Friday, January 09, 2009

Enough by John Naish

We have too much food, information, stuff, and the constant quest for more is costing us our physical and mental and even planetary well being.

The good of this book is that it is correct and entertaining. The bad is

1. This bit of the brain lights up which means.... Something like this is said every few paragraphs which as the author himself points out "is like standing outside a football ground, trying to interpret the action in the game by listening to the roars of the crowd". Brain scanning is not that accurate and basing your argument on extremely scant data like this is unwise.

2. In the stone age we did X so now we do X to much in the modern world. Evolutionary just so stories. These pop up in popular culture all the time and become accepted knowledge without any evidence. We don't really know how we lived in the stone age. Looking at Bonobo society early man may have been vastly different to how we imagine it today. So the old cliche (not from the book)
Men are better at maths because they had to have spatial abilities to chase antelope. Except when you look at it that's not the reason. People thinking men are better at maths seems to be most of the cause of them being better.

This book is full of these non falsifiable fairy tales which again is not a good foundation for an argument

3. No index

4. We cannot have more stuff unless we consume more. This is taken as an axiom but it is wrong. Ephemeralization is the process where people use technological advances to continuously do more with less.

The book is right that we need to be satisfied with enough and serves as a good motivator as to how to do this personally.

Similar but better books are Collapse by Jared Diamond on what causes societies to fail and Critical Path by Buckminster Fuller on how we can provide the needs of society and move away from over consumption.


Malena said...

As an anthropologist student I have to say, as far as we know, famine started with agricultural states. Hunter gatherers where fine and had a considerable amount of free time. And pests cannot exist without an import concentration of people.

David Curran said...

>famine started with agricultural states

Quite likely. War and murder however didn't*. Guns,Germs and steal and Sex,science and profits both have a good analysis of the stone age nutritional disaster that was farming.