Sunday, 18 March 2012

Book Review: "The Great Disruption" by Paul Gilding

Fascinating. I've always been a bit of an anti-consumerism nutter, so this book tickles more than just my fancy. Both B and I tend to buy only what we need and often resort to 2nd hand. We tend to hang on to things long after their end of life and when we do finish with things we don't tend to throw them away, but pass them on to a good home wherever possible or pull them apart for parts. In fact I'd venture to say that the only consumerism we, or should I say I, engage in is the creation of a large Nerf gun arsenal.

Anyway, enough of us. So. Here's this guy who has a long pedigree of environmental activism and was the head of Greenpeace for many years saying this:

"It's over. There's no point in campaigning to save the environment. It's too late. Now it's time to brace for impact. The maths are clear: we can't grow the economy any more, so we need a different approach."

Well argued, snappy and amazingly upbeat, he articulates how humanity can survive the coming economic crisis and emerge into a bright steady state economy where peoples needs are met and are, more importantly, happy.

The book is peppered with amazing quotes, fantastic economic opportunities and details about companies that are using Schumachers approaches right now and making serious profits sustainably. And, most importantly, he clearly articulates how "steady-state" in no way implies "stagnant."

Sounds insane yes? I've often been described as a pessimist, but I prefer the term "An optimist with experience." And as such, I think his suggestions, actions and his hope are what is needed.

I have always been shocked at the state of the conspicuous consumption culture, the vain belief that growing the economy infinitely was viable and that we could always trade our way out of any difficulty. To me, these ways of thinking are out dated and just plain wrong. It seems to me to be sheer madness to think that with Earths finite set of resources the billions of poor people could ever reach a western level of wealth. So it is refreshing to see a well argued, statistically backed and experience led book can show a way through the coming economic problems.

So. Go buy a copy.

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