Review: Valuing the Earth–Economics, Ecology, Ethics

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Economics, Environment (Solutions)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure Chest–The Originals Plus the Current Masters,

January 1, 2004
Herman E. Daly
Edit of 21 Dec 07 to add links to more recent books that build on this.

This is one of three books that I bought for review with the intent of selecting one for broad pro-bono distribution. Although I chose “For the Common Good” and I recommend “Ecological Economics” as the one book to buy if you buy only one (see my reviews of those books at their own pages), this book is a treasure chest of original and current thinking that should certainly be in your hands if you can afford all three books. As another reviewer has noted, it finally re-publishes some of the hard to get original thinkers from the steady-state economics era of the 1970’s. However, it does so with an ample leavening of 1990’s authorship, and hence could reasonably be regarded as a first-class “readings” complement to the text book (“Ecological Economics”).

There is a chart on page 20 of this book that is quite extraordinary. Titled “The ends-means spectrum”, it brilliantly runs down from the top: Religion and Ethics as guidelines to ultimate and intermediate ends of humanity; to the middle Political Economy as a means of managing the factors of production to specific political ends; to the bottom: Technics and Physics as the “ultimate” foundation or “ground truth” of flow-entropy-matter-energy that must constrain political and religious ends.

This book, in which Kenneth N. Townsend is the second contributing editor-author, blends practical, political, economic, and theological writings, over several decades, in a most pleasing manner. E. F. Schumacher’s “Buddhist Economics” jumped out at me, reminding me that our predominantly Protestant corporate capitalist ethos is very far removed from the realities that guide and repress billions around the Earth, all of whom have fewer options than we do. With that thought in mind, I strongly recommend William Greider’s “The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy” as a very current complement to any of the books that Dr. Daly has helped bring into the marketplace of ideas.

See also, with reviews:
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: How the Financial System Underminded Social Ideals, Damaged Trust in the Markets, Robbed Investors of Trillions – and What to Do About It
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

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