Enough is Enough 9781609948054

Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources

| 240 pages

Enough is Enough

In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.


* Describes why never-ending economic growth is not possible on a finite planet and why the pursuit of growth is no longer improving people's lives
* Lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of more-an economy where the goal is enough
* Offers practical and hopeful solutions to the great economic, environmental, and social problems of our times
We've outpaced our planet. It's a truth we can no longer escape or ignore. Signs are everywhere. Of the 7 billion people who live on the earth, 2.7 billion struggle to live on less than $2 per day. Four hundred ocean zones are completely devoid of life, with one dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to be the size of New Jersey. We use eleven times as much energy as we did just fifty years ago. More of the same is clearly not sustainable.
But what can we do? In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.
What sets this book apart is its focus on the solution: a prosperous and stable steady-state economy. Dietz and O'Neill describe the features of this economy and explain how to achieve it. They explore specific strategies to limit resource use, stabilize population, achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth, reform the financial system, reduce unemployment, and more-all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. They also provide advice for changing consumer behavior and shifting the political conversation away from the misguided pursuit of economic growth and toward the things that really matter to people.
Ultimately, this book offers more than just a survival strategy. By eliminating the waste and excess that have put the planet in peril, people can lead healthier and happier lives. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, Enough Is Enough is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all.
  • Describes why never-ending economic growth is not possible on a finite planet and why the pursuit of growth is no longer improving people's lives
  • Lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of more-an economy where the goal is enough
  • Offers practical and hopeful solutions to the great economic, environmental, and social problems of our times

We've outpaced our planet. It's a truth we can no longer escape or ignore. Signs are everywhere. Of the 7 billion people who live on the earth, 2.7 billion struggle to live on less than $2 per day. Four hundred ocean zones are completely devoid of life, with one dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to be the size of New Jersey. We use eleven times as much energy as we did just fifty years ago. More of the same is clearly not sustainable.

But what can we do? In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.

What sets this book apart is its focus on the solution: a prosperous and stable steady-state economy. Dietz and O'Neill describe the features of this economy and explain how to achieve it. They explore specific strategies to limit resource use, stabilize population, achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth, reform the financial system, reduce unemployment, and more-all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. They also provide advice for changing consumer behavior and shifting the political conversation away from the misguided pursuit of economic growth and toward the things that really matter to people.

Ultimately, this book offers more than just a survival strategy. By eliminating the waste and excess that have put the planet in peril, people can lead healthier and happier lives. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, Enough Is Enough is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all.

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Overview

In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.


* Describes why never-ending economic growth is not possible on a finite planet and why the pursuit of growth is no longer improving people's lives
* Lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of more-an economy where the goal is enough
* Offers practical and hopeful solutions to the great economic, environmental, and social problems of our times
We've outpaced our planet. It's a truth we can no longer escape or ignore. Signs are everywhere. Of the 7 billion people who live on the earth, 2.7 billion struggle to live on less than $2 per day. Four hundred ocean zones are completely devoid of life, with one dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to be the size of New Jersey. We use eleven times as much energy as we did just fifty years ago. More of the same is clearly not sustainable.
But what can we do? In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.
What sets this book apart is its focus on the solution: a prosperous and stable steady-state economy. Dietz and O'Neill describe the features of this economy and explain how to achieve it. They explore specific strategies to limit resource use, stabilize population, achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth, reform the financial system, reduce unemployment, and more-all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. They also provide advice for changing consumer behavior and shifting the political conversation away from the misguided pursuit of economic growth and toward the things that really matter to people.
Ultimately, this book offers more than just a survival strategy. By eliminating the waste and excess that have put the planet in peril, people can lead healthier and happier lives. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, Enough Is Enough is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all.
  • Describes why never-ending economic growth is not possible on a finite planet and why the pursuit of growth is no longer improving people's lives
  • Lays out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of more-an economy where the goal is enough
  • Offers practical and hopeful solutions to the great economic, environmental, and social problems of our times

We've outpaced our planet. It's a truth we can no longer escape or ignore. Signs are everywhere. Of the 7 billion people who live on the earth, 2.7 billion struggle to live on less than $2 per day. Four hundred ocean zones are completely devoid of life, with one dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to be the size of New Jersey. We use eleven times as much energy as we did just fifty years ago. More of the same is clearly not sustainable.

