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The Constant Economy: How to Build a Stable Society [Hardcover]

Zac Goldsmith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2009
The earth's resources are finite, climate change threatens to dramatically transform how and where we live, and the global economic system is in disarray. One way or another we have to change. In this brilliant and timely book Zac Goldsmith argues here for the creation of what he calls 'a constant economy'. Since the industrial revolution, our economies have grown at the expense of the natural world. We can deny the need for change, in which case we will be at the mercy of events and the adjustments will be harsh. Or, as this book shows, there is an alternative. A 'constant economy' is one in which resources are valued not wasted, where food is grown sustainably and goods are built to last. It is a system whose energy security is based on the use of renewable sources, and communities are valued as a country's strongest hedge against social, economic and environmental instability. The constant economy operates at the human scale, and above all it recognizes nature's limits. Zac Goldsmith's landmark book will explain and inspire. He shows that almost everything that needs be done to support the environment is already being done somewhere in the world. And where companies, communities and even governments have blazed a trail, they have not only done the right thing, their customers - and their voters - have rewarded them for doing the right thing. Solutions exist, they work, and they are laid out in this ground-breaking book.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848870671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848870673
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Zac Goldsmith is Editor of the Ecologist. In 2003, he received the Beacon Prize for Philanthropy, and in 2004 he received Mikhail Gorbachev's Global Green Award for 'International Environmental Leadership'. He is the prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond for the Conservative Party. Zac Goldsmith is 33 and is married with three children.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Zac Goldsmith's "The Constant Economy" is definitely worth the read for those interested in realistic solutions to some of the most harrowing issues of our time, as well as for readers who would simply like to know a little more about them. Apart from the propositions it makes, the book's value is in the simplicity and coherency which the author is able to present various problems that are usually portrayed in a very complex and technical manner - these range from the transport system in the UK to the world's fisheries. Each chapter represents one of these questions and offers examples of solutions that have already been appropriated by countries or communities elsewhere. Subsequently the points raised in each chapter are neatly summarized at the end with a section titled, "Voter Demand Box". Although the title of the book may seem rather tedious for some, it is an easy and highly recommended read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, original and highly-relevant 30 Aug 2009
A ground-breaking book with inspired vision. In a bold move Goldsmith calls the country to action with a series of straightforward steps to guide us towards a cleaner, healthier and ultimately more prosperous economy.

The introduction outlines the case for change; uncertain times require certain leadership and, given the state of our economy as well as the pressing priority of the environment, Goldsmith's message is clear - marry the market with the environment.

The rest of the book then explores tangible solutions towards achieving this objective, many of which already exist in other areas of the world. Addressing different areas of governance, these solutions are laid out in a series of ten chapters: how society is measured, the role democracy plays in empowering its people, adopting a more precautionary approach towards chemicals and new technologies, the need to confront food quality and scarcity, saving marine life, re-addressing energy use, bettering transportation systems, building with a long-term vision, achieving the status of being zero waste economy and finally, in chapter ten, the role that we, as individuals which constitute the British people, must assume in the name of our future.

I found this to be an excellent book. Throwing down the gauntlet, "The Constant Economy" is an essential read. Original, thought-provoking and undoubtedly relevant, this is exactly the kind of solution-based thinking that needs to be making its way into the current political arena.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the book he could have written. 31 Aug 2009
I was disappointed by this book, for which I had high hopes. From the former editor of The Ecologist I expected more radical and innovative solutions to the pressing problems of food security, climate change and pollution. Instead there are a number of tweaks to the tax system to reward good business practice and penalise bad, and keen advocacy of recylcing, but in this throw-away Primark first world it smacks of too little, too late. I think it will take more to prise people out of their four-by-fours and Posh & Becks aspirations than few 'walkable' cornershops in the middle of housing estates.

In the books favour, he does champion vigilence regarding GMOs and Nanotechnology, and cautions against building on areas prone to flooding. He also laments as a wasted opportunity the poor quality of food given to people who have no choice, i.e., prisoners, the hospitalised and schoolchildren.

Of course, as a prospective Tory parliamentary candidate his voice must by stymied by the need to conform to the Conservative Party's post-recession business-as-usual economic plans, but the simplistic style and unwillingness to do more than skate over issues becomes frustrating and insulting. This is gentle green policy for people who worry about the environment a bit, but don't want to make any personal sacrifices. And Zac Goldsmith could have made a real contribution.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight 19 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Highlights the problems that the UK face and shows how these problems could be addressed. The benchmarks set by other countries show that solutions can be found but only if the people lobby governments and organisations to make changes. It should be noted that the book is a few years old and the information may not be timely
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