Less Is More

How Degrowth Will Save the World

320 pages

English language

Published Jan. 18, 2021 by Penguin Random House.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

The world has finally awoken to the reality of climate breakdown and ecological collapse. Now we must face up to its primary cause: capitalism. Our economic system is based on perpetual expansion, which is devastating the living world. There is only one solution that will lead to meaningful and immediate change: degrowth.

If we want to have a shot at surviving the Anthropocene, we need to restore the balance. We need to change how we see the world and our place within it, shifting from a philosophy of domination and extraction to one that’s rooted in reciprocity with our planet’s ecology. We need to evolve beyond the dusty dogmas of capitalism to a new system that’s fit for the twenty-first century.

But what about jobs? What about health? What about progress? This book tackles these questions and offers an inspiring vision for what a post-capitalist economy could look like. An …

2 editions

reviewed Less Is More by Jason Hickel

Stick to Your Thesis

3 stars

This book, ostensibly, argues that capital's endless pursuit of growth will only end in ecological catastrophe and that only by rejecting perpetual growth, and by extension capital, can we live truly fulfilling lives. I have no problem with this, and actually support this thesis. The problem arises when the author attempts to try his hand at history and bourgeois philosophy. As I've said previously, he attributes outright malevolence to actions that could easily be explained by trying to do well within imperialist/colonialist systems. Furthermore, it's painfully clear that the author has only read the wikipedia articles on the philosophies he critiques. This is doubly unfortunate because I actually agree with his conclusions regarding bourgeois philosophy and how it has historically been used. The analysis is just not up to snuff unfortunately. With a little more time and effort, this could have been great. As it is, it's just okay.

Might even be six stars

5 stars

Really readable introduction to degrowth. Covers the current state of climate change (which is, inevitably, pretty grim, but nowhere near Wallace-Wells), mentions the Anthropocene but then makes it clear that the term is misleading as it suggests we're all equally to blame. This segues into a history of capitalism through enclosure and colonialism which I found much more understandable than my previous attempts to read up on this. There's so much great stuff in here -- not necessarily new, but just well written -- about artificial scarcity and the growth imperative and the failings of GDP and so on. Also a nice discussion of ontology and the shift from animism to dualism, and how that makes exploiting the natural world seem, well, natural. The chapter on technology includes a disquieting explanation of BECCS and how that's the basis for so many mitigation plans, and also covers the problems of just …

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