep expanding and still accommodate everyone's needs. Herman Daly breaks down the problems with economic growth and how fraudulent it is for measuring economic health. Daly advocates sustainable development from a number of economic and social angles. His explanations become abstract at times, but he effectively challenges established economic thinking and offers alternatives.

Without recognition of physical ecological parameters, economic growth as we know it, including GNP, does not measure economic reality. The concept met with opposition from economists at the World Bank where Mr. Daly once worked (as of the mid-1990s when this book was written). The book starts with a passionate rebuttal to the World Bank and their "preanalytic vision" that the economy operates separately from the environment. In the remainder of the book his frustration is aimed more broadly at neoclassical western economists for ignoring the environment and the laws of thermodynamics. A great example is not accounting for environmental costs during the "throughput" process where products go from raw material to final waste.

I learned how important size or "scale" of macroeconomics is, but not accounted for even though it is surpassing the "carrying capacity" of our planet. Daly refutes modern developments such as an "information economy," to replace depleted resources.
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