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pdotb@wyrms.de

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The Dawn of Everything (Hardcover, 2021, Signal) 4 stars

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike--either free and equal …

Didn't really work for me, I'm afraid...

4 stars

It feels odd giving anything but an enthusiastic review to a book co-authored by the late, great David Graeber, but I'm afraid this one didn't really work for me. In my (and perhaps the book's?) partial defence, the circumstances weren't ideal. I read it as an ebook (so hard to flip back to check on facts) and, what's more, as a library ebook (so with limited time to finish it). I also haven't really been firing on all cylinders over the break, so maybe that's part of the problem? Anyway, if you take all those mitigating factors away, what I think we're left with is a book that somewhat uncomfortably straddles an attempt to provide a comprehensive, but alternative, 'big history', with an attempt to advance a counter to the default assumption of a teleology of societal evolution, that holds that agriculture is inevitable (and so hunter-gatherers are really just …

Post Growth (Hardcover, 2021, Polity Press) 4 stars

"The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability – …

Beautiful, but...

4 stars

If I hadn't just read Jason Hickel's "Less is More", I'd have probably felt more enthusiastic about this book. It feels like they're covering fairly similar ground, but while Hickel's book is dense with ideas, Jackson's book contains some fantastic insights (a couple of which I quoted as I was reading the book), but adrift in a sea of biographical detail. Some of that is interesting (I didn't know anything about Robert F. Kennedy's economic programme, for example), but other parts felt pretty extraneous. Commentary on Lynn Margulis's marriage to Carl Sagan, for example, or Boltzmann's life story, including the sad circumstances of his death. There was also a long diversion on the stone bridge at Potter Heigham, Norfolk, which I think had a lesson in it, but I lost the point somewhere along the way. It's a more poetic book (quite literally, as the author is an Emily Dickinson …

Post Growth (Hardcover, 2021, Polity Press) 4 stars

"The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability – …

Discontentment is the motivation for our restless desire to spend. Consumer products must promise paradise. But they must systematically fail to deliver it. They must fail us, not occasionally, as psychologists have observed, but repeatedly. The success of consumer society lies not in meeting our needs but in its spectacular ability consistently to disappoint us.

Post Growth by  (Page 91)

Post Growth (Hardcover, 2021, Polity Press) 4 stars

"The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability – …

It's only possible to squeeze GDP growth out of an economy with stationary or declining labour productivity by increasing the hours spent working there. Either more people must work or else each of them must work longer hours. Neither of these things is consistent with the promise that capitalism held out to us. Once labour productivity goes into reverse, in fact, we are already to all intents and purposes living in a postgrowth world. Figuring out how to survive -- let alone flourish -- under these circumstances is no longer trivial.

Post Growth by  (Page 19)

reviewed Defekt

Defekt (Paperback, 2021, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 2 stars

Derek is LitenVärld's most loyal employee. He lives and breathes the job, from the moment …

Not quite sure what to make of this

2 stars

I realise this is going to be a really strange review, but bear with me... If you'd asked me at any point before the end of this novella, I'd have said that I was loving it, and it was probably worth five stars. It's funny and makes nice digs at corporate culture and, perhaps most importantly, has a very relatable main character. In fact, I'd say I identified with Derek even more strongly than I did with Murderbot while reading All Systems Red. Then I got to the acknowledgements and found the author wrote "Every job has at least one fucking Derek -- an otherwise inoffensive coworker that still somehow manages to earn your ire at every turn,..." and, to be honest, it felt like quite the slap in the face. So, if you're not the kind of reader who identifies with characters, go wild -- it's an enjoyable short …

History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (Paperback, 2018, University of California Press) 4 stars

Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have …

Historical background to "Less is More"

4 stars

I'm pretty sure I requested this from the library because it was referred to in "Less is More", and I think it works well to provide a more detailed historical background to that book, with the degrowth economics/politics stripped out. Suffers a little bit from the framing as capitalism has to be explained in terms of the cheapness of seven things, and that feels more natural in some chapters than others. The conclusion didn't really work for me, but if you skip that, it probably works pretty well as a "this is how capitalism has created the conditions for its dominance" book.