For Deep Economy book group: enter your reading homework for these three questions here (remember to enter useful comments on your topic page, as well).

3/1 3/8 3/15 3/22 4/5
Intro, Ch 1 (p. 45) Ch 2 (p. 94) and post responses for Ch 1&2 Ch 3 (p. 128) Ch 4 (p. 176) Ch 5 & Afterword (p. 232) and post responses for Ch3-5& Afterword
  1. Explain how one idea in the reading relates to other topics already covered in class or something you learned elsewhere (another class or life experience).
  2. List what you think are the three to five most important points made in the reading.
  3. Write a question to provoke discussion among others who read the same passage.

56 Responses to “Deep Economy

  1. sorenwagner Says:

    1) One of the principle issues discussed in chapter 2 is the consolidation of modern agriculture. A few of the most business-savvy farmers have slowly managed to monopolize the industry leaving the smaller farmers to either go broke, or work for them. This has been an ever-present theme in the last 50 years, not solely in agriculture, but in nearly every aspect of business. Darwinism extends long-beyond it’s need and the mino’s get eaten, since the sharks are able to serve the public with much MORE meat for less, while the BETTER products fall by the wayside.

    2) Important points.
    a. ‘Seventy percent of water used by human beings goes to irrigate crops’
    b. ‘The United States had 340 farmers’ markets in 1970, 1,700 in 1994, and almost doubled to 3,100 by 2002. Two years later, the number was 3,700.’
    c. Locally/seasonally grown food has blown up among college students (Yale/Berkley experiment)

    3) The overall trade-off of this proposition would be worthwhile without a doubt. However, regarding our immediate pocketbooks, would it be worth it to start farming in our own cities and suburbs, as much as we are able? Trade-off factors: Time, effort, money, satisfaction, quality, (community?)

    4) My research topic (eco villages) ties in heavily with local agriculture. Earthships, my main point of interest, are designed to catch water and use planter-cells inside and outside to act as a filter, thereby killing two birds with one stone. While we get quality water for free, plants, fruits and vegetables from any season (due to the controlled indoor environment) can be produced with little effort. The potential of this would be a truly evolutionary step regarding the environment and the economy. Why not harness the work of the God’s to support our lives? Harm done by this method is hardly feasible.

  2. devinpaine Says:

    1. The quote from Robert Frank, “It seems that what the psychologists call subjective well-being is a real phenomenon. The various empirical measure of it have high consistency, reliability, and validity” (34) corresponds to an idea in Freire’s pedagody of the oppressed: “One cannot conceive of objectivity without subjectivity…Neither objectivism nor subjectivism…is propounded here, but rather subjectivity and objectivity is constant dialectical relationship. To deny the importance of subjectivity in the process of transforming the world and history is naïve and simplistic. It is to admit the impossible: a world without people. This objectivistic position is as ingenuous as that of subjectivism, which postulates people without a world.” (50) This notion, in vauge form, occurred to me a while back, but I lost it in the philosophy class of a pompous rationalist. As it was reforged in these readings and reflections, it seems that to insist upon the seperation of the two is to commit and either/or fallacy. Everything is connected on many different levels.
    2. —“growth is no longer making us happy” (11)
    —two generations after A.Smith, the average American made about as much (adjusted) as today’s average African. This lack catalyzed the momentum that propelled us to where we are now. (42-43)
    —the idea that a “rational individual’s” choices (purchaces) are an indicator of a good economy is “suspect.” Many times consumers are anything but rational and the mindset of individual is (forshadowed) to be revealed as a threat to community which is required (in most cases) for happiness. (32)
    —extreem poverty does beget unhappiness (41)

    3. What do you think the benefit of quantizing the happiness of a nation would be? It seems like it would translate in to little more than “bragging rights.”

    Often it seems like people already do realize “money doesn’t buy happiness” but they still attempt to “buy in” to that social ethos; maybe through identification with people who seem to belive it. I think the problem might be more rooted in peoples fear of going against the mainsteam, yet this stream is going the opposite direction most want to go. Maybe one part of the solution is to stop perpetuating myths that reinforce the derilect idea, more=better – the media’s glorification of the extreemists of society. But this kinda seems too much like censorship.

