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Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution
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Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Politicians, economists, and Wall Street would have us believe that limitless economic expansion is the Holy Grail, and that there is no conflict between growing the economy and protecting the environment. Supply Shock debunks these widely accepted myths and demonstrates that we are in fact navigating the end of the era of economic growth, and that the only sustainable alt ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by New Society Publishers (first published 2013)
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Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
It should probably be made clear ahead of time that I support steady-state economics, and am generally anti-growth and anti-big business. Despite my support for the cause promoted by Czech and others like Herman Daly, however, I found this book incredibly flawed in its presentation of the need for economic reform.

This is not to say that Supply Shock is a total loss. There are some great aspects to this book. The history of economics that Czech provides for everyone who ISN’T an econ major is fa
Keith Akers
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested the steady-state economy
This is an important and radical approach to economics; its primary failing is that it isn’t radical enough.

The most interesting part of this book was the discussion of the history of economics, which initially I expected to be the driest part. It’s quite interesting that the modern “ecological economics” movement is actually firmly based in the origins of economic theory, which saw land as the source of economic value — or at least a key source. Today, we take “land,” as a stand-in for all natu
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I have never formally studied economics, and like most others who grew up in the "most capitalistic of all capitalist places", Hong Kong, I have always taken economic growth for granted. Besides, mainstream economists, Left or Right, all seem to treat economic growth as essential as the air we breathe and the water we drink. However, from a few years back I started wondering about whether it is actually necessary or even possible for economies to grow indefinitely. I was interested in answering ...more
Tony Smyth
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Steady State Economics is a topic that really interests me, so based on favourable reviews I bought this book. I have to say I found it a slog to get through. It is very America based - sorry Americans but if we are to overcome the damage being down by Neoliberalism its going to take all countries to get involved. Worse though is that the book meanders. This book is neither convincing nor written in a way that gets clear points across. I did not need a review of what every US president since Nix ...more
Dennis Littrell
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A critically important book that deserves a wide readership

This is a book about ecological economics and the need for a steady state economy. In part it is a follow-up to and an expansion on Czech’s “Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train” from 2000. (See my review at Amazon.) I can say that whatever your level of expertise and experience in economics, you do not want to miss this book. It is a very well informed and thought-provoking read on a subject of crucial importance in the world today.

Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very detailed look at the history of economic theory and how it needs to change. I appreciated the ultra-detailed look at how we got here, but it was certainly not light reading! You really have to be motivated to get through the first half of the book (the author even admits this - at one point he says "if you've made it this far . . ."). After that, I didn't think the second half was as compelling or convincing as I'd hoped. The author seemed to be only writing for the already conver ...more
Melanie S
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well-written, thoroughly researched, and passionately argued; Brian Czech's vision of steady-state economics as the alternative to currently accepted growth-based economic theory deserves thorough reading, study and discussion. Make no mistake: this is about a revolution. Start with his well-supported contention that all current economic theory is based on a fallacy: that natural resources are NOT fundamental to economic prosperity. Proceed to his argument that perpetual economic growth - the go ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's probably too late for a large part of my generation, but I will do my best to recommend this to any and all millennials I run into. The writer does a really good job of distilling down the more complex economic practices for the non-econ majors. :-) Inspiring concepts. Let's hope it doesn't take a global calamity to get it moving. ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Important, valuable perspective on 'neoclassical economics' and this economics' results in our real world. Also introduces improvements to, and history of 'neoclassical economics'. ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
To really make his case that economic growth entails environmental destruction, Czech needs to establish four things:

1. There is a limit to the number inputs we can have in our economy
2. We've reached that limit
3. There is a limit to how efficiently we can turn inputs into ouputs
4. We've reached that limit.

Czech does a good job showing one through three. Which by itself does imply that there is an eventual limit to growth, but doesn't show that we're there yet. GDP ultimately measures trade and
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE). I absolutely loved the candor and passion with which it was written. The author really believes his topic and he has a way to explain event the most dry scientific details in such a manner that -without claiming that I understood everything- it kept myself interested to the point that I only had to skip a few paragraphs from Part III which is the most packed with theoretical stuff.

All the other parts ar
Greg Gustafson
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a thought-provoking read. The main ideas that this book confronted me with:

1. Economic growth for its own sake should be avoided, because this finite world cannot handle much more of it.

2. Over the years, and especially in the 20th century, economists began to promote and accept theories that did not account for the reality of how natural resources are used (and depleted). Czech explains the influence and pressure on economists which produced this change.

3. All production is ultimately
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
3 stars more for the message the book conveys i.e. economic growth has become a danger in a full world where physical limits to continued expansion have been breached, than the way it is conveyed. The author tends to ramble often, digressing in my view from the topic at hand. For example, we are given a detailed account of economics as a discipline, which ostensibly is important to know because of the supposed conspiracy of mainstream economists in taking land (read nature) out of the production ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I confess that economics isn't my strong suit. My eyes usually glaze over when the subject comes up. This is mainly because the topic is too often not grounded in reality. Gaylord Nelson's quote sums it up nicely: "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around."

Too many people think the world operates "the other way around". Czech offers a good example of this with this quote from Yale economist, William Nordhaus: "Agriculture, the part of the economy that
Ravi Shrivastava
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Must read book: conscientious consumption needs to be commonplace now

This book argues for the need for a steady state economy - as opposed to most contemporary economic & political aspirations which are about growing at all costs.
As an ecologist and economist the author makes a good case. His main argument is about how the earth is bursting at its seams to provide sustenance to the large human population. At the same time, the foot print that human beings are leaving on the earth is getting more
Rentz Hilyer
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Czech eloquently clarifies many of the core concepts underpinning the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy's (CASSE)position statement. A thorough understanding of the relationship between these core concepts of economics, physics, and ecology is personally gratifying and allows for even more constructive steady state dialogue. Supply Shock would be interesting to those with no education in economics, as well as for professional economists.

Rentz Hilyer
CASSE Program Director
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Engaging, insightful and fun. This book is an important overview of the problems that economics and the environment face today and how to manage a possible solution.
Both curious readers and specialists will be satisfied with it.
Douglas Tempel
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Jun 12, 2013
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