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Energy and Equity (Ideas in Progress) Paperback – July 1, 2000
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About the Author
Ivan Illich is the author of Celebration of Awareness, Tools for Conviviality, The Right to Useful Unemployment, Energy and Equity, Limits to Medicine, Shadow Work, Gender, H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness, ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind, Disabling Professions, Deschooling Society and In the Mirror of the Past: Lectures and Addresses 1978-1990.
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Like much of Illich's writing, Energy and Equity is startlingly radical, so much so that it can be difficult to absorb.
The book's central theme is that the real "energy crisis" consists of having too much, not too little, energy. He claims that both the United States and Mexico are "blinded to the fact that the threat of social breakdown is due neither to a shortage of fuel, nor to the wasteful, polluting and irrational use of available wattage, but to the attempt of industries to gorge society with energy quanta that inevitably degrade, deprive and frustrate most people."
The voluntary simplicity movement represents a similar point of view, but the stark intellectual language employed by Illich fills a different role--one of intense mental aggression. In that way, his writing is refreshing, and may please the reader who likes to be challenged.
I would recommend to sociologyst, law makers and everyone to get more concious living
If you use a bicycle as a form of transport, you need to read this book. If you work in mass transport and have an eye to energy depletion and its implications for global equity, you need to read this book. If you are concerned about global warming and want to shape a profoundly more equitable future, you have no option but to read this book. I say these things because Illich has a profound sense of the roots of inequality and how unequal access to energy cements the divide between those with and those without.
I think Illich's real gift is in his ability to see and describe the mechanisms which intrench inequity in our social structures. As such his insights are very helpful if you are looking to rewrite the stories which define our culture.
The stark reality is that in the time since this book was published the population of the planet has gone from about 4 billion to over 7 billion. Illich's messages are needed now like they have never been in the past. This book will change the way you look at energy. This book will change the way that you look at yourself and your role in intrenching inequity.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, and I thank my friend Lynn Sloman for suggesting this book to me.
[if you like this book, look at Lynn's Car Sick: Solutions for Our Car-addicted Culture as it puts Illich's understandings into a modern context and offers real solutions for today]