    I appreciated your analogy of mental health; it seems that wide-spead cognitive dissonance is characterizing our country (and in turn the world). In answer to your question, I think that for us and no body else to be able to make the changes, would require tremondous will power and compassion. Last spring, at my old communtiy college I took a humanities class with the chair of the Sustainable Devolopment Committee that examined human’s relationship to the environment. For a group project at the beginning of the semester, it was decided that we would for one week implement as many changes in our own lives that we could towards sustainability. By the time we did this though, our group had become skeletal and the other two guys in it weren’t really into it from the start. I still went through with it but didn’t feel like I was participating in a group experiment so much as trying to prove something. At the end of the week we all went our ways, I realized that “being the change” wasn’t what I wanted for myself, but rather what I wanted for everybody. I think this is where McKibben is going. A radical paradigm shift for everybody. How do we get there? It would seem we all need to be the change, but we all need to be very at home with ourselves to be able to accomplish this. This paradox is one of the reasons I’m the class… not really sure yet.

    1. tarame22 Says:

      I think the benefit of quantitating (I had to look up how to spell it) the happiness of a nation is so that people studying various factors relating to a society or economy will have a unit of measure with which to assess what works in one society and not in another (for whatever goal the researcher is trying to analyze or prove {this is definitely a run-on sentence!}).

  3. sorenwagner Says:

    Deep Economy

    1) A relative idea.
    The point that I feel is most important and relative to other economic/environmental areas of interest is on page 27. McKibben describes how an article was published “…that for the first time tried to set an economic value on ‘ecosystem services,’ such as pollination and decomposition, that had always been counted as free. (Their estimate of the worth of these services was $33 trillion annually, far larger than the human economy taken all together.)’
    It has been made clear through endless articles, books, and documentaries that the effect of the economy on our environment is significantly damaging. Not only that, but our economy who so many hold so dear is now starting to fall apart at the hinges. It seems like our culture is one that tends to spin it’s wheels. Just as a paranoid-schizophrenic puts an enormous amount of energy into a defense-mechanism which in all reality is obselete, our society will put that same amount of energy, proportionally, into an oversized military budget, cars big enough for an extended family, and institutions based on commerce itself (casino’s, banks, stock trade), that exist only to support the premise of the artificial societal organizor, that is money.
    I believe that this current economic melt-down has been long overdue, for it is a direct result of our careless actions and focus on instant gratification through our own resources. This can also be a turning point to tapping into the much richer benefits that nature has to offer, so long as we do so respectfully and sustainably. Why pay for water when there is rain to catch for free? Why pay for people to farm food and transport it, when provided with a little care, food will grow itself in our backyard? Why destroy forests that take 20 years or more to grow, home to multiple species, when we can get 4 times as much in 1 year from an industrial hemp farm. As said before, from the view of our own monetary value system, nature has trillions of dollars to give us every year, provided we don’t grasp the wealth all at once by the roots. So lets dig in, relax, take our time, and center our value’s back to the natural order that has always been. We’ve been wandering astray for too long.

    2) Five most important points.
    a. Page 41: Money buys happiness up to about $10,000 in annual income.
    b. Page 27: The economic value of natural (ecosystem) services is about $33 Trillion a year, larger than the entire human economy.
    c. Page 1: Historically, More has been a parallel to Better, economically speaking. Nowadays, we have to choose between the two.
    d. Page 11: Growth is producing more inequality than prosperity, more insecurity than progress.
    e. Page 34: Gross domestic product per capita has tripled since 1950.

    3) Question:
    What will it take for us (not anybody else), to be willing to lead by example, in turning over our values to support a sustainable world? What are the most basic steps to take?

    4) The value of nature is easily tapped into by ecological housing; catching energy from the sun, water from the rain, and systemized to grow food and filter water simultaneously. Ecological housing capitalizes on natures most useful gifts, in the most benign way.

  4. tarame22 Says:

    One idea in the reading is the concept of what constitutes success in our society and economy. Economists will say that it is without a doubt, growth; when you have something good just make more of it and things will be even better. The book points out that “more” and “better” get lumped together even though the reasons that they originally got put together no longer exist in modern developed countries such as ours. Like what has happened to SUV sales and car manufacturers. People are finally doing the right thing and not buying over-sized vehicles and so the manufacturers have to close the plants that make them and ask the government for money because their product isn’t selling like it used to. They’re all upset because they’re not making tons of money and so something must be wrong! but really times have changed for the better and they need to change along with it. That means making a product that is of use to people in the current economy right now. Additionally, maybe they should have had to scale down to stay in business since people are consuming less.
    2.a)”More” and “better” are concepts of growth when we should really just be trying for better.
    b)In our society we wrongly think that having more material possessions will make us happy because during most of human history that was true to a degree.
    c)To what point is growth good? We idealize this concept of growth but don’t think about what will happen when we have grown so much that there are no more natural resources from which to grow.
    3. How can we get society to realize that “better” is not the same as “more”- that material things are not really the source of our happiness.

