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Omfatter også følgende navne: Paul Hawken, Paul Hawken (Author)

Værker af Paul Hawken

Associated Works

Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (1973) — Introduktion — 2,812 eksemplarer
American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (2008) — Bidragyder — 416 eksemplarer

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Fødselsdato
1946-02-08
Køn
male
Nationalitet
USA

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I abandoned this book after a few chapters due to the fact that it didn't make much sense. Initially it promises to describe how, without any effort, the whole economy can - and in fact will - change to become sustainable. In fact, a sustainable economy is actually more efficient and more profitable than the one we have now, it promises.

Already there is a significant problem with this promise. If it's more profitable, and we can put our faith in the market, why isn't it already happening? This is especially pertinent given that this book was written over ten years ago and none of the predictions I read have come to pass.

The book says that it will explain how the market will provide all of these solutions but the two chapters that follow don't explain it at all. Instead they abandon economics altogether in favour of propagating half-truths about engineering and science that seem to contradict the thesis of the book.

At that point I gave up.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
robfwalter | 9 andre anmeldelser | Jul 31, 2023 |
I do want to read more recent books by Hawken.
Not sure whether I was put off by the latent eco-colonialism (that was common at the time this book was written and for near a decade after) or because it was challenging me and my views so much I just couldn't emotionally deal at the time.
 
Markeret
zizabeph | 11 andre anmeldelser | May 7, 2023 |
This book is about... well, I am not completely sure what. Nominally, it is about "the movement" which is the joint effect of the various diverse and dispersed environmental and social justice groups throughout the world. However, the book tends to ramble all over, so it is hard to get a point from the book beyond these groups exist, they encompass lots of people, and they are a source of hope, even as things seem grim.

So the book gets only an "okay" from me for being rambly, but it does have lots of inspiring quotes. "The movement", as Hawken calls it, is very diverse, and throughout the book Hawken discusses why this is a healthy tendency. Many of the inspiring quotes have to do with the nature and importance of diverse, dispersed decision making. I have included my favorites below.

Bottom of page 16:
Ecologists and biologists know that systems achieve stability and healthy through diversity, non uniformity. Ideologues take the opposite view.
I like this quote because it brings to the fore that not only does everyone have a right to their own opinion; everyone having diverse opinions may very well make for a healthier system. By drawing the parallel to ecological systems, it makes one think about how uniform belief systems are more susceptible to sudden massive failures.

Page 21-22:
he was one of the first to recognize the dispersed nature of knowledge and the effectiveness of localization and of combining individual understanding. Since one person's knowledge can only represent a fragment of the totality of what is known, wisdom can be achieved when people combine what they have learned. ... viable social institutions had to evolve ... to confront the problems at hand rather than reflect theories at mind. ... a remedy for the basic expression of the totalitarian impulse: ensuring that information and the right to make decisions are co-located. To achieve this, one can either move the information to the decision makers, or move decision making rights to the information.
This quote emphasizes how top down decision making has a fatal flaw: there is no way that the centralized decision maker can have all of the relevant information. Furthermore, the centralized decision maker, because they are often far from the scene the decision applies to, may be applying rigid, incorrect theories in their decision making. Better decisions can be made if the power to make decisions is given to those who have the information to make decisions. Having many informed groups make smaller, more localized decisions is likely to produce more relevant results.

Page 131:
You can try to determine the future, or you can try to create conditions for a healthy future. To do the former, you must presume to know what the future should be. To do the latter, you learn to have faith in social outcomes in which citizens feel secure, valued, and honored.
Openness, freedom, and democracy require great trust and great humility. They require the ability the admit that a dispersed and uncontrolled set of people may be right and the decision you would make may be wrong. You also have to learn to trust that this decentralized process will come to decisions that are appropriate.

Page 132:
Just as democracies require an informed and active citizenry to prevent abuse, markets require constant tending to prevent them from being diverted or exploited. A free market, so lovely in theory, is no more feasible in practice than a society without laws. Democracies can sustain freedom because their citizens and representatives continually adjust, maintain, and as necessary enforce standards, rules, and laws. Markets are unequaled in providing feedback, fostering innovation, and allocating resources. Market competition is ultimately a matter of financial capital: those activities that most efficiently accrete and concentrate money gain market advantage; those that don't are marginalized. But there is no comparable competition to improve social or natural capital, because markets for such commodities simply don't exist. The only way those issues are dealt with is through legislation, regulation, citizen activity, and consumer pressure. Removing the laws and regulations that create market constraints leaves the body politic with very few means to promote economic democracy.
This quote is a good summary of why I do not believe the market alone is enough to make a good world. The market is good at what it does. It efficiently moves around money. Certainly, it might be even more efficient at doing so if it were unregulated. However, the market does not efficiently deal with everything. In particular, what Hawkens calls social and natural capital. This is not to say the market ignores such things, but sometimes it needs a push to be reminded that money is not the most important thing there is. What I like about this quote is that Hawkens acknowledges that the checks on the market can and should come from a variety of forces.

Page 154-155:
"If you have children, I don't see how you can fail to do everything in your power to ensure that you win your bet, and that they, and their grandchildren, and their grandchildren's grandchildren, will inherit a world whose perfection can never be accomplished by creatures whose imagination for perfecting it is limitless and free"
Hawkens quotes this from an article by Michael Chabon called "The Omega Glory". I like this quote because the attitude is not that we ought to save the planet for future generations, but that our connection to future generations makes leaving a livable planet for them a desirable end.

Page 162 near the top:
Ideologies exclude openness, diversity, resiliency, and multiplicity, the very qualities that nourish life in any system, be it ecosystem, immune system, or social system. ... Ideas are living things; they can be changed and adapted, and can grow. Ideas do not belong to anyone, and require no approval.
More about the importance of letting ideas reflect reality rather than only accepting reality in so far as it conforms to your ideas.

Page 171-172:
By definition, evolution produces creatures and systems that have the greatest ability to persist over time, and resilience allows an organism to withstand the greatest range of disturbances. This is as true for social systems as it is for environmental ones, for governments and corporations as it is for fisheries and reefs. The more resilient a system, the more shocks and impacts it can withstand and still recover. Conversely, as systems lose diversity and thus functional redundancy, they become vulnerable to disruption or collapse.
This quote promotes diversity in organizations as well as in ideas. Having a variety of organizations makes the overall system stronger in the face of crises (the recycling business is great when the environment gets weak). Hawken sees diversity as one of the strengths of "the movement". People in the various organizations that make up this movement disagree on means so they are always trying different things, making someone more likely to find something that works.

Page 179:
The opposite of learning is a runaway system where mistakes are relegated to file cabinets and ignored. When a government, corporation, financial institution, or religious organization insulates itself, its initiatives, however well intended, create uncontrolled outcomes and second-order effects that generate newer problems.

If mistakes are hidden, they cannot be learned from. Ideas that seem good may have unexpected negative side effects. That is okay. No one could have anticipated them, and they should be treated as a learning experience. Note that laws that are useless and just make things worse just so as not to be seen as soft on crime is not the way to learn from mistakes.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
eri_kars | 11 andre anmeldelser | Jul 10, 2022 |

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