Slower by Design, Not Disaster
Advances in Ecological Economics series
The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large. (Bertrand Russell, 1918) The end of World War II in September 1945 was celebrated in many ways. I was the result of one such celebration, born some nine months later into a middle class Jewish family in a north London suburb in the UK. I was on the leading edge of the baby boom, the generation whose demographic weight has given it a disproportionate impact on society for over half a century. The adventure playgrounds of my childhood were an unsupervised, overgrown ﬁeld known as the barn, though there was no longer a barn, and a local bomb site which became the site for a Woolworth’s store. I was educated at a private nursery school, a local primary school and a highly regarded all boys grammar school from where I went to Birmingham University and then to the University of British Columbia to study economics. I recount these few details of my early life not because they are especially interesting but because they tell you something about the values that I acquired growing up in post-war Britain. These were typical middle class values which stressed the importance of family, education, and hard work and which generally equated success with a secure income earned in a profession and the acquisition of material goods. It is diﬃcult, if not...