Enough Is Enough
Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources
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It’s time for a new kind of economy
We’re overusing the earth’s finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth – an economy where the goal is enough, not more.
They explore specific strategies to conserve natural resources, stabilize population, reduce inequality, fix the financial system, create jobs, and more – all with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being instead of short-term profits. 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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Table of Contents
Part 1: 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 2: Strategies of Enough
5. Enough Throughout: 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 3: 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
Rob Dietz is editor of the Daly News and the former executive director of CASSE (the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy).
Dan O'Neill is a lecturer in ecological economics at the University of Leeds, UK and the chief economist for CASSE.
"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 book 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." – Noam Chomsky, Professor emeritus at MIT and author of over 100 books
"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, co-author of 'The Spirit Level', and co-founder of The Equality Trust
"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, MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
"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'
"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 co-editor of 'Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril'
"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 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 co-author of 'The Dominant Animal'
“Dietz and O’Neill create a remarkable vision—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 talk show host and author of twenty-four books
“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, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council; and author of America the Possible
“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, The North Face; cofounder, Esprit; and President, Conservation Land Trust
“Enough Is Enough is the most accessible and well-argued case for a sustainable economy I’ve ever read. With stories, examples, and plenty of data, but without the tedium of academic writing, Dietz and O’Neill dismantle the most persistent of all economic myths—that economies must grow without limit to provide full employment and improve the conditions of the poor. They explain how a different economic model can meet our needs 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?
“Two qualities that allegedly distinguish humans from other species are high intelligence and the capacity for forward planning. At no time in history has there been a 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. Enough Is Enough provides 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, University of British Columbia, and cocreator of the ecological footprint
“Enough Is Enough should be required reading for every economics student as an antidote to the wacky assumption that a finite planet can support infinite growth. Dietz and O’Neill show the importance of growing long-neglected human capacities for creativity and compassion rather than obsolete economic indicators like GDP. 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, author of Local Dollars, Local Sense and The Small-Mart Revolution
“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, Post Carbon Institute, and author of ten books, including The End of Growth
“In an age where economic orthodoxy remains all too fixated on growth, Enough Is Enough offers a thoughtful contribution to creating an ecologically sound economic system that meets human rather than financial needs.” – Gar Alperovitz, Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland, and author of America Beyond Capitalism
“In the sixth century BCE, Lao Tzu wisely wrote that the person who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. It has taken us twenty-six 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, Roehampton University, and author of Environment and 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
“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 that 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 all those interested in their own welfare and that of their children and grandchildren.” – Frederick Kirschenmann, Professor of Philosophy, Iowa State University, and author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience
“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, 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 fi nite earth, limits of planetary carrying capacity, and most of all limits to human material aspirations. 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 In the Absence of the Sacred and The Capitalism Papers
“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, former Governor, Colorado
“Highly recommended reading: Enough Is Enough manages to be readable, enjoyable and substantive all at the same time: a rare feat. Essential reading for those wanting to understand the travails of our world and how to fix them. The authors are to be congratulated on a lucid, sensible and yet profound book.” – Ian Johnson, Secretary General, Club of Rome
"Enough is Enough is addressed to a wide readership to stimulate the change in mind-set necessary to accept and adopt an alternative way of life to current consumer and growth driven lifestyles. Whether we are agronomists, policymakers, academics or administrators, we all are consumers inhabiting a finite planet. This slim volume is a thought-provoking introduction to steady state economy and lifestyle." – New Agriculturist
"...the authors have managed to maintain an optimistic perspective throughout with a clear structure using personal reflections and comical moments to make it an enjoyable and engaging read." – Caroline Baird, Sherkin Comment