Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, and a Plan to Stop Them All

Brian Czech, Author University of California Press $40 (210p) ISBN 978-0-520-22508-4
Economic growth is as American as apple pie and as popular as pizza. It has also, according to conservation biologist Czech, reached its limits and had led to ""economic bloat,"" doing irreversible harm to the environment and literally destroying the future for the next generations. The main culprits here are mainstream, ""neoclassical"" economists (and also the political and economic elite supporting them) who through arcane theorization insist there are no limits to growth. Czech does a marvelous job of skewering the assumptions behind this notion and of introducing and synthesizing the perspectives of the opposing field, ""environmental economics,"" which offers in the place of unbridled growth a ""steady state"" economy of low production and consumption and stable population. Moving through sometimes difficult ideas like ""substitutability,"" ""trophic levels"" and ""carrying capacity,"" Czech is always clear but never condescending, serious but not without humor. Agree with him or not, he is eminently clear. Yet it all falls apart when he discusses what might be done. Given the severity of the ecological crisis Czech finds us in, his recommendation that public opinion should shame conspicuous consumers among the rich into changing their ways is both vague and tepid. Missing are analyses of public policy options and considerations of political strategies that are as focused and nuanced as his critiques. Too bad, for when he's on his game--in the first part of the book--he's as good at popularizing economics as Carl Sagan was science. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 210 pages - 978-0-520-22514-5
Open Ebook - 220 pages - 978-0-520-92560-1
Open Ebook - 220 pages - 978-1-283-27701-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.