ISBN 978-0-141-04571-9. “Whoops – Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay” by John Lanchester was published by Penguin Books in 2010 (this paperback edition has new material - the original was published in 2010 by Allen Lane). You can almost fall in love with this book from its great subtitle. However when you read it you will note a strong resemblance to “How Markets Fail – The Logic of Economic Calamities” by John Cassidy (2009 Penguin ISBN 978-0-141-03651-9) which we reviewed on Oct 16th 2012. Whereas Cassidy provides a long history of the origins of modern neo-liberal economics; Lanchester chooses to cut straight to how the crash happened and who was to blame. Beyond that, he asks the questions we should all be asking: when is enough, enough?
ISBN 9780091900113. “Affluenza – How to be Successful & Stay Sane” by Oliver James was published by Random House in 2007. Previously James was known for his book “Britain on the Couch” but it is THIS Bestseller for which he is best known now. Almost everybody knows about this book, almost everybody thinks they know what this book is about, but at well over 500 pages how many have actually read it? You MIGHT think it is about how monetary wealth has an adverse effect on your well-being. Yes, it is about that.. But it is also about so, so, so much more. This ain’t no pop-psychology peddling a set of simple problems & easy answers. It isn’t so much “affluence” that’s the problem, it is “Americanisation”. Ouch…
“Growthbusters – Hooked on Growth” is a 90 minute documentary film made in 2011 with the help on non-profit organisation Citizen-Powered Media. It is certainly very citizen-powered being largely produced, written and directed by campaigner Dave Gardner. He also appears in most of the film and narrates it. It is largely his story. He is quite a find: media-friendly and passionate about his subject. The movie’s strength is in its strong central narrative and use of humour. It is highly watchable, playful, fun and not at all grim. If it has one weakness it is its pre-occupation with busting growth without delivering a strong enough message about what will replace growth.
ISBN 978 1 905570 33 1. “The End of Growth – Adapting to Our New Economic Reality” was written by Richard Heinberg and published by Clairview Books in 2011. This is a “living book” and updates can be found at www.endofgrowth.com (although this just takes you to http://richardheinberg.com/!). For your money you get 322 pages including Acknowledgements, an Introduction of ten parts followed by 7 chapters broken down into 48 topic-based sections, Notes and Index. The inside cover bristles with “advance praise” (how does that work?) from the likes of Herman E Daly, Lester Brown, Bill McKibben, Caroline Lucas and James Gustav Speth. This is Heinberg’s sixth major outing in print. His seminal work “The Party’s Over” has been a springboard for countless thousands of people who previously didn’t comprehend what Peak OIl meant for them. Continue reading