Joel Magnuson's visionary insights into the decline of the Oil Age and life afterward combine sobering warnings with genuine hope.
The facts are hard: global oil deposits will soon peak if they haven't already and the violent race to secure what's left has already begun. Meanwhile, our culture of consumption continues its heedless dependence on this and other scarce and fast-disappearing resources including other fossil fuels, water, topsoil, and basic metals. The consequences won't just be expensive gasoline. The very nature of life as we've come to know it will change and Magnuson explains how compounding factors like global warming, skyrocketing debt, and ill-prepared governments stand to turn this inevitable change into a needless catastrophe.
But the hope is real: individuals and communities around the world have already begun taking action to shift away from consumer culture. Drawing on the visionary work of E.F. Schumacher, John Ruskin, and other pioneering thinkers, Magnuson argues that mindful and concerted action can shape the future. With an emphasis on current transitional projects like B Corporations and LETS projects, he shows that the true great transformation is already underway and it's up to us to continue it.
With a foreword by Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
"The Approaching Great Transformation is a breath of fresh air in a world of hackneyed nonsolutions to our social and economic problems. Professor Magnuson pulls no punches regarding the coming collapse of the corporate-commercial-consumer society, or the inability of technological fixes and 'green capitalism' to bail us out of the historical crunch that is virtually upon us. Rather, as we start to run out of energy (read: oil) and are forced to abandon obsolete notions of 'growth' and 'progress', we shall have to confront the question we have collectively been avoiding for roughly 500 years: If money is not the purpose of life, what is? Whether the alternative models discussed in this book prove to be viable or not, the author makes it clear that what we are living with now is no choice at all. His message is simple: change or die." Morris Berman, author of Why America Failed
“A challenging and engaging exploration of what it will take to make the transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Magnuson exposes the false promises of green-wash capitalism—and in the tradition of E.F. Schumacher puts the hopeful shoots of real alternatives squarely on the map for ongoing development.” Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and author of America Beyond Capitalism
Joel Magnuson, Ph.D. is an independent economist based in Portland, Oregon. He serves as an international advisor to Anglia Ruskin University's journal Interconnections in Cambridge, UK, and is on the faculty at the East West Sanctuary in Nagykovácsi, Hungary. He is the author of Mindful Economics: How the US Economy Works, Why It Matters, and How It Could Be Different (Seven Stories Press, 2008), as well numerous articles in journals and anthologies in the US, Europe, and Japan.
Introduction: Another Sea Change in From Transition to Transformation;
Economies in Transition—A Systems View;
This Road Paved With Good Intentions;
E.F. Schumacher and the Meta-Economists;
The New Monastics;
Education and Our Great Transformation.