Simon Fowler's Reviews > The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living

The Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra
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's review
Apr 21, 2008

liked it

Fascinating and informative review of the 'basics' of biological life in the first half, but I was unconvinced by the logical progression from that to social application. There are too many aspects of the 'living systems' he goes into such great detail about that he then fails to apply. Biological life seems to serve more as an analogy than a directly applicable model for organizing social/economic life.

His approach becomes less believable as a science as his ideology becomes more obvious. His totally negative characterization of globalization isn't justified. It's not just about the free flow of finance and information, it's about the free flow of goods and services. And it's not just about environmental destruction and social deprivation, it's also about increased life expectancy and health for billions lifted out of poverty since the age of industrialization. See Hans Rosling's presenation at TED here. Capra also idealizes natural living systems, ignoring the extinction of species over time, the 'slash and burn' tactics of locusts, and the general 'red in tooth and claw' ways of nature.

That said, industrial devastation of the environment is a fact in many places, so is the unrelenting depletion of natural global resources, so he's right to call attention to them and to propose solutions. I wish the whole book was on the alternatives and solutions. The examples of almost waste-free industrial networks are extremely fascinating and challenging. As are the various proposals for emission-free (except water) vehicles. The application of non-linear dynamics to organizations is also a fascinating area of discussion I'd like to hear more on.


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