Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Aug 4, 2016 - Social Science - 304 pages

Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That hardback consists of four hundred and four interlinked dictionary entries, inviting readers to choose their own path through its radical vision.

Recognizing that Lean Logic’s sheer size and unusual structure can be daunting, Fleming’s long-time collaborator Shaun Chamberlin has selected and edited one of these potential narratives to create Surviving the Future. The content, rare insights, and uniquely enjoyable writing style remain Fleming’s, but are presented here at a more accessible paperback-length and in conventional read-it-front-to-back format.

The subtitle—Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy—hints at Fleming’s vision. He believed that the market economy will not survive its inherent flaws beyond the early decades of this century, and that its failure will bring great challenges, but he did not dwell on this: “We know what we need to do. We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

Surviving the Future lays out a compelling and powerfully different new economics for a post-growth world. One that relies not on taut competitiveness and eternally increasing productivity—“putting the grim into reality”—but on the play, humor, conversation, and reciprocal obligations of a rich culture. Building on a remarkable breadth of intellectual and cultural heritage—from Keynes to Kumar, Homer to Huxley, Mumford to MacIntyre, Scruton to Shiva, Shakespeare to Schumacher—Fleming describes a world in which, as he says, “there will be time for music.”

This is the world that many of us want to live in, yet we are told it is idealistic and unrealistic. With an evident mastery of both economic theory and historical precedent, Fleming shows that it is not only desirable, but actually the only system with a realistic claim to longevity. With friendliness, humor, and charm, Surviving the Future plucks this vision out of our daydreams and shows us how to make it real.

 

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User Review  - willszal - LibraryThing

I just finished a brilliant book called “Surviving the Future” by David Fleming. A friend got me down this road when she left us her copy of “Lean Logic,” the daunting non-linear tome out of which ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Three Principles
13
The Lean Economy
19
Lean Culture
38
Part 2
51
Slack Employment
72
Eroticism
80
Small Scale
93
Population and Food
147
The Wheel of Life
161
Transition
170
Mourning the Marrket
179
Survival Tool 2
196
Lean Thinking
203
Notes
215
Bibliography
249

Religion
107
Utopia?
116
Part 3
125
Illustration Credits
267
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Dr. David Fleming (1940 – 2010) was a visionary thinker and writer who played significant roles in the genesis of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement, and the New Economics Foundation, as well as chairing the Soil Association. He was also one of the early whistle-blowers on oil depletion and designer of the influential TEQs carbon/energy rationing system. He read Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and later earned an MBA and then an MSc and PhD in economics (in 1988). These enabled him to better engage with and confound the mainstream, in support of his true passion and genius: understanding that diverse and mysterious thing “community.” Lean Logic was the work of over thirty years.

Shaun Chamberlin has been involved with the Transition Network since its inception, cofounding Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline. He is managing director of the Fleming Policy Centre and former chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative, and has spoken at venues ranging from Occupy camps to parliaments. In exploring the cultural narratives charting society’s course he has written for or edited a diverse range of books, magazines, academic journals, and other publications, including coauthoring a significant UK All Party Parliamentary report with his close friend and regular collaborator David Fleming. His website is www.darkoptimism.org.

Rob Hopkins is the cofounder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. He set up the first two-year, full-time permaculture course in the world at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as the first ecovillage development in Ireland to be granted planning permission. He is the author of The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience and The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times and The Power of Just Doing Stuff. He is the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, served as a Soil Association trustee for three years, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists.

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