Deep Economy

Bill McKibben

Deep Economy



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The aim of Deep Economy is to make people more aware of the economic and social environment we all live in. The lifestyle that most of us in the western world are used to involves a continuous quest for more, which has led to a series of problems that it is time we address. Only by fully recognising our current situation can we begin to look to the future, and imagine a world in which a sense of community and sharing finally become a priority. 

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Analysis and key concepts


The two myths that our society is based on, efficiency and growth, have shown their weakness over time


The incessant race to become wealthy has led to levels of environmental damage that have been underestimated for far too long


Contrary to popular belief, economic growth is not strictly linked to people’s happiness index


This is an era in which individualism reigns, but what is really good for our health is a sense of community


To reverse these economic and well-being trends, we need to shift from distant to local consumption. Starting with food


The wealth of a single individual should not benefit only him, but his whole community


The collective initiatives that take place at local level are a valid alternative to the system most of us grew up with


Gross domestic product often does not reflect a country’s real condition, especially when it comes to developing countries


Developing countries can find their own way, being careful to avoid the western model


To hope for a rosier future, we cannot keep going over old ground. We need to learn to think outside the box




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Better understand the advantages of less global and more local economics.
  • Fully appreciate the consequences that economic growth has had on the Planet and on people’s lives.
  • Reflect on the importance of community and on the damage caused by individualistic behaviour.

Bill McKibben is an American activist, writer and environmentalist. As the founder of the organisation, he was one of the first people to bring the risks of climate change and global warming to the fore. In 2009, he led an environmental protest that saw over 5,200 people demonstrate peacefully in over 181 countries around the world, and this was the first of many. The many demonstrations he has organised, and the work he has done with, plus the books he has published, including several bestsellers (The End of Nature, Earth; Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?) – earned him the Gandhi Peace Award and the Right Livelihood Award.

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