Friday, March 2, 2007

"Deep Economy"

Bill McKibben is the author of ten books, including The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information, and Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes regularly for Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Review of Books, among other publications.

His new book is Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, to which he applied the "page 69 test" and then reported the following:
Sometimes I write hedgehog books that take a single idea and burrow in deep, and sometimes fox books that roam widely. Deep Economy is one of the latter, and page 69 is, therefore, perfectly representative. By that page the book has already tackled the question of whether economic growth is still a good idea (not really -- the new research shows it isn't making us any happier, and then there's that pesky global warming thing). By p. 69 I'm already looking at some other possibilities -- including, in this case, a world agricultural system less focused on the centralized production of commodity crops and more focused on localized farming. One of the questions that immediately arises is: wouldn't everyone starve? Which is why the data from the last decade compiled by the English agronomist Jules Pretty seems so astonishing to me. It shows pretty conclusively that you can get yields at least as high from low-input farming on small fields as from vast agribusiness enterprises. If what you're worried about is more food, bigger isn't necessarily better. And if what you're worried about is a planet, and a community, that might endure into the future, smaller almost certainly comes out on top. I love subversive facts!
Read the publisher's description of Deep Economy and a brief excerpt.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.