In today's culture of insatiable freedom, many believe that to be human is to be an insatiable self-actualizer. Yet insatiable is not sustainable. In order to solve today's crisis of environmental sustainability – and human sustainability – we must let go of our obsession to constantly be more. The desire to have all that we can have comes, Brown argues, from a cultural norm that has evolved to become an economic, social, and moral imperative – that To Be is to achieve more, improve more, and insatiably have more, to the point of planetary extinction.
Incorporating the views of classic scholars – Aristotle, J. S. Mill, Marx, Thorstein Veblen – into his own unique interpretation, Brown traces human history from the earliest hunters and gatherers through the emergence of capitalism and the evolution to today's insatiable self and the culture of insatiable freedom. In conclusion, Brown argues cogently for the creation of a culture of sustainability, offering practical ways to achieve this goal.
Douglas M. Brown is Professor of Economics in the College of Business at Northern Arizona University. His areas of research focus on institutional economics, comparative economic systems, the globalization of capitalism, and human and environmental sustainability. His books include The Economic Status of Women Under Capitalism (1994) and Thorstein Veblen in the Twenty-first Century (1998). He is active in the Association for Institutional Economics and the Association for Evolutionary Economics.