Deep Economy offers an insightful platform to any reader as it prompts him to analyze his current living condition. The author, Bill McKibben captures the reader’s mind through his well thought out and articulated ideas that expose his prowess in the field of ecological economics.
The book delivers a specific message to the reader and even critics have agreed that the book plays its role in communication. Bill challenges the reader to think of another life beyond ‘growth’ to achieve prosperity.
He argues that this is possible if people concentrate more in their local production. He seems to have an answer to all the budding problems affecting the community with an aim of bringing changes in their daily lifestyle and economy.
One of the strongest points brought out in his argument is his stand on the community and individualism (McKibben 108). Many people have no idea what this means but a clear understanding of Deep Economy brings to light the issue of community that triggers our thinking. And how does it achieve this goal? First of all, we have shunned communism and turned to individualism.
We have lost the idea of thinking as a community and turned to other westernized sources outside our own society to revive our economy. A wrong move I must say. Secondly, globalization seems to be conquering the entire world leading to the loss of all types of primeval community values.
McKibben argues that we need to re-awaken the lost communities, a concept which though possible, has been met with a lot of criticism. Lastly, it is apparent that the community has adequate resources to sustain the economy but we, as individuals, tend to ignore them.
The Importance of Community
Based on the above three reasons that help us to understand our community, it is worth discussing its role. McKibben holds the community in high esteem as portrayed in chapter three and four of his book. These two chapters give a conclusive argument on why the community is vital for economic growth.
The community is inhabited by individuals who are hyper (McKibben 115). More emphasis should therefore be placed on the community rather than the sole individual. McKibben advocates for the embracing of community values to attain a more sustainable lifestyle. Does this make any sense? Well, society has currently become more individualized with everybody crying about their ‘rights.’
This has been attributed to globalization and change of culture that has led people to be selfish in their way of living. The new culture of ‘everyone for himself and God for us all’ has become entrenched in individuals, hence shunning the society and its needs. Many people would be lost in the idea of thinking that the community does not play any role in our daily lives hence shunning it.
The economy depends on right relationships within the community. Successful people such as Schumacher or Michael Ruppert are evidence that success comes from within the community and that it is challenging for individuals to try making it on their own (Hoogstraten 45).
Modernization is taking over communities leaving individuals to be more and more independent. What happens to family-community? Where does the church and state-community stand? What McKibben is trying to argue is that we seem not to care about the welfare of each other. In the Middle Ages for example, a family problem was solved by the community but today the situation has changed.
We are turning to institutions such as the court to give us a solution. The idea of worshipping together as a community was lost long ago with the individuals deeply engaged in shopping and their careers. McKibben offers a solution of revival but many critics argue that this is not possible.
The most applicable solution offered by McKibben, and one that I wholly agree with is the idea of using the community to create our own local wealth (McKibben 120). The example he gives on how the community is capable of creating its own wealth is proof enough that the society has the required resources to improve the economy.
Two examples from his book that clearly stand out are the idea of the bus transportation model that he observes in Brazil and the concept of owning a currency that can only be exchanged locally.
These ideas are brilliant and applicable and one wonders why we have never thought of these before. It is true that people have forgotten to invest in their own communities and are fascinated by other successful business investments outside their territory.
The idea of communism has not been received without criticism. The idea has been criticized on the notion that it will be difficult to revert to communism (Rheannon 23).
This is because people have already adjusted to a new livelihood of individualism and independence. Most people will not be willing to let go of the idea of private ownership which will have to undergo a transformation to attain a sustainable balance with community ownership.
Though this arguments make sense, it can however be argued that it is possible to utilize the resources in the community to regain the lost glory. This is possible through special initiatives such as volunteer and welfare groups (Korten 67).
The community has the potential. That said and done, it is for us as community members to turn that potential into reality. Deep Economy got us thinking about the ‘after growth’ to a better economic future. The book is worth reading and recommending to everybody wishing to make a change in their lifestyle by involving the community.
Hoogstraten, Hans-Dirk. Deep Economy: Caring for Ecology, Humanity and Religion.
England: James Clarke & Co., 2001. Print.
Korten, David. Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. California: Berrett-Koebler Publishers, 2010. Print.
McKibben, Bill. Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. New York: Time Books, 2007. Print.
Rheannon, Francesca. Book Review: Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and
the Durable Future. Sustainability Investment News. 7 May 2007.
www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cg/2286.html. 3 August 2011. Print.