The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

John Michael Greer

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0865716730

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Wealth of Nature proposes a new model of economics based on the integral value of ecology. Building on the foundations of E. F. Schumacher's revolutionary "economics as if people mattered," this book examines the true cost of confusing money with wealth. By analyzing the mistakes of contemporary economics, it shows how an economy centered on natural capital—the raw materials that support human life—can move our society toward a more productive relationship with the planet that sustains us all.

The Wealth of Nature suggests public policy initiatives and personal choices that can help alleviate the economic impact of Peak Oil. These strategies must address not only financial concerns, but the issues of resource depletion and pollution as well. Examples include:

  • Adjusting tax policy to penalize the use of natural nonrenewable resources over recycled materials
  • Placing public welfare above corporate interests
  • Empowering individuals, families, and communities by prioritizing local, sustainable solutions
  • Building economies at an appropriate scale

Profoundly insightful and impeccably argued, this book is required reading for anyone interested in the intersection of the environment and the economy as we enter the twilight of the Age of Abundance.

John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history, an award-winning author, and an internationally renowned peak oil theorist whose blog The Archdruid Report has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the future of industrial society.



















exist. Strictly speaking, they are as mythical as hippogriffs. It occurs to me that some of my readers may not be as familiar with hippogriffs as they ought to be. For those who lack so basic an element of their education, a hippogriff is the offspring of a –gryphon and a mare; it has the head, body, hind legs and tail of a horse, and the forelimbs and wings of a giant eagle. Hippogriffs are said to be the strongest and swiftest of all flying creatures, which is why Astolpho rode one to the

tarpaper shack on a dollar a day for a week or two. The problem we face now is that the arrangements evolved over the last century or so only address the relationship between the secondary and tertiary economies. The primary economy of Nature, the base of the entire structure, is ignored by most contemporary economists, and has essentially no place in the economic policy of today’s industrial nations. The assumption hardwired into nearly all modern thought is that the economic contributions of

attention to the rocks. When you ask them about the rocks, they deny that any such thing exists in that part of the ocean, and insist that what you’ve seen is an optical illusion common in those latitudes. One of the crew members takes you into the chart room and shows you a chart with the ship’s progress marked on it. Sure enough, there are no rocks anywhere near the ship’s course, but as you glance over the chart you realize that there are no rocks marked anywhere else, either, nor any reefs,

energy scarcity, just as it did in earlier eras of economic contraction and social decline. Unlike other technologies, human labor is fueled by food, which is a form of solar energy. Our agricultural system produces food using fossil fuels, but this is a habit of an age of abundant energy; field labor by human beings with simple tools, paid at close to Third World wages, already plays a crucial role in the production of many crops in the US, and this will only increase as wages drop and fuel

slowly declining ever since.7 The resulting mismatch between theory and practice can approach the surreal. Consider the estimates of future petroleum production circulated by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a branch of the US government. Those estimates have consistently predicted that petroleum production would go up indefinitely. The logic behind these predictions, stated in so many words in EIA publications, is the assumption that as demand for petroleum goes up, supply will

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