"Because you can't hug a tree if you can't find one."

11/19/2007

Deep Economy

In Deep Economy, Bill McKibben writes that throughout most of human history, More and Better went together. More food was better, more tools were better, more security was better. While this is still true in much of the developing world, More is no longer better in the overdeveloped world. Here, beyond a certain point, more is not making us any happier; it is leading to greater inequality; and finally, the planet can't absorb the pollution or provide the resources needed for more economic growth. The current economic system is one in which giant corporations produce vast amounts of stuff (bland vegetables, sweatshop clothing, polluting vehicles and poisoned toys) in factories and fields all over the world. Our main role is to consume what they sell, without any input into what they manufacture or how these things are designed or produced. McKibben argues that if we develop our local economies, communities can come up with ways to provide for themselves using local resources wisely and tailoring their output to meet local needs. We could harness local creativity that is otherwise stifled, and stop exploiting resources in the developing world. McKibben shares examples from around the world of communities that have developed (or preserved) ways to produce what they need. Along the way they are enriched as people work together, becoming true neighbors rather than fellow shoppers at the strip mall. Becauseit turns out that community is something we really do need, but we can't buy it from a multi-national corporation.

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