The Great Disruption

The Great Disruption

Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of A New World

Book - 2011
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According to the author, the Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. The author claims we have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet's ecosystems and resources. He sees the predicted crisis as a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability in which we will measure "growth" not by quantity of stuff but by quality and happiness of life.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9781608192236
1608192237
Characteristics: 292 p. ;,25 cm.

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d
donkeyhote
Sep 13, 2017

Yes, that disruption is coming. The Earth's population was 500 Million at the time of Da Vinci and today it's 7 Billion, i.e. 14 times that number. And we still grow, in numbers and economically. But Nature's law is that growth has limits and it's a crisis that ends it. The main problem is Human Nature, which is individually selfish. Either a firm Dictatorship is needed to counter it, or Human Nature has be be changed (genetically). And at the UN there is talk about this, and there are concrete plans to change selfish human nature of the crowd. The Earth cannot sustain more people and more abuse than as of now. The New World will not come from the goodwill of individually selfish people - I witness daily how intolerant they are with each other and with Nature. But there is an end to all this in sight. And read Arthur Koestler's book: "The Ghost In The Machine" (1967), which he wrote on behalf of the UN's Department Of Behavioral Control. In the coming New World there will be no private property and no individual rights. And the Crowd deserves this - they defend territory madly, some of them shout at me to stop feeding street cats or birds in or close to their own area, their "PropeDy." Well, some sources tell us about the plans to end all this selfishness and personal hoarding, by the 22nd Century. A totally new way of life comes, where everything is controlled and there will be no individual rights/freedoms. And the selfish majority deserves this - I feel anger welling in me toward them sometimes. The "human" people are in minority. Just today one of the inhuman ones (my janitor) told me: "if you put out food, rats will come - there is plenty of food out there (OK, then there is the food for rats, what does it matter if I feed a street cat too?), so, he said: those who cannot get food for themselves must die." I contained myself but secretly wished he should run out of food someday. And as for that "disruption," read these sources: The UN's "Agenda 21" and Dr. John Coleman: "The Conspirators' Hierarchy." A drastically reduced population will be relocated into reserved areas, with no rights and no private property. And the cities will be abandoned and given back to Nature. I love those street animals (cats, raccoons, squirrels, starlings, pigeons) better than people. Really, those animals are lovely friends with me, they give me much joy. Selfish Capitalism's days are numbered. We are already marching on each others' toes and Nature is half destroyed and littered. The crisis of this will come. Global warming is not caused by human activity, it's caused by a change in the activity of the Sun. This happened once in the 1800s. The big disruption and the fall of this "Civilization" will be caused by the coming plague, as announced in 2008 by the WHO's chief. There will be panic, chaos, and out of it a new Civilization will come, a new order, a new way of life without strife and individual selfishness. This guy Guilding (the author) knows all this very well, he just doesn't want to sow panic. The wealth will not be distributed; even the Elite will live in a community clan style; the number of people will be reduced to 500 M; GMO humanoid bio robots will take the place of today's selfish people and only those will be born at all who are needed byt the community for work. A totally utilitarian society. This plans is not new; 156 yrs ago a theatrical play said that we'll make everything in the way most simple and most practical. Dr. Coleman wrote about this and the movie "THX 1138" is also about this, and the movie "Logan's Run." Now, that "Disruption" is coming - I see and feel human selfishness growing as tensions are mounting. So the Crowd will turn on each other, and that is NOT the solution! The solution would be tolerance and cooperation, but the crowd is worse than any animal, and acts on bad instincts. And they will be losers.

Gilding starts out with a vivid and plausible forecast of our self-created doomsday caused by overuse of finite resources. He describes the history leading up to today and makes a cogent argument for why we might be able to avoid the end of humanity. Then the wheels come off of the bus; he seems to think that if we consume less, redistribute the wealth to the poor, and abolish the reliance on growing the economy then we can all be fine. He ignores solutions such as population control (because he has kids), living in small domiciles close to work (because he flies around the world for his job and I presume he has a 3BR/3Bath house to hold his brood), and radical ideas such as doing away with money or a strict meritocracy for all jobs (both would kill the hoarding of material goods for his progeny). In fact, most of his solutions involve taxing one group so that we can hand out dollars to his social network. Screw that! Bring on doomsday!

g
ghreads
Jul 27, 2016

“The earth is full.” So begins this book about the coming Great Disruption to our economy, our way of life and our planet. Gilding’s message is that we, human beings, are living above our means – our resource use and pollution emissions are (as of 2011) 140% of what the earth can provide and absorb. Increasing population and economic growth cause that number to continually increase. We cannot grow our economy infinitely on a finite planet. The only solution is to change our economy and the principles on which it is based. This will not be a matter of choice. There are 2 alternatives – begin changing our economy now to a sustainable, steady-state economy or face the inevitable catastrophic consequences of not changing – economic, societal and ecological collapse.

The steady-state economy is not just what we have now but without growth, which would come at huge social cost, but a completely redesigned economy that does not require growth. To get there, we need to reduce consumption, poverty and inequity. Rich individuals and countries will have to be satisfied with less, which will make us all happier, so that those now living in desperate poverty can achieve a materially adequate standard of living. The pie will not get bigger so we have to distribute what we have more equitably.

Gilding paints a bleak picture of where we are now and why change is imperative. However, he is confident the change will come because there will be no choice when multiple crises hit and because, historically, humans do not react until our backs are against the wall. He draws many parallels between the current situation and the response we achieved to the critical challenges of World War II. Our backs will again be against the wall. The next 40 years will be a rough ride but Gilding believes we will come out on the other side of the disruption with a happier, healthier and sustainable society and a more fully evolved humanity.