But what can we do? In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill urge us to shift our focus from the symptoms to the cause: the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. Since we live in a world of finite resources, we must change our economic goal from the madness of more to the wisdom of enough.

What sets this book apart is its focus on the solution: a prosperous and stable steady-state economy. Dietz and O'Neill describe the features of this economy and explain how to achieve it. They explore specific strategies to limit resource use, stabilize population, achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth, reform the financial system, reduce unemployment, and more-all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. They also provide advice for changing consumer behavior and shifting the political conversation away from the misguided pursuit of economic growth and toward the things that really matter to people.

Ultimately, this book offers more than just a survival strategy. By eliminating the waste and excess that have put the planet in peril, people can lead healthier and happier lives. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, Enough Is Enough is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Rob Dietz


Rob Dietz grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta during the 1970s and 80s, immersed in the culture of consumerism. By the time he finished college, he knew that he'd have trouble following the rules of this culture (buy, buy, buy, work, work, work). His career has consequently taken some unusual turns. He started out as an economist, trying (and failing) to use economic tools to solve environmental problems. He reinvented himself as a scientist and geographer, working for the U.S. government to support the conservation of wildlife and habitat. He then switched to activism, serving as the first director of CASSE, a nonprofit organization with an aim of advancing a sustainable economic agenda.

During his meandering career, Rob has been compelled to write about big-picture topics at the interface of society and nature, such as how nations can align their economic practices with ecological realities. He is currently the editor of the Daly News, an online publication named in honor of the visionary economist Herman Daly. Rob is married, has one daughter, and lives at CoHo Ecovillage in Corvallis, Oregon, where he occasionally shuts down the computer and ventures into the great outdoors (despite the uncooperative weather).

Visit Author Page - Daniel O’Neill
Dan O'Neill is a lecturer in ecological economics at the University of Leeds, and the chief economist at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. His research focuses on the changes that would be needed to achieve a successful nongrowing economy, and alternative ways of measuring progress besides GDP. Dan has worked in both the public and private sectors in areas such as regional planning and energy management. He holds a doctorate in ecological economics from the University of Leeds, and a master of environmental studies degree from Dalhousie University. He grew up on the West Coast of Canada, but currently lives in the North of England where he enjoys hiking in the Yorkshire Dales and singing songs about the misguided pursuit of economic growth.

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Foreword by Herman Daly

Preface


Part I: Questions of Enough

1: Have You Had Enough?

2: Why Should Enough Be the Goal?

3: How Much Is Enough?

4: What Sort of Economy Provides Enough?


Part II: Strategies of Enough

5: Enough Throughput: Limiting Resource Use and Waste Production

6: Enough People: Stabilizing Population

7: Enough Inequality: Distributing Income and Wealth

8: Enough Debt: Reforming Monetary and Financial Systems

9: Enough Miscalculation: Changing the Way We Measure Progress

10: Enough Unemployment: Securing Meaningful Jobs

11: Enough Business as Usual: Rethinking Commerce

Part III: Advancing the Economy of Enough

12: Enough Materialism: Changing Consumer Behavior

13: Enough Silence: Engaging Politicians and the Media

14: Enough Unilateralism: Changing National Goals and Improving International Cooperation

15: Enough Waiting: Taking Action to Start the Transition

Acknowledgments

About the Authors

Notes

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Enough is Enough

[ CHAPTER 1 ]
HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH?

A person who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

LAO TZU (SIXTH CENTURY B.C.E.)

A game of checkers offers very little insight into how to solve the world’s intertwined environmental and social problems, or so I thought. In one particular game, my opponent opened with a series of reckless moves, placing checker after checker in harm’s way. When I jumped the first one and swiped it off the board, I briefly wondered if I was being lured into a trap. But it was just a fleeting thought. After all, my opponent was only five years old.

