Less Is More (2021, Penguin Random House) 5 stars

The world has finally awoken to the reality of climate breakdown and ecological collapse. Now …

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 greening growth by, say, extracting huge amounts of lithium for all the batteries we'd need.

The book turns much more positive/hopeful towards the end, as it points out how little value growth, past a certain point, provides for well-being. Really, it all becomes a matter of distribution and public services at that point, and that's what's missing under neoliberalism.

It's perhaps indicative of my experience of reading this book that I borrowed the ebook from the library and then realised that I'd highlighted about half the text! That might just be a failing in my highlighting technique, but I prefer to think that it's because I kept reading paragraphs and thinking "yes! that's it!".

Anyway, highly, highly recommended.