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The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality Paperback – August 9, 2011
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Why have mainstream economists ignored environmental limits for so long? If Heinberg is right, they will have much explaining to do." -- LESTER BROWN, Founder Earth Policy Institute --Lester Brown - Earth Policy Institute
Heinberg shows how peak oil, peak water, peak food, etc. lead not only to the end of growth, but to the beginning of a new era of progress without growth. --Herman E. Daly, Professor Emeritus, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
By the time you finish this, you will have 2 conclusions: This is the end of economic growth and it is our problem, not our childrens'. It's time to get ready. This book is the place to start. --Paul Gilding - Former head of Greenpeace International
Richard has rung the bell on the limits to growth. Our shift from quantity of consumption to quality of life is the great challenge of our generation. Frightening...but ultimately freeing. --John Fullerton - President and Founder, Capital Institute
Nobody should be elected to federal office who has not read Richard Heinberg's The End of Growth. - William Catton, author of Overshoot.
From the Back Cover
As energy and food prices escalate and debt levels explode, paths that formerly led to economic prosperty now lead to disaster. This book proposes a startling diagnosis: the global economy has reached a fundamental turning point--the end of growth. The Great Recession will not end in "recovery." Still, we can thrive in coming years if we abandon the futile pursuit of growth in consumption and aim instead for improvements in quality of life.
Richard Heinberg's latest landmark work goes to the heart of the ongoing financial crisis, examining why it occurred, and what we must do to avert the worst potential outcomes. Written in an engaging style, it shows why growth can't continue in the face of resource depletion, environmental devastation, and mountains of debt.
The End of Growth re-evaluates cherished economic theories and describes what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth's budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than pursuing the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.
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If things you hear create a sense of dissonance for you--like seeing a dead in the water economy and a president and congress who keep telling you how things are getting better. Or watching people you know go through bankruptcy while bankers get record bonuses. Or simply that empty feeling you get when you hear politicians and businessmen alike talk about getting America "back to where we were" and you think, "Really?", then this book is for you.
Heinberg painstakingly lays out the case for "the end of growth". He acknowledges the policy errors that compounded it but simply points out that we are past the point of peak oil, peak minerals and our environment is maxed out. We have to live with a reality based construct of what we have.
Now having read the book you are forever struck by the fundamental error in thinking exhibited by virtually all of the policy creating world (with some exceptions). This book deepened my despair at America's failure of leadership at the recent Environmental conference in Durban.
But Heinberg makes an argument for the fact that a less-consumption oriented culture can still be a very happy, more locally based culture.
Not unimportantly the book fundamentally helps you see where you want to go next in your own life. It helps you plan for your real future (though I have no desire to paint it as a handbook for the future) in a reality based way.
Paradigm shifting is not an entirely comfortable process. It was uncomfortable to read this book though I was already familiar with some but not all of the main ideas. But it is well worth reading.
In other works, things aren't going to go back to the way they were - low unemployment, growing economic activilty and rampant fossil fuel consumption will end. The book is based on the findings in another of another book, Limits to Growth, publishd 40 + years ago that talks about how we are abusing the resources we have, overpopulating the planet and destroying our way odf life if we don't change.
This book should be added to every high school and college library as compulsory reading. In addition, politicians should read it before entering into any debate about growth.