I was playing against my daughter. She had just gotten home from her kindergarten class, and I was giving her a few strategy pointers from my limited bag of tricks. Her moves showed some modest improvement, but after a while, we both lost interest in the game. Besides, there are other fun things you can do with checkers, like seeing how high a tower you can build. At first, we were fast and free with our stacking—we even plopped down two or three checkers at a time. But as the tower grew, we changed our approach. With the light touch and steady hands of a surgical team, we took turns adding checkers one by one to the top of the stack. By this point, our formerly straight tower had taken on a disconcerting lean. On our final attempt to increase its height, the mighty checker tower reached the inevitable tipping point and came crashing down to earth. Like a reporter interpreting the scene, my daughter remarked, “Sometimes when things get too big, they fall.”

I sat back amid the pile of checkers scattered on the floor and smiled. With a simple observation and eight words, she had managed to sum up the root cause of humanity’s most pressing environmental and social problems. Even a partial list of these problems sounds grim:

• Greenhouse gas emissions are destabilizing the global climate.

• Billions of people are living in poverty, engaged in a daily struggle to meet their basic needs.

• The health of forests, grasslands, marshes, oceans, and other wild places is declining, to the point that the planet is experiencing a species extinction crisis.

• National governments are drowning in debt, while the global financial system teeters on the verge of ruin.

People desperately want to solve these problems, but most of us are overlooking the underlying cause: our economy has grown too large. Our economic tower is threatening to collapse under its own weight, and beyond that, it’s threatening the integrity of the checkerboard and the well-being of the players. The economy is simply too big for the broader social and ecological systems that contain it.

That’s a strong indictment against economic growth, but (as we’ll see in the next chapter) this indictment is backed up by scientific studies of environmental and social systems. The evidence shows that the pursuit of a bigger economy is undermining the life-support systems of the planet and failing to make us better off—a grave situation, to be sure. But what makes the situation even more serious is the lack of a viable response. The plan being transmitted from classrooms, boardrooms, and pressrooms is to keep adding more checkers to the stack.

The model of more is failing both environmentally and socially, and practically everyone is still cheering it on … it almost makes you want to climb to the top of the highest building and shout, “ENOUGH!”

Crying out in such a way expresses intense frustration at the seemingly intractable environmental and social problems we face, but it also carries the basic solution to these problems. By stopping at enough when it comes to production and consumption in the economy, instead of constantly chasing more, we can restore environmental health and achieve widespread well-being. That’s an incredibly hopeful message, but it opens up all sorts of questions. What would this economy look like? What new institutions would we need? How would we secure jobs? This book attempts to answer these and related questions by providing a blueprint for an economy of enough, with detailed policies and strategies for making the transition away from more.

Before diving into the science (Chapter 2) that clarifies why enough is preferable to more, it’s worth thinking about it from a commonsense perspective—perhaps even incorporating the wisdom of a checker-stacking kindergartner. More is certainly a good thing when you don’t have enough. For instance, if you can’t find enough to eat, then more food is better. If the alarm wakes you up before you’ve gotten enough sleep, hitting the snooze button and resting for a few more minutes feels great. If you didn’t study enough to pass an exam, then spending more time hitting the books would have been useful. But what about times when you do have enough? Eating more food leads to obesity. Sleeping too much could be classified as a medical condition. Studying more could mean missing out on other things in life. More, then, may be either helpful or harmful, depending on the situation, but enough is the amount that’s just right.

People often overlook this relationship between more and enough, especially in economic affairs. It took me a long time, a lot of dot-connecting, and even some soul-searching to get it. My path to understanding began years ago in an improbable place.

When I was a kid living in the sprawling suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, I had a poster taped to the wall of my bedroom. In the background of the poster, a gaudy mansion sits on a seaside cliff. The light at dusk bathes the scene in a soft, orange glow. A walkway curves down from the mansion to a huge garage that takes up the whole foreground. The taillights of five luxury cars (a Porsche, a Ferrari, a Mercedes, a BMW, and some other fancy ride that I can’t recall) stick out from the arched openings of the garage. Scrawled across the top of the poster is the title: “Justification for Higher Education.”

