Capitalism grew out of feudalism and mercantilism, and it has served us well. By harnessing the engine of greed to our development we brought much innovation and growth which improved the lives of most. But infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet, and this book better than all others makes this point. Growth has brought with it two major problems, economic inequality and environmental destruction. And those problems have achieved crisis proportions.
However, when you have experienced 300 years of continual economic growth and never known anything else, growth takes on the strength of addiction. It becomes difficult to even see the problem, to admit that there is a problem, and that it is serious. Our politicians do not see it because they keep calling for more growth to get us out of this recession. We owe Richard Heinberg a huge debt of gratitude for documenting conclusively the end of growth, and for defending an unwelcome position in the face of a multitude of growth advocates. He is to be commended.
America After Capitalism picks up the story where The End of Growth leaves off. It offers us the solution to our problem of growth. Just like capitalism grew out of feudalism and mercantilism, the new is growing out of the old today -- A Green Democratic Capitalism. America After Capitalism points out that millions of Americans are associated with 14,500 cooperatives. Many more with credit unions, land trusts, and other collective enterprises. The book argues that there is a slow shift from the engine of greed to the engine of sharing, sharing not only with one another but with the planet.
Like Silent Spring those two books are a wake up call for our time. They look at the future and they do not see obstacles so much as they see opportunity. They see a greener more equal future. They are books our youth and their parents need to read and then start to build that future.