Plenitude, by Juliet Schor

Posted December 30, 2010 in Book List, Opening and Closing Readings. Tagged: , ,

From Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth (Penguin, 2010) by Juliet Schor.

“There is a way forward, and I call it plenitude.  The word calls attention to the inherent bounty of nature that we need to recover.  It directs us to the chance to be rich in the things that matter to us most, and the wealth that is available in our relations with one another.  Plentitude involves very different ways of living than those encouraged by the maxims that have dominated the discourse for the last twenty-five years.  It puts ecological and social functioning at its core but is not a paradigm of sacrifice.  To the contrary, it involves a way of life that will yield more well-being than sticking to business as usual, which has led both the natural and economic environments into decline…

“Plentitude is also about transition.  Change doesn’t happen overnight.  Creating a sustainable economy will take decades, and this is a strategy for prospering during that shift.  The beauty of the approach is that it is available right now.  It does not require waiting for the clean-tech paradigm to triumph.  It doesn’t require getting government on board immediately.  Anyone can get started, and many are.  It was the right way to go before the economic collapse, in part because it predicted a worsening landscape.  It makes even more sense in a period of slow growth or stagnation.  As individuals take up the principles of plentitude, they are not merely adopting a private response to what is perforce a collective problem.  Rather they are pioneers of the micro (individual-level) activity that is necessary to create the macro (system-wide) equilibrium, to correct an economy that is badly out of balance.”