"A brave book by a smart person with a masterful command of economic theory."—Publisher's Weekly
How should we act and think economically in the world as the era of cheap oil comes to an end? The Approaching Great Transformation begins to answer this massive question, focusing on the people and communities already at work on the transition: energy descent pioneers in the UK and the US educating their communities about the road ahead, small enterprises defying traditional “profit” in favor of permanence and sustainability, and cities preparing for a post carbon future.
Highlighting the work of thinkers like John Ruskin and E. F. Schumacher, Magnuson here builds on his previous book, Mindful Economics.
About the Author
Joel Magnuson, a professor of economics, writes extensively on the political economy and on environmental issues related to capitalist development. He is a member of an international research group based in Cambridge, England, which is building a new philosophical foundation for economic theory and practice.
Born in 1946, Paul Gilk grew up on a small homestead farm in northern Wisconsin. From work horses, threshing crews and silo-filling rings, huge gardens, quilting bees and one-room schools, township demographics changed in twenty-five years from thirty farms to three. Returning to northern Wisconsin from St. Louis in 1979, Gilk built a cottage in the woods of what had been part of the family farm. Several years of intensive study followed. The question that preoccupied him was Why are small farms dying? In the early 1990s, he reconstructed a nineteenth-century log house and, in 1995, married Suzanna Juon. He has made a living by farm work, woods work, carpentry, writing, and folk music.
"The Approaching Great Transformation is a breath of fresh air in a world of hackneyed nonsolutions to our social and economic problems. Professor Magnuson pulls no punches regarding the coming collapse of the corporate-commercial-consumer society, or the inability of technological fixes and 'green capitalism' to bail us out of the historical crunch that is virtually upon us. Rather, as we start to run out of energy (read: oil) and are forced to abandon obsolete notions of 'growth' and 'progress', we shall have to confront the question we have collectively been avoiding for roughly 500 years: If money is not the purpose of life, what is? Whether the alternative models discussed in this book prove to be viable or not, the author makes it clear that what we are living with now is no choice at all. His message is simple: change or die." —Morris Berman, author of Why America Failed
“A challenging and engaging exploration of what it will take to make the transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Magnuson exposes the false promises of green-wash capitalism—and in the tradition of E.F. Schumacher puts the hopeful shoots of real alternatives squarely on the map for ongoing development.”—Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and author of America Beyond Capitalism
"We are literally in the midst of reshaping the world and as a result, this is the time to make the new economy in a way that is redefining, as economist Joel Magnuson writes, “what is good, beautiful, fair, or wholesome, and making sure that our economic system allows us to live according to these beliefs.”—Truthout
"Soon, fossil fuels will run out—or become ridiculously complicated and expensive to extract—and the global economy will be in a real pickle, says Magnuson, an economist "specializing in non-orthodox approaches to political economy." These days, no one is safe from rhetoric about "going green"; Magnusson argues that this is mostly a "marketing ploy," a way for huge corporations to have and eat their cakes—labeling their products "green" while relentlessly pursuing "endless growth" and ignoring the reality of a finite planet with limited resources. While "green" and "sustainable" have become catchwords, material consumption in the last 25 years has increased. A "deeper transformation of our core economic institutions" is necessary, he argues; i.e. capitalism must go. While eloquently argued, the book's central message will be difficult to hear for many, though he effectively skewers the mantras of those who hope to ignore the problem: "at least it won't happen in our life time" and "technology will come through." This is a brave book by a smart person with a masterful command of economic theory; unfortunately, for these reasons its reach is probably limited: most people will balk at its central message: that we will have to get by with much, much less production and consumption."—Publishers Weekly