Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, and a Plan to Stop Them All
Americans have been conditioned to appreciate, cheer, and serve economic growth. Brian Czech argues that, while economic growth was a good thing for much of American history, somewhere along the way it turned bad, depleting resources, polluting the environment, and threatening posterity. Yet growth remains a top priority of the public and polity. In this revolutionary manifesto, Czech knocks economic growth off the pedestal of American ideology. Seeking nothing less than a fundamental change in public opinion, Czech makes a bold plea for castigating society’s biggest spenders and sets the stage for the "steady state revolution."
Czech offers a sophisticated yet accessible critique of the principles of economic growth theory and the fallacious extension of these principles into the "pop economics" of Julian Simon and others. He points with hope to the new discipline of ecological economics, which prescribes the steady state economy as a sustainable alternative to economic growth.
Czech explores the psychological underpinnings of our consumer culture by synthesizing theories of Charles Darwin, Thorstein Veblen, and Abraham Maslow. Speaking to ordinary American citizens, he urges us to recognize conspicuous consumers for who they are—bad citizens who are liquidating our grandkids’ future. Combining insights from economics, psychology, and ecology with a large dose of common sense, Czech drafts a blueprint for a more satisfying and sustainable society. His ideas reach deeply into our everyday lives as he asks us to re-examine our perspectives on everything from our shopping habits to romance.
From his perspective as a wildlife ecologist, Czech draws revealing parallels between the economy of nature and the human economy. His style is lively, easy to read, humorous, and bound to be controversial. Czech will provoke all of us to ask when we will stop the runaway train of economic growth. His book answers the question, "How do we do it?"
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THE RUNAWAY TRAIN
2 What Did Jack Kemp Really Say?
3 What Will They Think of Next and Why?
4 Simon Said
5 Copernicus Are You Out There?
STOPPING THE TRAIN
Precepts and Terminology
7 Relations with the Liquidating Class
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agricultural American amorphic class amount animal argument behavior carrying capacity castigation common sense concept Conservation Biology conspicuous consumption consumers Costanza Daly display Earth ecological economics economic bloating economic growth economy of nature efficiency Ehrlich Endangered Species energy environment example fish folks Georgescu-Roegen global warming grandkids growing growth theory human economy increase investment Jack Kemp Julian Simon labor land less limits to economic liquidating class luxury Malthus million natural capital natural resources neoclassical economics neoclassical economists neoclassical growth nomic nomic growth percent perhaps perpetual personal consumption expenditures perspective petroleum political pollution poor population growth Press production public opinion purchase r-selected revolution in public scientific self-actualization Simon social society statism steady state class steady state economy steady state revolution steady staters substitutability sumption sustainable tion Veblen waste wealth wildlife Worldwatch Institute York