  5. ckfrank Says:

    I just realized that I made a typo in my post from last week. It should have been chapter 4 not chapter 5. It was the correct topic but, the wrong chapter number. This post is for chapter 5.

    The final chapter of Deep Economy was one of the best. It dealt in large part with emerging economies and examples of countries and individuals who are making a difference in the world. There was a great focus on China and India and their explosive albeit unsustainable growth. The author took us inside the “center” of the universe of stuff. Most of the stuff we have in our homes or in our possession is made in large part in China. China is doing a poor job of supporting it’s current population and is ravaging its natural resources. It certainly will not be able to support it’s own population as it continues to grow and consume not only natural resources but, basic human necessities such as water and food. The author of The Water Crisis in China, Ma Jun states that China is committing “ecological suicide”.

    McKibben delves into several diverse cultures and discusses their unique and individual contributions to changing the world. One of these diverse cultures was the Tibetans in Shimong. They created the Shimong Community Biosphere Reserve to protect the endangered species in their sacred area that had been hunted almost to extinction. This example shows how even an ancient, animistic culture who hasn’t changed it’s belief system or adopted Western ways can care for their environment and realize the peril that it is faced with. They didn’t need studies or models or consultants to tell them that the world around them was changing in a harmful, depleting way. They sensed the problem through common experience and came up with a communal solution.

    He also talks about ordinary yet extraordinary people like Daniel Taylor from West Virginia who started an NPO called Future Generations which is involved in doing projects in poor countries across the globe. McKibben’s point appears to be that anyone can incite concious change within their own lives. The hope is that through communities of people working together with attitudes that support active change and sustainable futures for all we may find a way to make a lasting and sizeable difference in our predicament. We need to take a look around at Europe and even smaller third world countries who have managed to make substantial changes and then implement them ourselves.

    As the U.S. role in the global theatre changes and transforms, we need to assume the role of “super model” vs. super-power. Many smaller countries have already adopted sustainable practices in every arena from energy to agriculture. I feel that there is a hopeful undercurrent in the U.S. of people who realize that we have passed the tipping point in regards to peak oil and natural resources. As a nation we need to band together to foster a sustainable, community based, free society that embraces change and practices which will promote our survival and the survival of our planet.

  6. jaharper Says:

    chapter 5:

    I’m going to have to disagree with Michael because I thought chapter five rounded out the book nicely. It took a look at many communities worldwide, and gave hope for me that our species will not have to go extinct over the next few hundred years. Of course the book only touches on global warming as a shadow looming in the darkness, but as global warming was not the focus of the book, and no one really knows what the degree of problems will be due to global warming, I liked that the book was dealing with problems that we can solve now, and will end up helping us against global warming in the future.

    Obviously a main point of the chapter was that huge developing nations like China and India can not develope into another U.S. The earth as we know it is already close to, if not already, saturated. It can barely sustain what is already happening, let alone far higher levels of growth. The richer nations, and especially the United States, must act as the forerunners to showing the world an ideal that will provide both the well-being of the human race, as well as the well-being of our planet. We must move away from our hyper-individualist, energy hungry culture into an era that draws from strengths that preserved the human race over thousands of years. We have created this addiction to growth, and now is as good a time as any to go cold turkey.

    We are so wasteful of our resources, that with the right adjustments we will have the time to move into a sustainable world. Instead of huge discrepencies in wealth, we need to find a way to more fairly distribute what we have among all people. By localizing economies, the need within each economy for each skill set will allow communities to form where people can work together to save themselves and the planet. By also localizing energy, we can relieve our reliance on fossil fuels, cut waste on the transfer of goods and energy, and gain insurance against a falling oil supply.

    The sooner we act the more leeway we give ourselves, as well as the rest of the world to cope with the certain and foreboding future. We can not sit back and let precious energy stores deplete until they force us into action because any errors may then become fatal. If government action is what it takes to stop Americans from driving like there is a wildfire behind them, then regulation is what we need. But with this regulation must come opportunity for mass transit. We need to focus on leaving no carbon footprint, and immediate money pooled for innovation within renewable energy sources.

