DEXTER - Deep Economy is a book written by environmental journalist Bill McKibben and will be discussed on July 30 at 6PM at Dexter's Abbott Memorial library.
McKibben's argument is that the present unlimited growth of our society and of other similar long held traditions is unsustainable. The developing large-scale global system of production and marketing is degrading the environment while decreasing the quality of life. He lays out solutions to slow down global warming and recreate the former production by communities of towns and neighborhoods that will better serve humanity than we do today. Unlimited growth uses too much of earth's resources at an accelerating rate and outstripping its energy resources doing it. More is not always better.
McKibben discusses claims that growth of wealth without limit doesn't satisfy human beings. He quotes research that says people need to, “experience a deep connection to the natural world in order to be happy.” In addition, an innate need for “community” allows people to feel satisfaction with their lives. Localism in connection between producers and consumers and the distribution of goods is one solution to our present malaise. Finding the proper economy of scale that results in a modest standard of living that doesn't destroy the environment and deplete its resources is the challenge for a sustainable world.
McKibben claims locally based farming can be more efficient and produce more per acre in this age of rising energy costs by substituting human labor for oil. Technology and the striving for efficiency to produce a product at the lowest possible cost has resulted in many local family farms going out of business, resulting in food being shipped from all over the country to feed people. “Getting the most for least cost, will not work anymore, he claims.” Downscaling and rescaling in all our commerce, agriculture and business is the only way to solve this gigantic problem, says McKibben.
Personal satisfaction, “I” must give way to “we” and a balance found between individuality and community. Similar to a “mutuality” that our early settlers did when they settled the country, they created small independent communities and had a balance between independence and interdependence.
Critics assail McKibben as an alarmist that attacks prosperity and growth irrationally. They view local community solutions as a downgrading of our common humanity; a depressingly parochial vision of the 21st century. They decry the condemning of Wal-Mart for exporting our American jobs abroad.
(Some of the the proceeding are exerpts taken from socialfunds.com)
In the Bangor Daily News edition of June 28-29, in an article, “Open road stymied by $4 gas,” McKibben elaborates on how our mobility as a nation is ending similar to what Frederick Jackson Turner described in 1893 as the closing of the American frontier.
Pick up your book at the library and join us July 30th.
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