ISBN 978-1-846-14448-6. “How Much is Enough? The Love of Money, and the Case for the Good Life” by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky was published by Allen Lane (Penguin Group) in 2012. Robert and Edward are a father & son team; Robert is Professor of Political Economy whilst Edward is a lecturer in Philosophy. This work combines their interests and starts with Robert’s three volume biography of John Maynard Keynes. Their argument follows a torturous alternative path to a conclusion that we can all agree with: the pursuit of money, as an end in itself, is destructive. The Skidelskys propose a more paternalistic (less utilitarian) approach to economic management that helps us all focus on our quality of living. In their words “the good life”.
ISBN 978 1 84694 671 4. “No Local – Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won’t Change the World” by Greg Sharzer as published by Zero Books in 2012. This is a small book by a relatively unknown author. Its cover and title attempts to ape Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” but there is no comparison. At first glance the concept was very attractive to us: a critique of re-localisation. Yes, it is a critique but one by a devout Marxist. As such it is tortuous reading. It is like studying the work of an 18th Century Catholic theologian who argued that Buddhism was the work of the devil because Buddhists didn’t care how many angels could be stood on the head of a pin. The critique only makes sense if you are a Marxist.
ISBN 978-0-521-38673-9. “The Collapse of Complex Societies” by Joseph A. Tainter was published originally by Cambridge University Press in 1988 (this 23rd reprint in 2011). Somehow the publishers have really sold Tainter short by slapping a label on this that reads “New Studies in Archaeology”. The UK cover price is a whopping £33. Compare that to Jared Diamond’s bestseller “Collapse” – a paperback you can pick up from Amazon for less than £8. Regardless of the publisher’s attempt to bury this book it has become a landmark. Twenty-three reprints people! For an expensive book on Archaeology? Why? Well, read it and you will know. This is brilliant.
There is no such thing as an environmentally friendly car and there is no such thing as an “Eco-House”. If you want “ecology” in your house then imagine it alive with flora and fauna. It would not be a comfortable place to live. It would probably be condemned. It may even just fall down. In short – it wouldn’t be our definition of a “home” at all. So, what are we talking about?