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The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered
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The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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 mat ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by New Society Publishers
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The weakest of Greer's books that I have read, this one seems to me as if its genesis was in an idle reflection or a bon mot around the dinner table (wordplay simultaneously on both Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and Schumacher's "Economics as if People Mattered") and it never really developed into much more than that. Or, more accurately, Greer never put the work in to develop it into much more than that.

There are of course plenty of intriguing insights and perspectives, as I've come to expect
Purnacandra Sivarupa
I had been following John Michael Greer's books on Western practical occultism for about a decade before I ever became familiar with his writings on peak oil and practical ecology. I first encountered the shallower end of his thinking on these matters by way of his book Atlantis: Ancient Legacy, Hidden Prophecy, a book which clearly sought to use a sensationalistic topic to bring up some rather serious ideas to a popular audience. I don't know how well the book sold, but I hope that it opened so ...more
Thom Foolery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2011 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Best book of the decade, as far as I can tell, because it is both well-written and covers such important topics. Filled with timely, original and brilliant explanations, this book addresses what's going to happen in the near future, and why, as well as a bit of what one can do about it. I hope it's rapidly translated into many languages.

In particular, this book explains well the discernment of wealth into primary, secondary and tertiary realms. The primary wealth is that which has been so taken
Drawing inspiration from E.F. Schumacher, John Michael Greer (one of the least hysterical, most clearly reasoned and historically grounded thinkers around) takes a look at the failure of our current economic system to recognize that value and viability are ultimately determined by ecology. He argues that our complex, globalized civilization is complements of our historically anomalous (and now ending) access to concentrated energy sources driven by an interest-based money system, producing a soc ...more
JMG applies an ecologist's eye to the topic of economics. I just opened my copy and looked for some highlighted passages. Here are a couple of examples of what I found valuable in the book:

From pg 47:

"Local, resilient, sustainable and cheap: these need to be our keywords for technological innovation just now. There are plenty of technological solutions that answer to that description, but again, our superstistions stand in the way."

Later, at the bottom of that page and the top of the next, he de
J.E.R. Prince
Setting out to re-visit the important work of the seminal economics book "Small is Beautiful", "The Wealth of Nature" provides a new and important voice re-contextualising the discussion about economy and value.

Greer brings his precise and controlled concentration to the basic elements of our economy that so often get overlooked that it is easy to forget they still exist and indeed are, in every sense, fundamental. This is, of course, to re-define the true Primary economy; the basis for all oth
Turned out to be a pretty extreme environmentalist point of view. The world will be drastically different in the future without liquid fossil fuels.

Another book that points out some of the problems of assuming continued growth is the answer to our problems. Some other measure needed in the long term. The global eonomy cannot just keep growing forever.

Advocate of peak oil theory.
Jul 18, 2011 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Greer's third book in a series dealing with the coming post-peak-oil age tackles the subject of economics. It is a clear explanation of how the "science" of economics operates from some very flawed assumptions. Perhaps the biggest flaw is refusing to take into account the workings of the natural world and the limits which these place on our economic life.

The huge expansion of economic activity in the past 300 years or so is the product of our easy access to abundant energy. But we are now enter
Readers of Greer's blog be warned, a lot of this book is recycled from the ADR. Not that there's anything wrong with that, since the blog is where he develops his books and gives most of them away for free. However, I felt like I only got maybe 40% new material, and it wasn't as coherent or compelling as I had hoped. Ecotechnic Future and Green Wizardry are much stronger, more focused works in my opinion.

All that being said, if you're new to JMG, this might be a good starting point, and you'll
I give this 4 stars for the central ideas, but 3 for writing. Though at times a bit inflammatory with over simplistic examples, the basic point it is a good one that more people ought to be paying attention to. Greer believes that the last 300 years of the industrial age have more or less been an anomally. Fossil fuels are a fantastic energy source, but they are in fact limited and we've been burning them way too quickly. The age of fossil fuels is going to end and we will have to go back to les ...more
Patrick Andersen
Distilled from many of his blog posts in 2009-2010, Mr. Greer outlines the fundamental problem with how standard economics deals with energy depletion (among other things) and ways to do things differently that could provide an easier pathway to a future with limited access to fossil fuels.
George Haun
Not nearly as well structured or argued as The Long Descent. Also, the message starts to get redundant. Having said that, Greer reliably produces brilliant insights that make the read rewarding. The high point for me was "The Metaphysics of Money". Enjoy!
Excellent in parts that deal with the changes that are needed to transition us to a more sustainable way of living. But, like most peak oil experts, he overstates the peak oil case and over-dramatises the issues that will come from oil shortages.
Bald assertions, logical fallacies, false claims, and circular arguments lead this book nowhere. Which is too bad, because a more rational approach to an age of energy restraints might have produced some sensible policy proposals.
February Four
Sep 17, 2011 February Four added it
Shelves: on-hold
Had to return the book to the library before I could get around to finishing it. I'll be getting it again, because I didn't have a chance to get far enough in the book to decide either way.
Drawing heavily on E.F. Schumacher, Greer offers a provocative look at a downsized, sustainable economy of the future and the appropriate technology that it will require.
Joshua Mccroskey
This has made me reassess my understanding of economics.
James Harken
Really like this author & his blog.
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Measuring Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Economies 1 1 Dec 20, 2011 10:00AM  
  • The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
  • Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
  • The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment
  • Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
  • Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources
  • For the Common Good: Redirecting the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future.
  • The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone
  • The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World
  • The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience
  • Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation
  • America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
  • A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil
  • Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth
  • The God Species
  • Home Economics
  • The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living
  • What We Leave Behind
  • The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future
John Michael Greer is an author of over thirty books and the blogger behind The Archdruid Report. He also serves as Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. His work addresses a range of subjects, including peak oil and the future of industrial society. He lives in Cumberland, Maryland with his wife.
More about John Michael Greer...
Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World The New Encyclopedia of the Occult Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings

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