A few months ago, I signed up to review Supply Shock by Brian Czech in return for a free PDF of the book to read. A good deal for a book I was interested to read anyway! It had been a while since I had first encountered the idea of a Steady State Economy, and I wanted to learn more about it.
Executive summary: This book is a great introduction to the idea of a steady state economy, including its history and its implications. I found it very informative and very readable, and I definitely recommend it.
Why I think this book is important: In the last years I have had a growing worry that the solutions most often offered for big environmental problems (recycle, use cloth shopping bags, install energy efficient lightbulbs ...) are not enough, and possibly even a distraction from the difficult, big changes that are really needed (this Guardian article describes my worry in more detail). After reading this book, I am convinced that our society's current emphasis on economic growth is incompatible with environmental protection and maximizing human well-being, and that one of the difficult, big changes that we need to fight for is to change our economic goals.
Also good: One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the historical background it offers about how views on economic growth have changed through time. If we are to change the economic thinking and goals of our societies, I think we need to understand the forces that have gotten us to where we are. We must understand the reasons that drive people to want economic growth before we can start to convince them that a steady state economy would be better, and the summary in Supply Shock and the literature it cites are a great place to start.
Next post (hopefully soon): some top quotes from Supply Shock and a few ideas from it to chew on.