This book was published in 2011 – after the 2008 financial crisis (which he describes as the beginning of the Great Disruption) but before ISIS, the growth in fracking and the 2015 Paris COP21 talks. Despite the 5-year time lapse, the message is still valid, only even more urgent. Gilding has overall confidence in the markets (which I find a little naïve) but insists there must be much more government control and intervention.

The book is well written and quite easy to read; the arguments are compelling. It is an excellent introduction to the many facets of climate change, resource depletion and sustainable economics. I came away both depressed and optimistic. Depressed because we have had 40 years to address these issues and have done absolutely nothing so the situation is now dire; optimistic because of the argument that now that our backs are against the wall, change will happen; and depressed again that if it takes the predicted 4 decades, the new world will arrive too late for me. Already a senior citizen, I will endure the pain of that 4 decades of disruption and upheaval without enjoying the ensuing benefits. Particularly annoying because I have been preaching this message for 30 or 40 years, to no avail.

srmechs Jun 22, 2013

An analysis of the earth’s crises today – economic, environmental, and social – and the prospects for the immediate future. Unlike many of the forecasts, this goes deeply into and beyond the monumental crash that seems inevitable to consider the ways in which humans have reacted in the past and what might be a real possibility in the future. Not an easy read, definitely not unrealistic, but an eye opener to the potential we have for change and why that may result in a future we can hardly imagine.

s
StarGladiator
Apr 29, 2013

"Gilding’s grudging embrace of markets as a tool toward restructuring our lives.." The problem with Gildilng's thesis, and Anne's (commenter below) embracing it, is the demonstration of ignorance as to how all the markets are rigged. Undercuts everything Gilding says, much the same way those pseudo-environmental outfits which embrace the next extension of shadow banking, carbon derivatives (from the same creator of the credit default swap, Blyth Masters at JPMorgan Chase) and carbon permit trading do.

AnneDromeda Jun 26, 2012

I’ve reviewed a few books now undertaking analyses of the whys of 2008’s financial crisis and our unstable recovery. I haven’t found a lot of books, though, that take an accessible, entertaining look at what our future recovery will look like. Books examining the environmental factors underpinning the crisis and our slow recovery are also scarce. In light of this, I was thrilled to discover Paul Gilding’s *The Great Disruption.* <br />

Gilding’s a rarity: A long-time environmental activist with a good understanding of the science of climate change, he also has strong roots in the world of finance, having started and headed a few corporations meant to marry his environmental ethics with the cold, hard reality of the free markets. <br />

In *The Great Disruption,* Gilding articulates the conclusions he’s come to after occupying his unique position on the political spectrum for a number of years. The news, as you may have suspected, is not all good. After a light, fatalistically entertaining literature review of key studies in climate change since the mid-20th century, Gilding concludes we simply can no longer count on economic growth. There’s no more planet left to grow the economy. We are out of resources; growth is putting us further into environmental and economic debt, when what we really need to do is ration what little natural capital we have left. From there, we can transition as seamlessly as possible (mind the yawning chasms) into a new economy that rewards sustainability and quality of life instead of sheer GDP expansion.<br />

Gilding has a detailed vision of what such an economy will look like, and he’s excited for the future. He freely admits that the transition to a sustainable economic and social model will likely hurt before it feels better, but he argues that the resulting social order will be so much healthier for ourselves and the planet that we will wonder why we didn’t make the change sooner.<br />

Some environmentally-minded folks will take exception to Gilding’s grudging embrace of markets as a tool toward restructuring our lives, but that’s okay. This book is meant as a conversation starter, and while Gilding is enthusiastic about his vision he’s also open to other environmentally-friendly visions for the future. *The Great Disruption* is a call to action of any kind in service of the planet, a wild, funny call-to-arms that will move anyone interested in building a better life in a reasonable footprint.<br />

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AnneDromeda Jun 26, 2012

I’ve reviewed a few books now undertaking analyses of the whys of 2008’s financial crisis and our unstable recovery. I haven’t found a lot of books, though, that take an accessible, entertaining look at what our future recovery will look like. Books examining the environmental factors underpinning the crisis and our slow recovery are also scarce. In light of this, I was thrilled to discover Paul Gilding’s *The Great Disruption.* <br />

Gilding’s a rarity: A long-time environmental activist with a good understanding of the science of climate change, he also has strong roots in the world of finance, having started and headed a few corporations meant to marry his environmental ethics with the cold, hard reality of the free markets. <br />

In *The Great Disruption,* Gilding articulates the conclusions he’s come to after occupying his unique position on the political spectrum for a number of years. The news, as you may have suspected, is not all good. After a light, fatalistically entertaining literature review of key studies in climate change since the mid-20th century, Gilding concludes we simply can no longer count on economic growth. There’s no more planet left to grow the economy. We are out of resources; growth is putting us further into environmental and economic debt, when what we really need to do is ration what little natural capital we have left. From there, we can transition as seamlessly as possible (mind the yawning chasms) into a new economy that rewards sustainability and quality of life instead of sheer GDP expansion.<br />

Gilding has a detailed vision of what such an economy will look like, and he’s excited for the future. He freely admits that the transition to a sustainable economic and social model will likely hurt before it feels better, but he argues that the resulting social order will be so much healthier for ourselves and the planet that we will wonder why we didn’t make the change sooner.<br />

Some environmentally-minded folks will take exception to Gilding’s grudging embrace of markets as a tool toward restructuring our lives, but that’s okay. This book is meant as a conversation starter, and while Gilding is enthusiastic about his vision he’s also open to other environmentally-friendly visions for the future. *The Great Disruption* is a call to action of any kind in service of the planet, a wild, funny call-to-arms that will move anyone interested in building a better life in a reasonable footprint.<br />

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