The strangest thing about this poster was that I didn’t find it strange at all. The culture—my culture—is largely about owning things, and the more the better. The prospect of owning a big house and an expensive car or two seemed like a valid reason for attending college. My cluttered closet, which sat right next to the poster, provided further illustration of the culture. The entire closet floor was covered with Rubik’s Cube–style puzzles, Star Wars action figures, and other plastic ghosts of Christmas past. Like a fish that pays no attention to the fact that it’s swimming in water, I was swimming in a consumer culture and had no idea of its existence. This culture, which values owning and consuming over doing, being, and connecting, goes hand-in-hand with an economy that pursues more.

One day, having resolved to clean my room, I stared at the mess in my closet, and something clicked into place. I realized that I received precious little joy from all these things. Their novelty had long since worn off, and now I was just spending time shuffling them around when I could be doing something else—anything else! When I finally took the sensible step of giving the stuff away, I felt lighter and freer. I felt as though I had enough.

A few years later when I went to college, I majored in environmental studies. But, worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a high-paying job to “justify my higher education,” I also majored in economics. In truth, I was hoping to combine lessons from the two fields—to use the tools of economics to fix environmental problems. And what problems they were! Climate change, degraded water and air quality, persistent toxic substances, loss of soil productivity. These are what E. F. Schumacher called “divergent problems,”1 meaning (among other things) that you couldn’t solve them overnight with a couple of tweaks to the system.

In contrast, the economics program seemed to gloss over the problems. Environmental issues barely figured in the discussion, and social problems, such as poverty and inequality, received only slightly more attention. The problems that we did study, such as how to forecast future prices and smooth out business cycles, mostly came with stepwise prescriptions. You supposedly could solve these problems with a few tweaks to the system (as well as some nearly incomprehensible mathematics).

I had a tough time trying to apply economic methods to environmental problems, both inside and outside of academia. Admittedly some of the fault lay with the practitioner, but I found economics (at least the economics I was learning) to be ill-equipped to deal with the divergent problems of the day. I don’t mean to be overly harsh. The discipline definitely contributes some useful tools and helpful ways to analyze worldly matters, but I mostly failed when I tried to apply its lessons.

When faced with failure, it’s helpful to get a fresh perspective. Author, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry offers an outstanding piece of advice for how to do that. He maintains that you’re unlikely to solve big problems by talking about them remotely. You have to see them for yourself. He says, “[I]t is in the presence of the problems that their solutions will be found.”2 Later, when I was working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I got a chance to follow Berry’s advice. That’s when the landscape taught me something important about enough.

Bosque del Apache, a wildlife refuge in central New Mexico, is an enchanting place. On winter mornings, as the desert sun rises over the San Pascual Mountains and illuminates the marshlands along the Rio Grande River, tens of thousands of waterfowl take to the skies. The immense flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes are quite a sight, and so are the flocks of binocular-toting bird enthusiasts. These visitors are able to encounter wildlife on a scale that’s become rare these days.

It can be a magical experience for visitors, but in a way they’re deceived. The birds are present, so the food and other resources they need must also be present. But the refuge provides adequate resources only through careful management by a dedicated staff. The natural functioning of the Rio Grande River, which forms the backbone of the refuge, is long gone, taken by dams and diversions for irrigation. Floods, the major driver of the ecosystems that provide for the birds, no longer occur at their historical scale and frequency. Refuge managers, biologists, and other staff find ways to work the land and water to provide enough resources. In some cases, they try to mimic conditions that would have occurred naturally. For example, they use pumps and diversion channels to flood fields and create temporary wetlands. In other cases, they grow corn and other crops to supply bird food. Without these interventions, the flocks would be much smaller, and might not even spend the winter at Bosque del Apache.

The problem is that the modern landscape lacks a set of interconnected, highly functional conservation areas, mostly because society has appropriated so much land and wildlife habitat for economic purposes. Intensive refuge management may be the best option for conserving wildlife under such circumstances, but this approach amounts to triage. We have chosen to apply bandages (i.e., intensively managed refuges) on the landscape to stop the bleeding (i.e., habitat conversion, species extinctions, and declining ecosystem function). However, as any good doctor knows, preventing disease or trauma is much more effective than treating symptoms after the damage has been done. Preventive medicine in this case calls for balancing the amount of economic activity with the amount of wilderness preservation—a clear example of the principle of enough.

