Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth
By Juliet B. Schor
Penguin Press; 258 pages
Even before the financial meltdown, there were signs that the way we do business needed a drastic reassessment. Climate change and other ecological crises have long demonstrated the dangers of ignoring environmental costs in traditional accounting. In Plenitude, sociologist and economist Juliet B. Schor argues we've been focused on the wrong kind of green, greedily brushing the natural world aside to the detriment of not just the planet but also our personal well-being. You don't have to be a tree hugger to appreciate the benefits of working fewer hours and increasing self-reliance. Schor seizes on the current climate to advocate for an alternative to business as usual, proposing a sustainable path that, despite traversing familiar terrain like energy conservation, is not about sacrifice. She insists that "we don't need to be less materialist ... but more so," provided we understand which materials--natural resources--are truly valuable. Reduce, reuse, recycle, but also slow down, strengthen relationships and get more out of life.