Deep Economy Summary

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In Deep Economy by Bill McKibben, there is a reigning theme of “more” not being equal to “better.” For McKibben, society needs to focus on efficiency rather than growth. By this, McKibben is referring to the societal obsession of “more” and “better” being one-and-the same. However, for McKibben, the reality is that a growth centric society is antiquated and dangerous for the environment. Instead, McKibben advocates for civilization to revert to a one focused on the close-knit community in order to promote a sustainable economy. For McKibben, its seems as though the easiest method to focus on sustainability rather than just efficiency is the production of food. By doing so, communities would promote an economy focused on sustainability.…show more content…
In the aftermath of World War II, America was reeling from the post-war economic boom that resulted from war-time mobilization. America, and the world, became fixated on growth (McKibben 9). One of the phenomenon that accompanied the growth-centric economy was that with growth came happiness. However, as McKibben sees it, such a growth is unsustainable and would essentially cripple any sense of normalcy the human race has come to enjoy. Essentially, our focus on growth is killing our plant (McKibben 18). The problem is that the health of the economy is seen as a more pressing issue than the health of the environment. “A single-minded focus increasing the wealth has driven the planet’s ecological system to the brink of failure, without making us happier” (McKibben 42). Thus, the focus of growth in the economy has not only put pressure on the environment, but has also failed in giving humanity the satisfaction it so desperately craves. So what must change in order for the economy and the environment to co-habitat successfully? There is not only a desire but a history of the the economy focusing on “efficiency” that needs to be overcome, but also the global habits that have enabled the economy to take precedent over the environment. For McKibben, the simplest answer to changing our definition of efficiency within…show more content…
However, the current economic system as it stands—one that focuses on bigger, better, more—is a goliath. What McKibben questions is whether or not a reversion to smaller communities, local economies would be plausible. By removing the industrialized food industry, could society continue surviving? McKibben tests this theory by living on locally grown food for a year. Although his ultimate vision is to see local economies and communities flourish, using the food industry as an analogy makes the possibility of survival in smaller communities seem much more plausible. Although McKibben’s sample size for his year of eating locally was a family of one, it demonstrated that surviving on local economies, on local food, is more than possible. It must be noted that this change would not just benefit the environment, but, for McKibben, restructuring society into smaller, local communities may be necessary for humanity’s survival (McKibben 227). McKibben’s focus on the ever-growing popularity of industrial agriculture helps to demonstrate the dangers of the “efficient” mindset society as been obsessed with since World War II. For McKibben the goals of constant growth have been warped and corrupted, and has damaged the environment and society as a whole. The characteristic gluttony of the economy has hurt farmworkers, hurt water and oil supplies,
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