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Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources Paperback – 7 Jan 2013

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It's time for a new kind of economy We're overusing the earth's finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. In "Enough Is Enough," Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill lay out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth--an economy where the goal is not more but enough. They explore specific strategies to conserve natural resources, stabilize population, reduce inequality, fix the financial system, create jobs, and more--all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, "Enough Is Enough" is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all.

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Enough Market Failure. Time to find a new way. 14 Jan. 2013
By S. Waters - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book about changing our economic mindsets. It asks the question, "When is enough actually enough?" It asserts that "enough is enough" (think of your mother saying these words with her finger pointing at you). It demonstrates that "more than enough is too much." The book is worth it's price alone for several of the quotes that are cited -- not to mention the on-point comics. One quote in the book that grabbed me is from the conservative economic scholar, Milton Friedman. He said, "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable." What I really appreciate about Enough is Enough is that the authors are addressing a real problem that isn't going to go away by denying that there is a problem and we will need all the alternatives available to address our future way of life.

As a professional economist I teach and consult on the power of markets. Markets are powerful and have produced tremendous growth. But we know that there are settings in which markets will not produce an efficient outcome - these settings are referred to as market failures. Pollution is a classic example of market failure. If left to itself, the market will produce too much pollution relative to the benefits of production. One solution of such a market failure is a clear definition of property rights. Many of the problems addressed within Enough is Enough are market failures - in other words, a faith in the market system isn't going to fix it - and the property rights are difficult to address because they cross international borders. We have to have another way of addressing the market failures and the authors here have helped us start the conversation.

Enough is Enough couldn't have come out at a better time. As a nation we are thinking hard about limits to debt. It would help to recognize that limits to debt imply limits to growth. Limits to growth imply the need for a different economic mindset. Interestingly, it is a mindset that may actually improve the quality of our lives (see Chapter 9 - I quite like the quote by Robert F. Kennedy at the beginning of Chapter 9).

Here is my breakout of Enough is Enough:
Chapters 1-2 There is a problem.
Chapters 2-4 The data shows that there is a problem.
Chapters 5-11 We can do something about the problem.
Chapters 12-15 Like all truly successful solutions, it begins with me

I'm pretty sure you won't like all the ideas in this book, but this is a great start. If you don't like one of the authors' solutions, propose a better one. Let's start the conversation.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Important Milestone, Two Gaps 4 Feb. 2013
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was educated in the Limits to Growth period--back in the day of telephone couplers--and have also been an ardent follower of Herman Daly's pioneering work in ecological economics as well as complementary work spanning the last several decades, notably by Paul Hawkins among others.

On the one hand this book is very important and not to be ignored, not least because the foreword is written by Herman Daly and there are pages of glowing endorsement from serious people. The book is superbly organized and below I do my summary, as much for my own future recall as for others. First however, two gaps:

01 This book shares one troubling assumption with Limits to Growth -- they thought they could micro-manage from the top down and that governments would be the principal actors. The Club of Rome, in choosing to support the Meadows and Randers, explicitly rejected the more affordable and implementable alternative that focused on educating the public with respect to true costs and creating a culture of bottom up conservation instead of a bureaucracy of top-down regulation.

02 The book is perfection incarnate with respect to being the best summary I have seen yet of what are we doing now and what should we be doing, but it skips over the hard part: how to we establish a universal appreciation for whole systems thinking, respect for feedback loops, and acute public awareness of the true cost of every product, service, and behavior? The concept of a steady-state economy is a useful one, but only if one appreciates, as Charles Perrow is at pains to document, that we are our own worst enemies, creating catastrophe at every turn, because we know not what we do or what is done in our name, and allow the hoarding of profit and the externalization of costs to future generations.

Implicit in both of the above, and explicitly not addressed in the book, is the reality that all organizations -- be they government or private sector and including non-profit -- are corrupt to the bone. Their leaders are focused on what benefits the leaders, not the ctizens, tax-payers, stake-holders, etcetera. I certainly agree with Lawrence Lessig that "the" fatal threat to humanity is CORRUPTION, and I have set for myself the task of further PUBLIC INTELLIGENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

I particularly reject the carbon tax, mercury and sulfer are much more dangerous, and the last thing we need is another derivatives scheme. Please note that my praise for the book is denoted by the five star ranking and my strong recommendation that it be bought, read, and shared. By virtue of my need to also focus on what is not in the book, my critical comments may seem inconsistent with the grade but they are not -- they augment this excellent work rather than diminish it.
Now to the details.

