Cancel The Apocalypse by Andrew Simms
March 18, 2015 Leave a comment
More economic growth! It will solve everything! Or will it? In this book of relentless and exceptionally thorough analysis, Andrew Simms of the new economics foundation (nef) carefully exposes the many weaknesses of an economic system committed to growth at all costs. Perhaps more importantly, he is equally masterful at presenting the many practical alternatives that could help us (and maybe will have to help us) out of the mess we are in.
Certain basics are questioned in the opening chapters. The measurement of GDP only shows the quantity of economic growth, it says nothing about the quality. Is it really okay that banks literally create 97 per cent of the money in existence, simply by loaning it out? What is going on in advanced economies that leads to so much unhappiness for so many? Simms continually questions the whole value system, using countless quotes and examples from everyday life, history, science, politics around the world and just about everything else. Chapter 9 is particularly powerful as he rips into the advertising industry.
One of the recurring major themes is the need to re-connect with our environment, with each other and with ourselves. “I believe that the way ahead – and I am fully aware that this involves inviting the scorn of that same culture – is to fall back in love with the world, and each other”. Andrew Simms presents us with suggestions for the way forward, many of which have already been tried and tested in different cultures at different times. Revitalizing local economies through co-operatives, shortening the working week, a move away from the doctrine of neoliberalism as taught in universities. “An obvious forward step is to shift the balance of corporate ownership and governance away from the domination of the shareholder model.” Towards the end of the book there are some very interesting observations and comments about China’s economic development. There is a clear, human and refreshingly sane voice, throughout this intense book. Nice one Andrew.