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Mr. Johnson's thesis can be summarized without much difficulty: after generations of extravagant and reckless industrial expansion, we are clearly entering an age of economic scarcity. While human demands continue to rise, natural resources, especially the non-renewable kind, become harder to find and more expensive to extract, process, transport and distribute. This simple brute fact is the basic cause of inflation, despite the inability of most professional economists to see it. (The "dismal science" has never been more dismally obtuse than it is today.) The law of diminishing returns is coming into effect. Technological developments can delay the process but not halt or reverse it; nor can we rely on government or big business to save us. Planning for further growth delays the adjustments that must be made, makes a fair sharing of necessary sacrifices more troublesome, and if carried too far will make more severe and painful, because rapid, the inevitable decline of the international economic machine. The best way to deal with the end of affluence is to accept it--not fight it--and to begin, here and now, the unavoidable adaptations, on an individual, family, and community basis. Piecemeal, experimental, and muddling.
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Table of Contents

Introduction New Preface to the 2010 Edition Preface: Heading Home Chapter I Neither Utopia Nor Oblivion The Benefits of Barriers The Inevitability of Adaptation Muddling as Political Adaptation Chapter II An Ecological View of History Our Genetic Heritage: Hunters and Gatherers The Fall from the Garden: Agriculture Making Agriculture Fit: The Elaboration of Culture Renewed Disequilibrium: The Modern Era The Prospects Ahead Chapter III Advancing Technology, Declining Resources The "Easy" Times The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Abundance Outlook on Resources: Minerals, Agriculture, and Energy Failing Technologies Winning Technologies Chapter IV The Subsidence The Relative Price of Raw Materials and Labor The Urban Impact Why Personal Incomes Will Fall The Question of Employment Adam Smith or Thomas Jefferson?

About the Author

Warren Johnson is the former chairman of the Geography Department at San Diego State University. Now retired, he lives sustainably in rural northern California and now, more than thirty years after the initial publication of Muddling Toward Frugality, Professor Johnson is writing a new book called "The End of an Era, not the End of the World" that updates his thinking based on current planetary events.

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