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The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered Paperback – May 31, 2011
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The Wealth of Nature proposes a new model of economics based on the integral value of ecology. Building on the foundations of E.F. Schumacher's revolutionary "economics as if people mattered", this book examines the true cost of confusing money with wealth. By analyzing the mistakes of contemporary economics, it shows how an economy centered on natural capital-the raw materials that support human life-can move our society toward a more productive relationship with the planet that sustains us all.
The Wealth of Nature suggests public policy initiatives and personal choices that can help alleviate the economic impact of peak oil. These strategies must address not only financial concerns, but the issues of resource depletion and pollution as well. Examples include:
- Adjusting tax policy to penalize the use of natural nonrenewable resources over recycled materials
- Placing public welfare above corporate interests
- Empowering individuals, families, and communities by prioritizing local, sustainable solutions
- Building economies at an appropriate scale.
Profoundly insightful and impeccably argued, this book is required reading for anyone interested in the intersection of the environment and the economy as we enter the twilight of the Age of Abundance .
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Greer is not an economist. In fact, though he doesn't talk about it much in this book, in the past he was best known as a writer about druidry. Lately he's mostly shifted from writing about druid subjects to writing about economics. Don't let Greer's lack of economic credentials stop you from reading this book. If you're an economist and don't agree with Greer, at least give him a serious hearing and point out what you think he got wrong.
Greer's main point is that the past three centuries or so of fossil fuel usage have created an economic super-bubble. As fossil fuels become exhausted, this bubble will deflate with a vengeance.
Greer's discussion of productivity is great. Mainstream economists have long assumed that increases in productivity are wonderful for an economy.Read more ›
Energy is identified as the ur-commodity, the enabler of all other goods and services. Hence it has a special status, subject to strict natural limits and useful only when it is sufficiently concentrated for the purposes at hand. Ideally it is either used directly, as in passive solar heating or growing plants, or nature has already concentrated it in a form that easily processed and stored or transported, as in fossil fuels.
Greer rejects as superstitious faith-based economics, the claims of many economists that new forms for energy and technology will surely be found that will equal or surpass fossil fuels in quantity and ease of access and use. Certainly none are even close today, despite a long history of speculative claims.
For Greer industrial civilization itself is the ultimate bubble. The precursors to collapse are already happening, and all signs are consistent with the Limits-to-Growth business-as-usual scenario of severe turmoil and partial collapse in the 2020 to 2030 time frame.
For this world of energy scarcity we'll need an economics that maximizes the ratio of value to energy.Read more ›
Greer builds on his previous peak-oil books (The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age and The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World), adding the economic dimension in its full context as both a contributing cause and a consequence of over-reliance on fossil fuels. But he also explores the difference between money and wealth, the increasing disconnect between money and things of intrinsic value and the political dimension.
Read this book and a lot of things in the news will make sense to you that never did before.
Around then I had stumbled across the concept of peak-petroleum, and closely after that, the author of the blog "The Archdruid Report". My psyche has changed forever, and my suspicion that humanity was spinning its wheels was confirmed.
Well, ever since discovering John Michael Greer, he has undoubtedly become my virtual mentor. Every sentence written by this man fits a grand spiderweb of Sense - nothing contradictory, nothing egotistical, and nothing sponsored - just a calm and collected set of observations that resonate with the natural world as it really is.
Economics, the way we think of it in modern terms, is a difficult concept and doesn't make much sense to the layman. Too much number crunching and logistics - let's leave it to the economists, right? Look, if it's made too complicated for the average person to understand, there's a good chance of some wool being pulled over the eyes.
Greer pulls the wool back and speaks economics in words, not numbers. The book dissolves the intimidation associated with economics as a discipline, revealing it to be not like the hard natural sciences of physics and chemistry, but more like the right-brain social and biological sciences of energy, ecosystems, and biospheres.
The super-high insight:difficulty ratio of this book makes it a must read! Go get it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John Michael Greer is the author of several controversial books on culture and historical trends. In The Wealth of Nature: Economics - as if Survival Mattered (2011), he lays out... Read morePublished 7 months ago by edw prell
One of the best books I have yet to read on the economics and the physics of our energy crisis. Required reading for anyone interested in truly understanding the situation our... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Robert G. Boldt
The main argument of this book hinges on the validity of peak oil. Presumably oil is finite and there will be peak oil, some day. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Short Dog
I’m a student of the Post Carbon, Post Distorted Self and Post 15,000 years of Stable Environment to allow Advanced Societies School of Thought. Read morePublished on July 27, 2014 by Brian B.
I encountered this gem while conducting research on the field of economics concerned with valuations of Nature. Read morePublished on May 5, 2014 by Sofian Khan
There is no shortage of books outlining the path toward the collapse of the world as we know it. All identify contributing factors including resource depletion, pollution,... Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by Joseph Pawlak
Economists are missing the point of what matters to survival. We have a largely corrupt financial system and a way of valuing assets that makes no sense for the real world. Read morePublished on December 27, 2013 by John H. Wall
I wouldn't consider myself in the 'green' crowd, but I do agree with Ben Franklin's quote, "Waste not, want not". Interesting theory and reasonably supported. Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Happy Pappy