    For most Americans, this may seem like too big of a step to take. Let’s break it down into steps that we can fathom. We need to emulate european nations, and if we do so we will not only cut on energy consumption, but may become happier as a people as well. There is something misguided about ‘the American Dream’ as we know it, and the American people must become aware of this. It has deteriorated into merely being able to buy lots of stuff, where it’s root has nothing to do with that. The American Dream as I see it means equality and opportunity without prejudice for all. It doesn’t mean a summer house in Cancun, a mansion in California and the newest fastest car. It means providing a life of freedom for our children, but with respect to all things.

    Freedom should be free.

  7. jaharper Says:

    Chapter 4:

    The first part of this chapter that really struck a chord with me was that it gave a solution to the ravenous consumption of energy by Americans. This is a problem that has plagued me throughout the class, and I could never find a solution that didn’t seem to cripple our economy and society. The author does say that realistically our demand is only supplyable because of the high energy output of oil. However everything is a process. By merely using the best technology we already have available we can severely cut our energy usage. Also, it is not realistic to keep everything so global when resources, that satisfy relatively the same need, are at our fingertips. Simple changes like CFL bulbs can cut energy costs to a quarter of a candescent bulb, and last ten times as long. “No magic is required,”…”just methodical application of modern techniques.” Not only will the localization of energy production waste much less energy, but it gives us back a sense of security and control that, right now, we lack as we bite our nails over changing costs per barrel of oil. The author gives me hope as he describes an America where all south-facing roofs are sporting solar panels. Where building codes require all new buildings to come with solar roof tiles and solar shutters for the windows. Where windmills are scattered around town, and everything is fed into a local grid. I love that I can imagine this coming into being, because it gives me faith and hope that it actually will become reality. And it doesn’t even seem that far off, excepting and accepting a few startup costs. The advances of solar and wind technologies over the last decade lead me to believe that they will only continue to grow and evolve faster as the need rises, allowing for greater ability to use sustainable energy sources. Countries like Japan and Germany leading the way will soon have the U.S. following, because they have shown that government subsidies are needed only over a short term, and eventually can be eliminated by the growth in capacity of this renewable energy.
    Another great point about localization of energy is people take far more responsibility for conserving the health of their part of the planet than when a businessman, halfway around the world, is looking at it as merely a number on his balance sheet. When all the costs and benefits are local, people want to know what the repercusions will be, which leads them to far more creative solutions to their problems.

    Sometimes it appears that you have to force your people’s hand, so that in the long run they can benefit. The author talks about some months he spent in the Brazilian city of Curitiba. Althought the city is not particularly wealthy or advanced, the mayor (Jaime Lerner) built the world’s best bus system. Basically he made them easier to get off and on, they had their own dedicated lanes, and gave them the rightaway over cars. Lights would sense them approaching, and so they would always hit green lights, while cars were simply out of luck (if they were going perpendicular to the bus.) This allowed passengers to get on and off quickly, the buses to zoom through traffic, and soon next to everyone was taking them. It was the equivalent of a subway at only a tenth of the cost. It also lowered the energy consumption by a quarter per capita compared to other urban Brazilians. This is with an unlying idea that the public is more important than the private. And if you question the approval of the people, Lerner ended his term in office with an approval rating above 90 percent. A similar system was built in Yunnan, where car traffic fell by 20 percent, and bus occupancy jumped 500 percent during rush hour. For me, although it may be biased by me not driving, this sounds amazing and I wish it would be implemented all over the U.S. Not only is it great for the environment, but the community of people who then use the bus reaches beyond just those who can not afford to do otherwise. It creates a positive feedback loop that promotes community on the bus, and would likely make it into a far more enjoyable ride. The author mentions that in Boulder, Colorado, you can hand the bus driver a CD and they will put it on for the ride. (I grew up in Boulder, and I can’t recall this necessarily being true, although I wouldn’t doubt it.) I know, however, that Boulder has one of the best transit systems in the U.S., and I remember alot more friendliness and sense of community on those buses. I think once your class isn’t defined by whether you ride the bus or not, it allows people to be far more open and friendly with strangers because they are not feeling judged by the fact that they have to take the bus.

    I really liked this chapter because I feel like the author gave me more hope about what the world is, and more importantly, how far a few small steps could take it towards what it should be. At one point in the chapter the author states, “It’s a different way of looking at the same reality,” and I feel like that encompasses both this chapter, and world for me. It’s the same reality, but if we all looked at it a little differently than we can see how close to a paradise the world already is.

  8. jaharper Says:

    Catching up on chapter three…

    How much of the housing crisis stems from this American ideal of hyper-individualism? What is the benefit to owning a house where you are then in debt for the next forty or fifty years? Why is it so frowned at to still live with your family, when economically it is the far more rational choice. Our country has become so individualistic that we don’t even have community within our families. Our grandparents now have two choices, no home or the old-folks home. Now, with the housing bubble burst, I find the concepts of community and communal living as more and more of a necesity for future.

