Deep Economy

Reply Thu 4 Jun, 2009 09:15 pm
Deep Economy
The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

by: Bill McKibben
ISBN: 0-8050-8722-2

Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (2007)


Deep Economy makes the compelling case for moving beyond "growth" as the paramount economic ideal and pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. McKibben argues that our purchases need not be at odds with the things we truly value, and the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture of our own


  • Very accessible look into some complex ideas in environmental ethics
  • While the warnings in the book are there, the book remains both provocative and hopeful


  • Almost too accessible, thus, it is not as deep of a book that many with a knowledge of environmental ethics would be seeking


  • Excellent arguments for localizing economies to improve productivity and investment in communities

  • Very good arguments for the problems associated with classical economics


"But, as readers of fairy tales know, magic can run out. Three fundamental challenges to the fixation on growth have emerged. One is political: growth, at least as we now create it, is producing more inequality that prosperity, more insecurity than progress. This is both the most common and least fundamental objection to our present economy, and I will spend relatively little time on it. By contrast, the second argument draws on physics and chemistry as much as on economics; it is the basic objection that we do not have the energy needed to keep the magic going, and can we deal with the pollution it creates? The third argument is both less obvious and even more basic: growth is no longer making us happy." (11)

"Perhaps the very act of acquiring so much stuff has turned us ever more into individuals and ever less into members of a community, isolating us in a way that runs contrary to our most basic instincts." (37)

"But there is a more hopeful version of the future: a shift to economies that are more local in scale. Local economies would demand fewer resources and cause less ecological disruption; they would be better able to weather coming shocks, they would allow us to find a better balance between the individual and the community, and hence find extra satisfaction." (105)

"Perhaps it's the current scheme, with its requirement of endless growth in a finite world, that seems utopian and far-fetched." (164)

"A large part of the problem, of course, is that growth is producing wild inequalities around the developing world. Nations don't get richer; people in the do, and often not very many of them." (195)

My Rating(1-10): 8.5 - I found this book to be excellently researched, and very well written while avoiding all the technical jargon that could cause the laymen to not understand the message. I found the book an excellent read even though I have studied environmental ethics for many years, and none of the topics discussed are new to my studies. This book serves as an excellent thought provoking manifesto on how and why economies need to shift from global to local conceptions and implementations.
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