ARK II by Dennis & Paul Ehrlich Pirages
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ARK II

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is an extremely significant tract. It spins out zero-growth remedies for the crises in world economy and ecology. Inflation, shortages, and industrial unemployment are inevitable, say the authors. Who will preside over the new depression? An economic planning board composed of enlightened fellows like Pirages and Ehrlich. Not that they aspire to unbridled power -- what they identify as the capitalist oligarchy must remain, but with greater education and stiffer inheritance taxes. Why should the population put up with these rulers and their austerity programs? Well, it would be ""too costly"" to invest in the new power sources which the authors admit would launch fuel, food and resource expansion. Instead, a new ""social technology"" to ""dampen rising expectations"" will reconcile you to court new jobs in a ""cottage industry"" or to the ""leisure"" of underemployment. The authors' tone is that of William Douglas-Barbara Ward liberalism -- share with the starving Third World and the un-affluent majority of Americans. Pirages and Ehrlich see that ""a fixed (or even shrinking) pie"" will produce ""escalating nastiness and competition."" Thus the need to rid the population of ""materialism"" and political attachment to the ""pluralist system based on self-interest."" But last time around, who was it that most successfully impelled citizens to ""curb individual appetites"" and turn toward ""the lost tribalism of preindustrial society""? The reader is left to remedy the authors' amnesia, and there will be many readers.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1974
Publisher: Viking