High-level objectives:

+ New measures and meanings of progress
+ Limits on material and energy consumption, waste production, plus conservation of natural lands
+ A staple population and labor force
+ A more efficient capital stock
+ More durable, repairable products
+ Better pricing including a carbon tax [NO -- just make TRUE COST pricing available at point of sale]
+ Shorter work week and more leisure time
+ Reduced inequality
+ Fewer status goods
+ More informative and less deceptive advertising [NO -- END all advertising]
+ Better screening of technology [NO -- UNLEASH all technologies now locked up for the wrong reasons]
+ More local and less global trade of goods and services [YES -- resilience at the local level]
+ Education for life, not just for work [YES, free for life as well]

The authors then go on to discuss eleven things we have too much of, and how to reduce them:

01 Throughput [use only what will renew, create no waste that will not recycle]
02 People [educate the women, make population limitation a national cultural priority]
03 Inequality [set maximum pay differentials, employee owned companies]
04 Debt [end national debt, local currencies, restructure financial institutions]
05 Miscalculation [Human Well-Being as Measure]
06 Unemployment [Full employment policies]
07 Business as Usual [Limit size of corporations]
08 Materialism [Eliminate planned obsolescence, culture of humanity instead of things]
09 Silence [Strengthen academic multi-disciplinary steady-state voice]
10 Unilateralism [Stop being the bully -- multinational consensus]
11 Waiting [sustainable scale, fair distribution, efficient allocation, high quality of life]

There are many excellent notes but no bibliography, and the index is a bit light.

The authors take a stab at a "whole system" conclusion, with the following each discussed in a paragraph:

01 Consumption
02 Population
03 Families
04 Community
05 Business
06 Cities
07 Agriculture
08 Nature
09 Energy
10 Money

This is where I identify a third gap in the book. The concept of "free energy" is not in this book, and it should be. Apart from exposing and eradicating corruption in all its forms -- in the USA it is corruption, nothing more, that causes the US Government to borrow one trillion dollars a year and waste 50% of three trillion dollars a year each year -- we should be doing a global Manhattan Project to create free energy, which in turn creates unlimited clean water. Throw in national call centers, an Autonomous Internet with Freedom Towers everywhere and free cell phones for life for the five billion poor, and you create a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all.

Below are ten books that complement this one.

High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility--Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
The Lessons of History

Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, and a Plan to Stop them All
Valuing the Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics

The Future of Life
Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond

Blessed Unrest
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)

Governments have failed and are not the answer. There are eight "tribes" of knowledge: academic, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit. We are at the very beginning of an era of hybrid governance that must be enabled by open-source decision-support. That is the center of gravity for creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all, and that is not something the ecological economists have grasped just yet.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent reading about economics & sustainability 20 Dec. 2012
By Cali - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book is accessible, entertaining, full of good references and material to move forward on the idea of a steady state economy, it has knowledge about initiatives in economics that are hardly known out of certain circles, it has a positive and hopeful message about how we can move away from our current pernicious economic model.
It is a good read for someone with absolute no knowledge about economics and interest in sustainability but also for people specialized or even acquainted in the field of environmental economics.
Sustainability has to be inbuilt in our economic knowledge if we want our future generations to survive and this book has hints of how to move on that direction.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If enough of us read Enough Is Enough, we may have a lever long enough... 26 Dec. 2012
By Gerry Todd - Published on
Format: Paperback
The cartoons alone (by Polyp) are worth the price of this remarkable book - which in its mere 206 pages provides possibly the best and most relevant big picture understanding of the economy anywhere. That's a lot of punch for such a short book, but Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill accomplish this by being simultaneously smart economists AND smart communicators. Although the topic is daunting - ultimately: the trajectory of civilization; and our opportunity to act NOW to create the best future possible for those we love - Enough Is Enough is both easy enough to read AND smart enough to challenge the assumptions, thinking, and actions of ANY economist.

