- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Colorado; New edition (July 31, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870819089
- ISBN-13: 978-0870819087
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,761,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies New Edition
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Top customer reviews
For anyone who resonates with systems-thinking and realizes that our various human-contrived systems are topping out, this book is a must read for its penetrating, multilayer, calorie-based interpretation of human activities on planet Earth.
Most authors would have taken twice the number of pages. Thankfully, the Odums present their thinking in a concentrated form. Still, the book is not short. So be prepared to spend some time with it. And sometimes concentrated text, if not crafted to perfection, is even more difficult than discursive text.
This has greatly deepened and clarified my understanding of ecology, economics, energy, permaculture, and public policy-making.
The Odums discussion of money in our culture is similar to mine in that they see it essentially as an accounting tool for MEASURING and ALLOCATING the use of energy. I see it also as a way of ALLOCATING/REGULATING who gets how much of the collective product/output/pie.
To make it easier on my eyes, I wish they had labeled their concept of embedded energy as 'embergy' instead of 'emergy.'
Given what this book reveals to me about the workings of nature and humans, I predict that smart money will soon be getting out of Dodge and heading for a remote mountain ecostery, or for one of the less populated Hawaiian Islands.
Of course if you want to calculate some quantities and do some modeling by yourself, you will need to go into the other more technical books on the subject and/or also to go in some of the web sites dedicated to emergy analysis and modeling.
In "The Prosperous Way Down" H.T. Odum does not give us feel-good babble.
Instead, he delivers to us a coherent and timely way to do the hard work of knowing how our world works, the changes that are already upon us, and some of the things we may do to increase our opportunity for security and satisfaction in a world that may be very different from what we know today.
There is a lot of contention about Odum and his eMergy methodology. This is to be expected. Odum brings things together, where others are content to be expert with parts.
The bottom line is that with the intellectual tools Odum lets us discover, we can learn to manage far more complexity than any would normally think possible. He lets us first recognize the problems we have with the signals our society sends out through economic and other circumstances of social behavior. And then the tools he provides let us clean up those signals, so we may make better use of the energy and other resources, the environment, and all the benefits (and problems) inherent in our diverse cultures.
The difficulty in all this is indicated by the fact that there is no Nobel prize for looking at the whole of our world. Those fabulous awards go to those who are very good at knowing parts, with very little idea of how the parts come together.
Instead, there is the very quiet Crafoord Prize for those who try to let us know more about the systems of our world--which of course H.T. Odum and his brother Eugene won back in the early 1980s.