I used to post what I’ve been reading, listening to and watching on the sidebar of my blog. That was back when I thought everyone wanted to know the minutiae of my life. My ego has since deflated somewhat, but I’ve been doing some interesting reading lately and thought I’d share. My good friend, Matt Hess, at WHRI has a rule that he only reads books that are 20 years old or older. It’s a good rule and culls out a lot of the junk that gets published from year to year. So, some of these books have been around a while, but I’m finding them great sources of information and ideas.
Browsing through the library at MCC’s office I stumbled upon a book called Valuing the Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics which is having the same conversation we’ve been having here perhaps in less biblical terms. While I enjoy discussions with people that have very different opinions than I do, it is comforting to read the works of economists that basically agree with me. It’s nice to know you’re not crazy. I don’t mind being wrong. I just don’t want to think I’m insane.
I also found a great agriculture resource from ECHO called Amaranth to Zai Holes: Ideas for Growing Food Under Difficult Conditions. This book is a compilation of ECHO’s newsletter over decades. It’s aimed primarily at tropical and subtropical agricultural development work.
Here’s a few books I’ve been reading on Bolivia and Latin America that have been helpful. Bolivia In Focus was a great short book that covers a lot of territory quickly. Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society is a pretty dry read, but covers the history of Bolivia from the Incan empire to the present thoroughly. Finally, the most interesting book has been Cry Of The People: The Struggle For Human Rights In Latin America – The Catholic Church In Conflict With U. S. Policy. It documents in gruesome detail the oppressive regimes that the U.S. supported in Latin America and the Catholic Church’s evolution from oppressor to liberator.
“While I enjoy discussions with people that have very different opinions than I do, it is comforting to read the works of economists that basically agree with me.” What do they agree with you on that I do not?
I want to write up a post on it. So, I don’t want to go into great detail. The main thing is the assumption of finite resources that are based on the limits of the natural world. They are advocating a steady-state or stationary state model/theory of economics. Look forward to exploring it more soon… especially with someone so nice that I disagree with.
Did you check out those books Matt Ridley reviewed that I emailed? Pretty sure a couple of the Julian Simon ones address steady-state issues.
I read the link you sent me. I’m sure economists address the issue, but there are apparently more options than only the growth economy and an ongoing debate. I found Matt Ridley ridiculously optimistic about technology to an unhealthy degree. Given his past he may be bipolar or at least has tendencies toward extremes. I would prefer a more moderate position that recognizes the ability of humans to have a positive impact ont he world and ecosystem, but one that takes a much more realistic look at the history of technology and human intervention.
Merry Christmas! Jesus has arrived, but we’re still waiting for the kingdom!