In Fall 2010, economist and bestselling author Juliet B. Schor of Boston College discussed her book “Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth” at the Jamaica Plain Forum.
Schor proposes a path to address the Great Recession while addressing climate change and peak oil, suggesting a radical change in how we think about wealth, consumer goods, and how we live.
As we travel along the current path, food, energy, transport and consumer goods are becoming increasingly expensive. The economic downturn that has accompanied the ecological crisis has led to another type of scarcity: incomes, jobs, and credit are also in short supply. Our usual way back to growth, a debt-financed consumer boom, is no longer an option our households, or planet, can afford.
Responding to our current moment, Plenitude puts sustainability at its core. It is an argument that through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can actually be better off and more economically secure. And as Schor observes, Plenitude is already emerging. In pockets around the country and the world, people are busy creating lifestyles that offer a way out of the work and spend cycle. These pioneers’ lives are scarce in conventional consumer goods and rich in the newly abundant resources of time, information, creativity and community.
Based on recent developments in economic theory, social analysis, and ecological design, as well as evidence from the cutting edge people and places putting these ideas into practice, Plenitude is a road map for the next two decades. In encouraging us to value our gifts, nature, community, intelligence, and time, Schor offers the opportunity to participate in creating a world of wealth and well-being.