    The book made an interesting comment on the way builders are currently designing houses. The ultimate family house has become a house where a family can live together without really having to ever interact. Basically top architects are walling off every space available for internet rooms, or playrooms, or any other type of room that in the end turns the house into a big maze, with hardly a place where the family would ever gather together. These new houses are “good for the dysfunctional family,” but shouldn’t that ring a bell that there is something wrong with our country? If the norm for American families is to be dysfunctional to the point of near isolation, how are these people going to interact with the world once they grow up and are integrated into humanity as a whole? Because the world isn’t big enough for a dysfunctional race to coexist. I’m looking at the world going under right now, and it’s starting to look like a disfunctional race doing everything it can to not have to deal with each other. Food needing to be moved 1500 miles before it reaches my lips, and individually packaged where the packaging and transport often cost more than the product i’m buying, while i’m surrounded by land where food could easily be grown. For a system based on efficiency, it seems pretty inefficient to me.
    All of these ‘efficiencies’ which are inefficient goes along with the book saying our wealth and happiness are not all that positively correlated. We strive so hard to make as much money as we possibly can, that we forget what we wanted that wealth for in the first place. Or maybe part of the problem is our goal is wealth, but we don’t have a goal after wealth. What’s the point of spending all your time getting money when you don’t know what to spend it on? If your goal is happiness, then wealth can only help you achieve that goal if what makes you happy can be bought.

    I found this chapter also interesting because it delved into christianity within our society, and I grew up in a Christian family although I do not share their beliefs. I quote, ” 75 percent of American Christians think the saying ‘God helps those who help themselves’ can be found in the Bible.” This actually being a statement from Ben Franklin which is fairly opposite to Christ’s message of Love thy neighbor. I find it interesting seeing how Christianity has been bent to accomodate and propel our market economy. Church is supposed to be a community building activity between people’s with shared beliefs, but when I was younger my mom would just give me a gameboy to play with during sermon. I didn’t learn anything, and she was a ‘good christian’ for bringing her family to church. The funny part is I have a siezure in church, now all the sudden my family is brought more fully into the church community, (people know who we are and are even praying for me,) and my mom finally allows me to stop coming to church. And why? because she did not want to be part of a community, and I put a target on her hyper-individualist back that brought attention from the community to us. It worked out for me because I didn’t want to be there anyway, but maybe it would have been better for my mom to have a more integrated community during that hard time. The book says that we choose these individualistic lives, but that we would be far better off and happier with a more community driven life, and at least in that situation, I can see how the community could have really helped her.

    Maybe in the end a community is like insurance. It can be a pain to deal with sometimes, but in the long run your going to have some hard times, and it’s relaxing to know you have a shoulder to lean on if you need it.

    I would also like to note that the books answer to hyper-individualism wasnt the Soviet’s anti-individualism. I think, and the book goes into this somewhat, that everything is bad in excess. You need a good center between extremes, balancing individualism with the community, and gaining the benefits from both. With localized economies there is better use of resources, less harm to the environment, and with enough sustainable communities our race will be better equiped to weather the upcoming problems that we will inevitably have to face.

  9. michaelgrippi Says:

    I am sad to say it, but the final chapter of Deep Economy was by far the most enjoyable. The first 3 chapters were absolutely fantastic, and the 4th was half way decent, but I could have done completely without #5 overall. Having just finished the book, it felt like the last 75 pages I read were nothing but one statistic after another. It is not to say that the statistics given were not important – they were and are – but it is not how I expected the book to close out. I was looking for sollutions and ideas, positivity and encouragement.

    Chapter five mainly focussed on China and other developing nations, with China being the premier example being that it has the fastest rate of growth currently in the world, at 10% GDP (India follows with 7% GDP). Between those two countries, 1/3 of the global population is represented, so hypothetically the standard of living for 33% of the people in the world is growing on average 8.5% a year. In chapter 5 we got to listen to Bill talk about one devastating environmental effect after another of what this current growth is doing to our ecosystem, and what the future holds in store should this growth continue. To sum up the 70+ pages of statistics, either America needs to change it’s ways and show it to the world through our greatest export, media, or the rest of the world is going to continue fighting to do all they can to catch up to our current lifestyle, at a possibly fatal cost to our planet.

