18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
How Much is Enough, 28 Dec 2012
I was quite enjoying this book and trying to take an interest in its erratic progress until Chapter 5; 'Limits to growth:Natural or moral?' This raised major doubts about the relative importance they give to the texts they refer to and also the depth to which they have read them. For example, after doggedly struggling through their seemingly endless surmise about Faust and an obscure 1928 paper by Keynes, I find this pivotal chapter dismissing in two sentences the multi-million selling and hugely relevant 'Limits to Growth' published in 1972, describing its 'prophecies' as having turned out to be 'unduly alarmist'. That book was forecasting the state of the world in 2100 and its predictions are still alarmingly on track, so how on earth can they dismiss it so prematurely? On oil reserves they complacently cite 'the opening up of new fields in Alaska and Mexico'. Those oil fields were actually discovered years ago and the authors seem disturbingly unaware of the fact that already in 2012 they have dramatically declined to 20% of their peak output. World oil production has been on a plateau for 5 years despite record prices, yet there is no mention at all of 'peak oil' and the many expert petroleum geologists who have written on this critical issue. On the vital topic of climate change they have referred to such famously biased science-denying hacks as Lomborg and Lawson rather than any one of hundreds of professional climatologists who have written extensively on this grave threat to humanity's future. Unbelievably, writing in 2012 they don't even mention the massive demands being placed on the planet by the unprecedented acceleration in demand for all its resources and the resulting global pollution caused by the hyper-development taking place in China, India, Brazil and the rest. I had imagined that this book would have been a useful addition to the critical debate about how much individual human consumption a finite earth can bear. Instead it is whimsical, poorly-focussed, ill-informed, badly-researched and years out of date.