Several features are responsible for this rare confluence - easy enough AND smart enough - and they warrant calling out: each chapter (1) is headed by a laser-sharp, on-topic cartoon; (2) is explicitly titled in a logical, step-by-step progression; (3) begins with a short but poignant quote by a notable person; and additionally, the book (4) uses plenty of everyday anecdotes and analogies that contribute immeasurably to its accessibility and clarity; (5) has collected some of the most telling graphs of our times; and (6) represents, as the authors acknowledge, the collected wisdom of lots and lots of the greatest thinkers in this field; and (7) the authors really want us to understand this complex, multi-disciplinary subject, and that meant they were willing to work really hard so we wouldn't have to.

As we read the book, I suspect they want us to save our energy for the next phase, the action phase. Fair enough! It's our turn to read Enough Is Enough; to encourage our family, friends, colleagues, and policy makers to, also; and to take the wisdom of Enough Is Enough out into the world to create the best future we can.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Expression of slow growth political philosophy 20 July 2013
By Gderf - Published on
Format: Paperback
Get used to a steady state no growth economy. Change the paradigm from more to enough with good life for everyone. We are overdoing the emphasis on consuming. [This was accurate as Galbraith's theme in 1958.]

The world economy has grown too large. As individuals we overemphasize the value of ownership. We have seen the end of growth. EROEI energy return on investment is declining.
increasing GDP does not increase happiness. How much is enough? Examples assume 2% growth, overlooking that that's now optimistic. D&O want to optimize, not maximize, productivity. [Since about 1965 the US has been obliged to live with very minimal productivity gains.]

There's description of system throughput with consuming and emitting 50X what is sustainable. We need to limit throughput with some form of rationing. There's impact of population with a simplistic formula, I=PAT showing a pretense of sociology as science.

The D&O formula for improvement consists of more equitable distribution of wealth, comprehensive monitoring system [meaning government regulation], incremental approach [the book is anything but] and improved cooperation [wishful thinking].

D&O say that we have enough debt in spite of recommended expansive policy. They claim it's a myth that money is wealth. [The substitutions here are not convincing.]

Enough miscalculation:
D&O want to substitute nebulous happiness measures of GPI and HPI for GDP. There are serious attempts to replace GDP but this is not it. [See Rawls and Pareto.] Progress flows from health, beauty, marriage and the intelligence of public debate. [Nice sentiments but difficult to reconcile with economic calculation.]

Enough unemployment:
We have to care about our work and distinguish shortage of employment versus shortage of productivity. They advocates work time reduction and a guaranteed jobs policy. [That's what the Soviet Union was good at.]

Enough business as usual involving environmental damage. D&O want to curtail corporate power.

Enough materialism:
Veblen invented the term "conspicuous consumption ' in the late nineteenth century. [It was true enough in the 1950s. It's been outdated for decades.]

Enough silence:
Stop cheer leading growth and consumerism and start cheer leading for D&O central planning
It's actually been going on for decades. [ Isn't that what the 'Occupy Wall Steet' and 'Arab Spring' movements are all about?]

Enough unilateralism:
The US emits 18% of greenhouse gases. There's no basis given but D&O want to reduce US consumption saying that it comes at the expense of the rest of the world. [They don't say how the world economy will be sustained if the US slows demand by consumption. Far from being unilateral the rest of the world is encouraging and applauding US consumerism.]

Enough waiting:
After an alarmist build up D&O invoke urgency in the need for an economic blueprint.
They want sustainable scale, fair distribution and efficient allocation involving fixing markets where broken [good luck with Dodd-Frank] to result in a high quality of life for everyone.

More pillars involve replacing the culture of consumerism with sustainable low growth
stimulation of political debate towards a steady state alternative and a change of national goals of growth with Internet cooperation. It all sounds good, but it's been government policy for about 60 years. The only growth now is from federal stimulation programs. We would be in a deflationary economy without it. The book never explains how to pay for it's programs with HPI rather than GDP growth. It's mostly a reiteration of failed central planning redistribution programs.
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