Book review

3:    Growth – The Celtic Cancer: Why the  Global Economy Damages our Health and Society

Feasta Review number 2 Green Books, £9.95 ISBN 1 84351 062 6

The title of this book is somewhat  misleading. Its 207 pages contain  a collection of articles and book  reviews on topics of global concern,  even where the data do relate to  Ireland, where Feasta is based. They  do not suggest that the Celts are  responsible for the Global Economy!

The range of topics, all relating to the  Global Economy, is wide, and coverage well informed and thought- provoking.

In its first article, “Unprecedented growth,  but for whose benefit?”, Elizabeth Cullen  shows with many graphs that, although the average income in Ireland  doubled between 1989 and 2002, the  nation's health and the bonds between  its people have been seriously damaged, with the increasing gap of  income between rich and poor, a drop  in life-satisfaction, growth of working  hours despite a drop in unemployment, and increasing poverty in old  age, among many other factors she  illustrates. She attributes this to  inequality, as a direct result of government policy. This situation is of  course common to most ‘developed’  countries, but she compares the Irish  situation with other countries to show  the effect of differences in government  policy, and to make a list of recommendations for change, including introduction of basic incomes and study of why  economic growth is needed to avoid  collapse.

In this issue of SustEc is  a link to James Robertson’s article – see item 2.

Other articles concern the concept of  ‘poverty’, the need to develop a new  economics putting human health before  profit, the coming of ‘peak oil’ and the  impending crash of the world economy,  the tribal view of property and land  ownership, development of cooperative  links between producers, consumers  and investors, the need for localisation,  the Dollar vs. the Euro, Green taxes,  quotas vs. taxes, interest-free banking – etc.

A truly worthwhile set of essays, which  if you prefer can be read online at index.htm.

– Brian Leslie