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Growth Fetish Paperback – Jul 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741140781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741140781
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,100,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Right on target and badly needed. (Noam Chomsky)

This is a hugely stimulating and thoughtful contribution to the increasingly important debate about economic growth. Clive Hamilton strips bare the intellectual inadequacies of the so-called 'Third Way', and focuses on the one question politicians are too afraid to answer: if people aren't getting any happier as they go on getting richer, why do we continue to trash the planet and turn people into consumptive zombies in pursuit of economic growth? There is a conspiracy of silence about all this which simply has to be broken. (Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the British government's Sustainable Development Commission)

Where Hamilton takes the argument forward is with his view that the overwhelming majority of people in the rich countries have passed the point where additional material wealth gives them any benefit at all. .... His book, Growth Fetish, takes this to its logical conclusion, arguing that advanced economies, obsessed with increasing gross domestic product, should chill out. .... We'll carry on consuming -- however miserable it makes us. (David Smith, Sunday Times)

Anyone tired of current cant about growth and resistant to the blandishments of consumerism will welcome this radical analysis of conventional economics. Paradigm shift is usually painful, but this one is a positive pleasure. (Sir Crispin Tickell, Chancellor of the University of Kent at Canterbury)

This is a powerful statement about the failure of the rat-race society and the need for a new philosophy of sociable living. (Professor Richard Layard, London School of Economics)

The most lucid, penetrating, comprehensive and clearly articulated analysis of our present human predicament and of the pathologies that underlie it that I've seen so far. (John Bunzl, author of The Simultaneous Policy)

Breaks new ground by asking us to think what a post-growth, environmentally stable society might actually be like. ... Clearly, stylishly written. Its language and argument are accessible. (Hugh Stretton, author of Economics: An Introduction) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Clive Hamilton is Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Australia's foremost public-interest think tank. He has held visiting academic positions at the ANU, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and the University of Cambridge. Described in the press as Australia's most influential economist on the left and Australia’s leading environmental economist, he is the author of six books and his views feature regularly in major news outlets. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Ulyatt on 26 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
Although a book by an Australian economist may appear, at first, a somewhat dull prospect, Clive Hamilton's book is enthralling and inspiring from the word go.
Starting from the point that the aim of all governments of both left and right is that of economic growth, he argues that, despite steady economic growth, in the West over a number of years, we are none the happier for it. He argues that we should fight back against our consumerist tendencies, noting that many marketing campaigns are created even before the product exists and the product is then created to sell a lifestyle rather than producing something of benefit to anyone except those who profit financially from it. In order to take part in this frenzy of consumerism, we inevitably spend more of our time working longer and harder, leaving little free time to actually enjoy our lives and relationships with others around us. He notes that, after the 9/11 attacks, George W Bush urged the US public not to give in to terrorism by 'going out and shopping'! He argues that much of the crime and violence in society is due to our obsession for consumption noting that our current lifestyle is destroying the very planet we live on. He notes that if the rest of the world were to consume at the same rate as the USA, we would need 10 planet Earths to provide sufficient resources.
This book truly inspired me to re-assess my own lifestyle and has changed my life without a doubt. As Clive Hamilton argues, this is one revolution we can all take part in without the use of violence, simply by shopping and consuming less, whilst actually getting more from our lives.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By @iGlinavos VINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a suprising and excellent book. It provides a clever, thorough and enjoyable critique of globalization and the world we live in. Our world is one created by neoliberal fantasies which renders us helpless and unhappy. Basic reading for all critics of modern capitalism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Growth Fetish 9 Nov. 2003
By Graham Douglas - Published on
Format: Paperback
Trained in economics and politics, Dr Clive Hamilton is Executive Director of The Australia Institute, an independent Australian public interest think tank. For the first time his book clearly analyses the current world-wide fetish for mistakenly equating economic growth with improvement in wellbeing and outlines his illuminating view of the "post-growth society". For instance, he states:- "The transition to a post-growth society will be just as far-reaching as the transition from feudalism to industrial capitalism or from industrial capitalism to consumer capitalism. It will fundamentally transform power relationships, social institutions, our relationships with others, our ethical rules, our attitudes to the natural environment and, ultimately, our consciousness."
This book demonstrates integrative thinking of a high order and is a welcome change from the plethora of writing that is full of critical thinking about world affairs but does little to suggest a way forward for the growing number of people who feel there is more to life than increased consumption.
I believe it is a "must read" for thinkers in all fields everywhere.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Must read - must act 18 Nov. 2003
By Tony A - Published on
Format: Paperback
Extraordinarily insightful - significant and urgent. As a 'civilised' society we must dampen the motivation of self interest and greed at the expense of all else (relationships, environment and happiness). This book describes in detail the roots of our unhappiness 'the prisoners of plenty' and seeks to describe a way forward. It will capture your imagination and stir you to reassess your definition of success.
Easily the most signifcant book I have read and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Enjoy and hopefully our 'advanced' human race can evolve to a society that promotes and supports the full realisation of human potential for all.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A gem of a book 19 Aug. 2007
By Lee Sun Ju - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you are wondering where infinite GDP growth is taking us then you should read this book.

If you are wondering what infinite consumption is doing to us as a race then you should read this book.

If you are wondering why the choice has gone out of politics as every party tries to seize the middle ground then you should read this book.

If you are wondering why GDP seems to grow but your life doesn't get better then you should read this book.

If you've ever wondered why we need thousands of hair care products which differ only in how they are marketed, you should read this book.

Basically, you should read this book. Someone ran off with my copy, but I'll buy another. It really is that good. You'll find yourself picking it up again and again, and like Shakespeare you'll take something different away from it every time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A NEW LIFE 25 April 2009
By Merrill E. Cassell - Published on
Format: Paperback
Clive Hamilton in Growth Fetish is fermenting a philosophy of a new life. The model of democratic capitalism focusing on economic growth has created a society that thrives on gaining an identity from what they purchase, big house, fancy car, etc, rather than from what they produce. The Third Way advocated looks at the failure of the capitalist market model and is suggestive of what goods and services are more public provision. It is good reading for society to look at what has gone wrong with the fetish mentality based solely on "money" and identity derived from "possessions", perhaps the base of the greed mentality. Reading this book will also make people more environmentally friendly. Once you start reading the book, you can't put it down, it takes hold of you.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Against globalization and the fetish of economic growth 30 Dec. 2006
By Andres C. Salama - Published on
Format: Paperback
A book against globalization, but not a run of the mill one. Hamilton deftly connects the counterculture of the 60s and the 70s with the resurgent capitalism of today. He says (and I'm quoting from the spanish translation): "The counterculture was never a rebellion against capitalism, but against social conservatism, which impeded the advance of capitalism". I don't share all his views and proposals, but he is an intelligent person that realizes how the exarcerbated individualism brought forward by the counterculture paved the way for the arrival of today's turbocapitalism. Hamilton correctly sees the problem of the west today as not one of poverty but one of abundance, which has left the place spiritually void. One think I would have like to have Hamilton discuss is how his proposal for zero economic growth would affect the third world, whose livelihood depends in many cases on commodities sold to the west.
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