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A radical, ecologically minded proposal to meet the future challenges of an increasingly productive but still unsustainable economy.

Debate about the global economy tends to splinter into those who champion growth and those who advocate environmental sustainability. However, debut author Bentz argues that continued prosperity and technological innovation are compatible with diminished consumption. The chief problem, as the author articulates it, is that an economic paradigm premised upon perennial overconsumption eventually leads to the depletion of resources, pollution, an uneven distribution of wealth, and even unemployment as increased productivity and automation eliminate jobs. The solution is a form of resource rationing—a globally imposed lower growth rate that takes into account the current high-production capacity, relatively high overall employment, and a system that assigns value to both capital accumulation and resource scarcity. The book comprises four parts: overconsumption, unemployment, distribution, and external costs. Our economy both produces and consumes too much and is less efficient and robust when assessed from the perspective of a proper metric (Bentz furnishes a notable critique of GDP as a barometer). Unemployment can be addressed by replacing a capitalcentric economy with one that focuses on labor; one of the best and most original contributions of the book is the discussion of dual time-based currencies that allow for a more efficient delivery of work for basic goods. Also, a fairer distribution of goods directed by the government needn’t be inefficient: “We can conclude that although a centrally planned economy is not a good idea, the universal distribution of a few essential commodities such as food, shelter, and healthcare can make an otherwise free market economy much more efficient.” Bentz’s solutions are aggressively reformist but also offered in a spirit of conciliation; he argues that the goal is not to eliminate capitalism but to chasten its worst excesses. The writing is mercifully lucid considering the technical subject matter, though the running reliance upon Hamlet’s famous Act III monologue—Bentz keeps reformulating the speech to illustrate his principal points—is unhelpful and contrived. Overall, though, the book is a rarity: a legitimately fresh but also politically moderate position that reorients the very terms of the conversation. An original take on the economics of resource conservation. 

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-8095-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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