I’ve learned a lot by roaming places like Bosque del Apache, and I wish I had the powers of observation to unlock more of their wisdom. But most of my progress toward the destination of enough has come from people as opposed to places. I met one such person, Brian Czech, while I was still working at the Fish and Wildlife Service. Brian is an avid “wildlifer” and an even more avid “enougher.” He takes issue with economic growth—well, at least the continuous pursuit of economic growth. When you first meet him, he’s quick to ask what you think about “the economic growth issue.”

In the work leading to his doctorate, he analyzed the causes of species endangerment. It turned out that the causes were, as he puts it, a Who’s Who of the American economy. Agriculture, mining, urbanization, logging, tourism, and other sectors of the economy were the culprits behind habitat loss and exotic species invasions that were wiping out native species. Once Brian understood this, he began researching the conflict between growing the economy and protecting the environment. This research led him to another teacher.

Herman Daly is an economist who is known around the world for his analyses and writings on economic growth and human development. His intellectual curiosity and tenacity have turned him into something of a salmon, swimming against the mainstream economic current. Despite many years fighting the misguided pursuit of economic growth, he’s managed to avoid cynicism. In person and in prose, he conveys a heartfelt desire to create an economy that cares for both people and the planet.

I first met Herman at an academic conference where I acquired his book (new at the time), Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications,3 which he co-wrote with Joshua Farley. I proceeded to read it from cover to cover. I’m well aware that reading an economics textbook for enjoyment constitutes bizarre behavior. But it was a revelation. I kept asking myself, “Where was this information when I was in college?” Brian opened the door to a new world where I questioned my economic assumptions, and Herman filled that new world with a vision of a sustainable and fair economy—what he called a “steady-state economy.” I wanted to be a part of developing and promoting that vision.

Soon after, I agreed to help Brian run an organization he had established, and I became the director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. Thankfully, its name is usually abbreviated to CASSE (rhymes with classy). CASSE’s purpose is to help people understand why continuous economic growth is impossible and undesirable, and to promote the steady-state economy as a positive alternative.

Since you can already read Herman’s books or visit CASSE’s website to find out more about the concept of a steady-state economy, what’s the purpose of this book? To answer that question, I need to introduce one more character. Dan O’Neill, my coauthor and good friend, is an ecological economist working at the University of Leeds in England. Early in my tenure with CASSE, he became the director of our European operations.

In June 2010, Dan and I found ourselves sitting side-by-side in his office at the university. Tired and grouchy from being trapped under the fluorescent lights on a delightful day, we were trying to sketch an outline for a report to transmit the wealth of information in front of us. The day before, we had achieved a great success. In partnership with Economic Justice for All, a discussion forum of scholars and activists based in Leeds, we had organized and run the first-ever Steady State Economy Conference. The conference brought together academics, business leaders, politicians, activists, the media, and the general public to explore the steady-state economy as an ecologically and socially responsible alternative to economic growth.

Both Dan and I were already admirers of Herman Daly’s work, but we had been asking ourselves for some time how a steady-state economy would work in practice. Herman had previously identified the main problems with pursuing continuous economic growth, and he had described a broad vision of an alternative economic system. But we were hungry for more details—specifically, the policies and transition strategies that would turn his vision into a reality. That’s why we had decided to work together on the conference and report. We hoped to understand for ourselves, and help others understand, what a steady-state economy would mean in practice.

Months later, with too many late nights to recount, with plenty of arguments over content, and with outstanding contributions from numerous scholars, we released our report.4 The information collected at the conference and compiled in the report provides the backbone of this book.

You probably have some of the same concerns as we do about the environment and the economy. We’re not pessimists, but with all the disturbing facts that confront us, it’s hard to avoid feeling worried about the future we face. Yet there is still hope in the midst of such worries. Once we put aside our obsession with growth, we can focus on the task of building a better economy. At the Steady State Economy Conference, Tim Jackson (the author of a brilliant book entitled Prosperity without Growth5) provided a much-needed rallying call. He said:

Here is a point in time where our institutions are wrong. Our economics is not fit for purpose. The outcomes of this economic system are perverse. But this is not an anthem of despair. It’s not a place where we should give up hope. It’s not an impossibility theorem. The impossibility lives in believing we have a set of principles that works for us. Once we let go of that assumption anything is possible.6

This book tries to provide a new set of principles that can work for us. We don’t want to mislead you into thinking we have a precise set of directions for fixing everything that’s wrong with the world—after all, the economy and the ecological systems that contain it are highly complex. We do, however, have an economic plan that can help move humanity toward a better future where sustainable and equitable human well-being is the goal, not economic growth. Successful implementation of this plan rests on three requirements:

1. Widespread recognition that our planet is finite. Humanity (along with all the other species here) draws life and comfort from a limited pool of resources. Recognition of this fact requires us to change the way we regard our relationship with nature, especially within our economic institutions.

2. Practical policies for achieving a steady-state economy. A set of well-conceived steady-state policies can replace and outperform the obsolete growth-oriented policies in use today. But people need a strong sense of these new policies before they’ll be willing to embrace them.

3. The will to act. The economic changes that are required won’t materialize on their own. We must dismantle the prevailing institutions and policies that have produced a destructive and unfair economy. At the same time, we must initiate and nurture the required changes.

This book is organized around these three requirements. If you’re already on board with the first one, you may recognize some familiar ideas in the next two chapters. Even so, it’s worth spending some time considering the problem of “too much” before jumping to the solution of “enough.” But the purpose of this book (in fact, the feature that sets it apart from others) is to describe how to establish a prosperous yet nongrowing economy. This is not a book that focuses on problems while relegating solutions to the last few pages.

That said, Part I, Questions of Enough, is more about why than how. It’s where we summarize some of the scientific evidence that condemns the pursuit of continuous economic growth. Part I also considers what constitutes desirable levels of population and consumption, and then makes the turn toward how by describing the defining features of a steady-state economy.

Part II, Strategies of Enough, provides solutions—an escape route from the perpetual growth trap described in Part I. It’s the part of the book that explains how, in a steady-state economy, we can:

• Limit the use of materials and energy to sustainable levels.

• Stabilize population through compassionate and noncoercive means.

• Achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth.

• Reform monetary and financial systems for stability.

• Change the way we measure progress.

• Secure meaningful jobs and full employment.

• Reconfigure the way businesses create value.

Taken together, the policies described in Part II form an agenda for transforming the economic goal from more to enough. But these policies will sit on the shelf unless we can gain extensive support for, and concerted action toward, achieving an economy of enough.

Part III, Advancing the Economy of Enough, provides the call for action. This part of the book contains ideas for moving past the culture of consumerism, starting a public dialogue about the downsides of growth and the upsides of a steady-state economy, and expanding cooperation among nations. All this discussion leads up to the presentation of an economic blueprint that summarizes the components and steps needed to build a steady-state economy.

This blueprint offers hope at a time when we need it most. It provides a viable way of responding to the profound environmental and social problems of our era. The ever-present drone of what we can’t do has become both tiresome and unproductive. The time has come to figure out what we can do. We can build a better economy. We can meet our needs and care for the planet at the same time. We can live balanced lives, including time for the occasional game of checkers. This is our checkerboard, after all, and we don’t have to play by the old rules anymore. Let’s get to it. Enough is enough.

 

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Endorsements

On a typical day, we can read that Arctic sea ice is melting far faster than predicted by alarmist computer models, with dramatic impact to come all too soon, and that governments are rushing to exploit newly accessible Arctic resources so as to accelerate the march to destruction. Humans seem to be intent on confirming the argument of biologist Ernst Mayr that higher intelligence may be a lethal mutation. But the grim prognosis is not inevitable. This lucid, informed, and highly constructive study not only outlines where we are heading, but also shows that with "the will to act," solutions can be found to construct a steady-state economy geared to human needs and to decent survival.

--Noam Chomsky


Dietz and O'Neill understand that an unrelenting message of "doom and gloom" isn't what will save our planet and our people. Instead, they create a remarkable vision of what can work economically, and put this vision in simple terms so that each of us can take steps toward the ultimate goal-a world with ENOUGH prosperity and happiness for everyone, not just for a few. This book will restore your hope in the future and give you specific things you can do to help!

--Thom Hartmann, internationally syndicated talkshow host and author of 24 books


In an age where economic orthodoxy remains all-too fixated on growth, Enough Is Enough offers s a thoughtful contribution to creating an ecologically sound economic system that meets human rather than financial needs.

