Deep Economy Book Summary - Deep Economy Book explained in key points

Deep Economy summary

Bill McKibben

Brief summary

Deep Economy by Bill McKibben explores the idea that our relentless pursuit of economic growth is unsustainable and offers a vision for a more localized and sustainable economy that prioritizes well-being over material wealth.

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    Deep Economy
    Summary of key ideas

    Reimagining Our Economy

    In Deep Economy, Bill McKibben challenges the conventional wisdom that economic growth is the key to human progress. He argues that our relentless pursuit of growth has led to environmental degradation, social inequality, and a decline in overall well-being. McKibben proposes a new economic model, one that prioritizes sustainability, community, and human flourishing over endless expansion.

    McKibben begins by examining the history of economic growth, tracing its roots to the Industrial Revolution. He acknowledges the benefits it has brought, such as increased material wealth and technological progress, but also highlights its negative consequences, including resource depletion, pollution, and the erosion of social ties. He argues that we have reached a point where the costs of growth outweigh its benefits.

    The Pitfalls of Growth

    McKibben then delves into the concept of “growth” itself, questioning its assumed correlation with progress and well-being. He points out that while the global economy has grown exponentially over the past century, measures of happiness and life satisfaction have remained stagnant. He also highlights the growing income inequality, with the wealthiest few capturing an increasingly disproportionate share of the economic gains.

    Moreover, McKibben argues that our obsession with growth has led to a culture of consumerism, where people are encouraged to define themselves by what they own and consume. This, he contends, has not only contributed to environmental degradation but has also failed to bring lasting happiness and fulfillment to individuals.

    Localism and Sustainability

    Having critiqued the current economic paradigm, McKibben then presents an alternative vision: a “deep economy” that prioritizes localism, sustainability, and human connection. He argues that by shifting our focus from global to local, we can reduce our environmental footprint, strengthen our communities, and increase our overall well-being.

    McKibben provides numerous examples of local initiatives that embody the principles of deep economy, such as community-supported agriculture, local currencies, and cooperative businesses. He argues that these initiatives not only reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and global supply chains but also foster a sense of belonging and mutual support among community members.

    Reconnecting with Nature and Each Other

    Another key aspect of deep economy, according to McKibben, is our reconnection with nature. He argues that our current economic system, with its emphasis on growth and consumption, has led to a dangerous detachment from the natural world. This, in turn, has allowed us to exploit and degrade the environment without fully understanding or appreciating its value.

    McKibben suggests that by embracing a deep economy, we can re-establish a more harmonious relationship with nature, recognizing its intrinsic worth beyond its utility to humans. He also believes that a focus on localism and community can help us re-establish meaningful connections with each other, countering the isolation and alienation that often accompany modern life.

    Conclusion: The Promise of Deep Economy

    In conclusion, Deep Economy presents a compelling critique of our current economic system and offers an inspiring vision for a more sustainable, equitable, and fulfilling future. McKibben acknowledges that transitioning to a deep economy will not be easy, requiring significant changes in policy, culture, and individual behavior. However, he argues that the potential benefits – a healthier planet, stronger communities, and a more meaningful life – make it a goal worth pursuing.

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    What is Deep Economy about?

    Deep Economy (2007) challenges the belief that economic growth is the key to prosperity. Bill McKibben argues that our relentless pursuit of more has led to environmental degradation, social inequality, and a loss of community. He offers a vision of a smaller, more localized economy that prioritizes sustainability and human well-being over endless expansion.

    Deep Economy Review

    Deep Economy (2007) explores the relationship between economic growth and sustainability, urging readers to rethink our current model. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a refreshing perspective on economic growth, challenging the notion that more is always better.
    • By highlighting the importance of local communities and sustainable practices, it provides a roadmap to a more resilient and equitable future.
    • The book's thought-provoking arguments and concrete examples make it a compelling read, debunking assumptions and encouraging critical thinking.

    Who should read Deep Economy?

    • Individuals who are concerned about the impact of economic growth on the environment
    • Readers interested in alternative approaches to economics and consumerism
    • Activists and advocates for a more sustainable and equitable economy

    About the Author

    Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who has dedicated his career to raising awareness about climate change and advocating for sustainable solutions. He is the founder of, a global grassroots movement to address the climate crisis. McKibben has written several influential books, including The End of Nature and Deep Economy. Through his work, he has inspired countless individuals to take action and make a positive impact on the planet.

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    Deep Economy FAQs 

    What is the main message of Deep Economy?

    The main message of Deep Economy is to prioritize local, sustainable economies to create a more fulfilling and resilient future.

    How long does it take to read Deep Economy?

    The estimated reading time for Deep Economy varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Deep Economy a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Deep Economy is a thought-provoking read that challenges conventional economic thinking. It provides important insights into creating a more sustainable and fulfilling society.

    Who is the author of Deep Economy?

    The author of Deep Economy is Bill McKibben.

    What to read after Deep Economy?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Deep Economy, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
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    • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
    • Our Inner Ape by Frans de Waal
    • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku