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ogy start-ups ues shifts to come into being. sizes that would fit inside users’ has tripled in Prosperity Without Growth is a home offices. the last 10 futurist’s approach to global eco- Ridley advises having some hope years. nomics, its potential trajectories, and in the capacity of future generations Besides de- the desirable future to which the au- to solve problems that may seem in- scribing major thor believes societies can and surmountable today. The key, he trends under should aspire. It is well-suited for says, is making sure that our institu- way in neuro- economists and for general reading tions and laws promote innovation science, the au- audiences. rather than stifle it. thors note the potential for great benefits Innovation to Avert Catastrophe Combating Inequality as well as for misuses. The Neuro Revolution The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality is an overview of a Evolves by Matt Ridley. HarperCollins. Makes Societies Stronger by Richard major scientific field 2010. 422 pages. Paperback. $26.99. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Bloomsbury. 2010. 331 pages. $28. and its relevance to everyday life now and Throughout the last two centuries, in the future. General experts have repeatedly warned that Societies won’t make major cuts in Zack Lynch. audiences of all kinds civilization was headed for an immi- their carbon emissions until they first will find it informa- nent collapse and that society would reduce their socioeconomic inequali- tive and approachable. shortly descend into anarchy, epi- ties, argue health professors Richard demics, famines, or other such catas- Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Wide trophes—yet the future kept turning gaps between the more-affluent and Alternatives to Consumption out better than they had expected, less-affluent members of a society says conservationist Matt Ridley. are powerful drivers of consumer- Prosperity Without Growth: Economics The disasters never materialized, ism—people buy and consume far for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson. and instead living standards every- more than they need in order to ap- Earthscan. 2009. 264 pages. $22.50. where continuously improved. pear to hold higher social statuses. People in the twenty-first century are Inequality has risen in most devel- Many nations experienced mo- living longer, eating healthier, earn- oped countries mentous economic growth across the ing more, and enjoying vastly more over the last globe over the last few decades, yet and better ame- few decades, people’s reported levels of happiness nities than they a c c o rd i n g t o stayed the same, according to envi- have at any Pickett and ronmental economist Tim Jackson. time in human Wilkinson; as He adds that this is not surprising: history. inequalities Just because a nation’s economy is “Apoca- rise, so do un- growing does not mean that its holic” experts, healthy con- people are better off. In fact, some- Ridley argues, sumer buying times economic growth can be detri- accurately de- habits and a mental to national well-being. scribed existing wide range of Jackson points out the roles that problems but associated ills: uncontrolled speculation and scarci- failed to con- debt, minimal ties in land and resources played in sider that personal savings, obesity, crime, hastening the 2008 economic crash future technological scarce charitable giving, and mood and hampering economic recovery. innovations might disorders such as anxiety and de- Nonstop economic growth is
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