Gar Alperovitz, professor of political economy at the University of Maryland and author of America Beyond Capitalism

If you think there must be a better way forward than more of the same, then Enough Is Enough is the book for you. It tackles our affluenza, our growth fetish, and our wildly unfair social order head on, and points the way to a better place. I highly recommend it.

--James Gustave Speth, former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, cofounder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy


The notion that economic growth is the enemy and not our salvation still has about it more than a whiff of heresy. Not after this admirably lucid book, though. Dietz and O'Neill argue persuasively that adopting a governing axiom of "enough" rather than "more" will help make our politics more democratic, our economy more egalitarian and our society more creative ¦ and then they show how to bring it about. How bad is that?

-- Marq de Villiers, journalist and author of thirteen books, including Our Way Out: First Principles for a Post-Apocalyptic Society

This is the book we've all been waiting for, as we watch the growth economy collide catastrophically with the constraints of a finite Earth. It's a clear, informed, practical, honorable and witty guide to where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there. If you are one of so many of us who are bewildered or despairing about the fate of the future, this is the book that will give you an energized sense of purpose and reason-based hope.

--Kathleen Dean Moore, professor of philosophy at Oregon State University, author of The Pine Island Paradox, and coeditor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril

Enough is Enough is a fine addition to a growing literature on how society might change its ways and actually avoid catastrophic collapse. Everyone should read it and become more aware of the scale of the human predicament, the economic insanity that is largely responsible for it, and the desperate need for dramatic change.

--Paul Ehrlich, professor of population studies at Stanford University, President of the Center for Conservation Biology, and coauthor of The Dominant Animal

Saying "Enough!" is heresy in our growth-based economy, in which more, bigger, and faster are the only permissible goals. The authors not only offer specific policy proposals for an economy of sufficiency, but argue persuasively that we could all be happier by exiting the growth treadmill. This is a book that every American should read.

--Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and author of ten books, including The End of Growth

Enough Is Enough is an extremely important and timely work. Herman Daly and his many colleagues have masterfully articulated the importance of creating a new economy that can enhance rather than destroy our natural resources and, at the same time, improve our quality of life. Now, in Enough is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill have laid out a pragmatic scenario which describes, in great detail, how we can all become involved in making that economy a reality in the communities and on the planet in which we live. This is a must read for anyone interested in their own welfare and that of their children and grandchildren.

--Frederick Kirschenmann, professor of philosophy at Iowa State University, Distinguished Fellow of the Leopold Center, and author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience

Enough Is Enough provides a preview of the new world we must inevitably enter. Although Dietz and O'Neill pay careful attention to real-world limits to growth, these two visionaries show us how we can lead happy lives by embracing an economy of enough.

--Richard Lamm, three-term governor of Colorado

In Enough Is Enough, Dietz and O'Neill have accomplished something special. They offer a hopeful and practical plan for righting the economic and environmental ship, and they do it in a very engaging way. I hope my colleagues in parliament are paying close attention to the ideas in this book-I know I am.

-- Caroline Lucas, member of UK Parliament for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Walking in the steps of E. F. Schumacher, Ivan Illich, Thich Nhat Hanh and of course the great religions, perhaps best represented by the Taoists and Buddhists for their ethics of simplicity and not grasping always for more, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill bring the modern dilemma of growth and the dogma of "more is better" into the contemporary reality. Enough Is Enough offers important new thinking on how to address the planet's most urgent crises and establish an economy that achieves true biological sustainability and shared wealth for all.

--Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face, cofounder of Esprit, and President of the Conservation Land Trust

In the 6th century BCE Lao Tzu wisely wrote that the person who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. It has taken us 26 centuries of apparent progress to forget that, and it is high time to relearn it. Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill provide a compelling case for us to do just that. As well as an accessible guide to the growth-and-greed economy they offer a series of simple and achievable steps to replacing it with something sustainable and infinitely more satisfying.

--Molly Scott Cato, professor of strategy and sustainability at Roehampton University and author of Environment and Economy


What scope is there for moving beyond today's increasingly desperate pursuit of conventional economic growth? For politicians to carve out some real space in that territory, they need to immerse themselves in the "beyond growth" debate, and there is no better way of doing that than familiarizing themselves with the ideas and insights in Enough is Enough.

