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Short Circuit: Practical New Approach to Building More Self-Reliant Communities Paperback – 5 Apr 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books (5 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870098641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870098649
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,029,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Review

" 'Short Circuit' resonates. A vital read for uncertain times.' -- Sara Parkin, Green Party founder and director of Forum for the Future

"A wonderfully irreverent challenge to our obsessions with the market place." -- - Anthony Sampson, author of 'The New Anatomy of Britain'

"Marvellous. Brilliantly written. Challenges the globalisation of the food economy and shows how re-localisation is possible." -- - Prof. Tim Lang

"Short Circuit combines brilliant analysis with straight reporting of the experience of people in areas almost invariably dismissed as 'alternative'. This is a book crammed with stories. There are stories of how people, working within their own communities, have created alternative financial systems, 'parallel financial micro-climates', within which local resources are appropriated, applied and exchanged... It provides a map of reality which is at least as real as the one depicted in the news columns and business pages, but is never acknowledged other than in a tokenistic and condescending way." -- - John Walters, The Irish Times

"Very valuable... the most readable and accurate account of the new money systems I've come across." -- - Michael Linton, developer of Local Exchange Trading Systems LETS

About the Author

Richard Douthwaite is an economist and writer with a special interest in climate and energy issues and in local economic development. His best-known book, The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet explores the effects that the pursuit of growth has had on the environment and society. He is a co-founder of Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, the Dublin-based international network of people who believe that the world's sustainability problems are due to the use of dysfunctional systems and are trying to develop better ones. His current projects include the design and introduction of novel financing arrangements for community energy projects and the management of the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network which explores ways in which land-based greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.

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Format: Paperback
Irish economist Richard Douthwaite has written this excellent book as a handbook for people who wish to start rebuilding their local economies to protect their communities from the risks of being tied into a fragile global economy. The fundamental changes we need to make are to use local resources to meet local needs and reduce our dependence on the world economy for either markets or raw materials.
Following introductory chapters covering these matters, there are activist chapters detailing things that can be done to gain greater self-reliance. These are the establishment of Local Exchange Trading Systems, locally owned financial systems, locally-based energy generating and saving schemes and low-external-input agriculture. Accompanying these tangible changes will be more cooperative commercial attitudes.
Each chapter has case studies that give contact details for those interested in pursuing the ideas in the book. This is an essential book for those who are interested in how one can transform the world by doing small but radical things.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone should read this. Not a lot more I can say. Other than read The Ecology of Money, The Growth Illusion and pretty much everything Feasta (co-founded by Douthwaite) have ever been connected to or published. Richard Douthwaite's work will be of immense use in the coming times.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book thinking that it was the long awaited third episode in the Short Circuit series - so far, we've been confined to experiencing Johnny Five's adventures in only 2 films, and I was desperate to find out what happened next to the newly gold plated civilised war robot.

Well, what a disappointment - Richard Douthwaite should never have been allowed to take on the franchise, as he has a fundamental misunderstanding of what made the series so popular in the first place, with vast passages being beyond incomprehensible to the under-9s - and Johnny Five barely appears at all! There no appearances from the characters played by Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, or Fisher Stevens' rather dodgily portrayed Pakistani character. I think Michael McKean's character appears in the chapter about windfarms, though I may be mistaken as I was also watching Deal or No Deal at the time.

I hold extreme optimism for most forms of entertainment, but I truly think this book is unfilmable - at the very least, it needs extensive rewrites if it is to be an acceptable third entry in the series. What were they thinking?!?

However, I award the book three stars as the segment on Scandinavian communes was informative, and slightly arousing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa2bfa978) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2c29564) out of 5 stars An excellent guide for action toward a crash-proof economy. 5 Oct. 1998
By Richard A Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Irish economist Richard Douthwaite has written this excellent book as a handbook for people who wish to start rebuilding their local economies to protect their communities from the risks of being tied into a fragile global economy. The fundamental changes we need to make are to use local resources to meet local needs and reduce our dependence on the world economy for either markets or raw materials.
Following introductory chapters covering these matters, there are activist chapters detailing things that can be done to gain greater self-reliance. These are the establishment of Local Exchange Trading Systems, locally owned financial systems, locally-based energy generating and saving schemes and low-external-input agriculture. Accompanying these tangible changes will be more cooperative commercial attitudes.
Each chapter has case studies that give contact details for those interested in pursuing the ideas in the book. This is an essential book for those who are interested in how one can transform the world by doing small but radical things.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2c36204) out of 5 stars The Only Sane Future Possible 13 Aug. 2001
By Jeremy Raymondjack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For years, I wound my way through the literature of critique. Any honest assessment of our current situation will result in pessimism and cynicism. To grasp the nature of our environmental, demographic, economic, and ideological trajectories is to look insanity and collapse square in the face. But eventually, one must turn from critique to creation. This is what it means to have a social imagination: the ability to understand the present and envision realistic possibilities for the future. And social imagination is what is almost completely absent from our present situation. Instead, we have ridiculous techno-optimism, reckless free-marketeerism, and jingoistic flag-waving. That is why Richard Douthwaite's book is so impressive. It is an incredible blend of intelligent criticism and embodied social imagination. Unlike so many works on the ills of society, which are usually 95% analysis and 5% half-hearted wishful thinking, "Short Circuit" devotes ample space to solutions that are in place right now. He chronicles the many efforts by regular people to recapture their economies and their resources from sprawling, globalized systems. Read in conjunction with E.F. Schumacher's "Small Is Beautiful" and Michael Shuman's "Going Local," this book is one of the three pillars of contemporary decentralism. Decentralism is the logical end-point for serious thought on the perils of globalization. Buy this book, read it, re-read it, give it away, and then repeat.
HASH(0xa2c300d8) out of 5 stars Economic development for sustainability 11 Feb. 2008
By Rashomoan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though written for an audience in the UK or Britain, the concepts in the book are applicable in any industrialized country. Douthwaite pulls no punches in defining sustainability, basing it in part on his work in The Growth Illusion (1992/99) and the book is fundamentally about short circuiting the global structures and developing a local functional sustainable economy. I particularly enjoyed the rationale for including a local currency. (This despite the fact that the type of local currency chosen for his community eventually suffered the same fate as most LETS systems worldwide, still his reasons for using a local currency are compelling - Google Bernard Lietaer/Gwendolyn Hallsmith Community Currency Guide for a great local currency design workbook)

The concept of conventional economics focusing on the firm vs. the community and family is the primary reason we see so many communities go for trying to lure a major corporate savior (at fantastic expense in foregone tax revenues and numerous social, environmental and economic costs) instead of trying to develop a sustainable standalone economy. Douthwaite states it all so clearly and simply but so many of us are so caught up in the lemming-like race to the bottom that we don't even see what is happening around us.

If you work on economic development in any way this book is a short, simple read with an eye-opening message and will help you understand why following the herd is not working.
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