    Great book – But I’d recomend anyone reading it to pretend the author ended it at the end of Chapter 4.

    – Michael Grippi

  10. michaelgrippi Says:

    Chapter 4 of Deep Economy was very enjoyable – while Bill McKinnen hasn’t held back solutions throughout the book as I have heard many of the other authors in our class waited to do, he goes even deeper in this chapter into energy sollutions that communities in existence now can employ.

    The chapter starts giving detailed information about the history of public radio, and how it has been privatized by huge corporations over the years. My only reason for thinking he went in depth about this is to give note to a radio station that remained public even with multiple profitable buyout offers recieved, and also how some ‘raido pirates’ have succeeded in bringing some stations back into the publics hands. He then goes on to mention how one small town was able to fight WalMart by building a cooperative store, similar in product lines to that of a WalMart where a large percentage of the community had equity interest in the company. Both were pretty cool examples.

    The exciting part of the chapter to me was Bill going into specific communities that he has either researched or spent time in, and the things they have done to make themselves more sustainable and more communal (it seems these two topics go hand in hand).

    He talks about the bus system in Curitibia which we had a preview of in week two I believe and the way their public transportation system was designed. Pure Genius are the two words that come to mind from this reader. In Curitibia buses actually have priority over cars, with dedicated lanes and traffic lights designed to turn green for them so they do not have to stop. Door that act like that of a subway or railway, and at 10% the cost.

    Next he talked about an ecovillage in New York, demonstrating the emotional power benefits of living close with others, as well as the reduction in enronmental impact… I look forward to building similar communities for years to come.

    – Michael

  11. ckfrank Says:

    This week we read chapter five. It pertained to the “wealth of communities”. The chapter outlined the benefits of living in communities that are large enough to support local economies, host schools and neighborhoods, yet small enough to allow all of these places to be reached within walking distance. It espoused the benefits of good mass transit systems as well as common meeting and mercantile areas. Green building and energy options would be mandatory in these types of communities.

    Another idea that the author puts forth is the idea of communities owning and operating their own energy plants instead of allowing traditional energy giants to own them. McKibben believes that when you give communities the power to decide on major issues such as power the residents feel like they are in control. Good things come from communities that feel empowered. Morale is bolstered, people take active roles in the operation and maintenance of the community and new ideas and enterprises take flight.

    I also liked the way that McKibben looked at new ways to solve old problems. He used a great example when he talked about local Vermont farmers who were facing stubborn economic times in the dairy business. The farmers planted stands of fast growing willow trees which while growing, were removing nitrogen from the soil in areas where over fertilization of the soil had occurred. When they reached maturity the farmers harvested the willows and sold them to Middlebury College who had always relied heavily on traditional oil dependent heating and cooling systems. The trees provided fuel for the university’s boilers and the revenue generated from the sale of the trees helped the farmers recover from some of their monetary difficulties.

    All in all, the author presented some very sound principles and arguments in favor of building and recreating smaller, sustainable communities that favor local business and economies. He did admit that this type of change would happen slowly and on a small scale, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day. With planning and the support and enthusiasm of like minded community members places like these don’t have to exist only in the pages of books or in the minds of a few idealists. They can become a reality.

  12. michaelgrippi Says:

    What an interesting day to be writing a blog on a economic heavy weighted book – our stock market had the largest single day losses that we have had in over 60 years. The Nasdaq closed down almost 10% – and in total over 1 Trillion $ was lost in 9 hours. As an ex-trader this has been long expected, and the next few years are going to be very rough for westerners indeed.

    This weeks chapter of deep economy was one of the slower ones, and had a lot less statistical information than the previous ones – it was also shorter. The main point that Bill hammered in over and over is that individualism has been one of the largest causes of problems in the last 30 years. America still has the largest GDP in the world, but post 1970 American’s are no longer sharing that wealth. Starting in the 70’s, the top % of wealthy people in this country started absorbing huge percentages of the total wealth, so while our overall GDP is high actual wealth of the masses in this country is low. Bill goes really deep into individualism, and how it has caused both unhappiness but also poverty. He states that individualism is the single biggest drive of consumption, and that advertising companies have tapped in (many years ahead of psychologists and sociologists) that the best way to sell products is to make people feel that by purchasing it they will feel a temporary sense of communitiy (i.e the Pepsi Generation). The entire gist of this chapter is that our only hope and success of society succeeding in the future is a slow push back to a communal era, where we focus more on eachother and less on our individual selves. Bill uses the peaceful sharing life of Amish communities as an example of success.

    – Michael Grippi

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