--Jonathon Porritt, founder and director of the Forum for the Future and author of Capitalism as if the World Matters


Two qualities that allegedly distinguish humans from other species are high intelligence (the ability to reason logically from the evidence) and the capacity for forward planning (the ability to design a better future). At no time in history has there been greater need for these qualities or less evidence of their existence-the global human enterprise is on a trajectory toward social and ecological collapse. But clear-thinking, forward-looking people can take heart. With Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill have provided both the unassailable rationale and the visionary plan the world needs to live well, more equitably and sustainably within the means of nature.

--William Rees, professor of public policy and ecological economics at the University of British Columbia and originator of ecological footprint analysis.


With their new book, Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill let you have your facts and read it too. Building on the work of Herman Daly, Tim Jackson, Peter Victor and others, they've written the most accessible and well-argued case for a steady-state, no growth economy I've had the opportunity to read. With stories, examples and plenty of data, but without the tedium of academic writing, Dietz and O'Neill take aim at the most persistent of the economic myths of both Right and Left-that economies must grow without limits to provide full employment and improve the conditions of the poor. They show clearly how a different model for wealthy societies, based on sharing work and focused on non-material sources of happiness, is not only possible but desirable, and is the only way to allow the poor countries of the world to expand their own economies without irreversible damage to the life-support systems of our planet. I can't recommend a book more highly.

--John de Graaf, coauthor of Affluenza and What's the Economy for, Anyway?


Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill are leaders in the new generation of thinkers and doers on the steady-state economy. In Enough Is Enough they present a compelling case for why ˜enough' should replace ˜more' as the goal of a successful economy, and they provide information, arguments and examples to show how our lives would be much improved by such a fundamental change.

--Peter Victor, professor of environmental studies at York University and author of Managing without Growth


This wonderful book focuses on the heart of the matter: our world is being destroyed because, as a society and an economy, we have become oblivious to limits of every kind. Limits of resources on a finite earth, limits of planetary carrying capacity, and most of all limits to human material aspirations. The last point is the most poignant and profound. How did we get this way? How could we be so dumb? So limited in our perceptions? How can we not understand that you can't consume everything, the corpus of life, and live? Or that material acquisition, a trivial pursuit, cannot bring happiness? This book is a great primer for systematically unpeeling the dominant insanity of our time, and then waking up and doing something to change it. It should be required reading for every high school and college class devoted to the economics of sanity. And every government official as well.

Jerry Mander, author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, In the Absence of the Sacred, and The Capitalism Papers


Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill bring clarity and style to their impassioned and meticulous analysis-showing up the impossible logic of a continued desire for economic growth. Their vision of a steady-state economy, and their practical focus on how we achieve it, is a significant roadmap, offering the way to a better quality of life and sustainable future for all of us and the planet.

--Kate Pickett, professor of Epidemiology, University of York, coauthor of The Spirit Level, and cofounder of The Equality Trust


We need a world where sustainable human well-being is the primary goal, not the insane delusion of infinite growth. In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill tell us how to get there. It is the most readable description of the fundamental problems with the "growth at all costs" economic paradigm and how focusing on "enough" material consumption can make room for all the other things that contribute to human well-being. If you've had enough of the crazy economics of growth for the 1%, at the expense of well-being for the 99% and the planet, then this is the book for you.

--Robert Costanza, professor of sustainability, Portland State University and chief editor of Solutions magazine

Enough Is Enough should be required reading for every economics student as an antidote to the wacky assumptions of the field that a planet with finite resources can support infinite growth. Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill show the importance of growing, not obsolete economic indicators like GDP, but long-neglected human capacities for creativity and compassion. Like shooting fish in a barrel, they offer practical (if provocative) strategies for making energy use renewable, stabilizing the world's population, distributing wealth more fairly, and revamping business and national job policies. Whether or not you agree with all their proposals, this highly readable and provocative book will profoundly expand your thinking about what's possible.

--Michael Shuman, Fellow of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and author of Local Dollars, Local Sense and The Small-Mart Revolution

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