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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

 

Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz & Dan O'Neill - Book review


Enough Is Enough

Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources


By: Rob Dietz, Dan O'Neill

Published: January 7, 2013
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 160994805X
ISBN-13: 978-1609948054
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers







"The evidence shows that the pursuit of a bigger economy is undermining the life-support systems of the planet and failing to make us better off - a grave situation to be sure. But what makes the situation even more serious is the lack of a viable response", write editor of the Daly News and the former executive director of CASSE (Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy), Rob Dietz; and lecturer in ecological economics at the University of Leeds and the chief economist for CASSE, Dan O'Neill, in their revolutionary and thought provoking book Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources.

The authors describe the challenges of how the current ideas and techniques for running the economy are causing long term damage to the environment, the economy, and to society itself, and offer the alternative they call a prosperous and stable steady-state economy.


Rob Dietz (photo left) and Dan O'Neill recognize that there is something very wrong with economies around the world. The authors cite severe economic inequality between countries and within countries, dangers from global climate change, unsustainable national debt levels, and dead zones within the world's oceans as some of the critical challenges facing the world. The authors present evidence that these challenges are only the symptoms of what they pinpoint as the fundamental cause of the problems.

For the authors, the pursuit of never ending economic growth is the principle cause of the social, economic, and environmental issues. In place of the current constant growth economic paradigm, the authors offer another path where the goal changes from more to one of enough.



Dan O'Neill (photo left) and Rob Dietz understand that it will be a challenge to transform people's thoughts and vision from one of getting more to an idea of having enough. The authors share compelling evidence that the goal of never ending growth, in the form of more, is both unsustainable for the environment and a failed plan for the economy.

The authors apply the economic ideas of Herman Daly, who advocated a steady-state economy, where an equitable and sustainable approach replaced the continual growth model that is based on short term profits.

The authors share their vision of a steady-state economy, with a sustainable and equitable future, that incorporates the following principles:

* Widespread recognition that our planet is finite
* Practical policies for achieving a steady-state economy
* The will to act and make the necessary changes

For me, the power of the book is how Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill combine an effective analysis of the current challenges facing society, the environment, and the economy if the current never ending growth model is continued, with the alternative approach of a sustainable, environmentally conscious steady-state economic model. The authors demonstrate that the current economic paradigm will fail to achieve the desired growth, and only contribute to even more economic, societal, and environmental problems in the longer term.

The authors provide evidence that steady-state model, where the goal of more is replaced by the goal of enough, provides a better economy, greater levels of equality, and a healthier environment. To support their concepts, the book includes numerous charts and graphs that show how the overwhelming challenges can be solved for the benefit of everyone on the planet. Instead of simply presenting an economic program alone, the authors also share a series of steps for individuals and governments to take to make the steady-state economy vision a reality.

I highly recommend the visionary and provocative book Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill, to economists, business leaders, government policy makers at all levels, academics, environmentalists, sociologists, and anyone interested in the future of national and global economies, the environment, and society. This book will challenge your current ideas on the economy and sustainability, and you may not agree with the authors, but the book is worth reading for anyone who is seeking solutions to the most crucial problems of today and tomorrow.

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