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Myth of Progress Toward a Sustainable Future

ISBN-10: 1584654953
ISBN-13: 9781584654957
Edition: 2006
Authors: Tom Wessels
List price: $20.95
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Description: In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that  More...

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Book details

List price: $20.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 9/29/2006
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 180
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy. Wessels explains his theory with his three Laws of Sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in material and energy usage. Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the Laws of Sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in the Myth of Progress's disregard for the Laws of Sustainability, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.

Prologue
The Myth of Control: Complex versus Linear Systems
The Myth of Growth: Limits and Sustainability
The Myth of Energy: The Second Law of Thermodynamics
The Myth of the Free Market: The Loss of Diversity and Democracy
The Myth of Progress: A Need for Cultural Change
Epilogue: From Consumption to Connection
Glossary of Scientific Terms
Index

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