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.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)