A book review of Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us with TransitionVoice

A book review of Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us with TransitionVoice

January 19, 2011

From Eric Curren at

In nearly a half century fighting abuses of power, Ralph Nader has seen the worst in people, from venality in politicians to arrogance in corporate executives. And Nader knows as well as anyone that corporate control of Washington has kept the US from implementing the policy we need to fight climate change and prepare for peak oil.

Now, Nader’s written his first novel, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” which he calls a “practical utopia.”

For people who care about peak oil and climate change, there’s a method to Nader’s madness. He seems to be offering optimism as an antidote to the poisonous cynicism and indulgence in scenarios of doom that together threaten to sideline the sustainability movement and torpedo any chance for American society to deal with our historic energy and pollution challenges in a positive way.
Long on policy, short on politics

After thirty years of earnest tomes exhorting us to create sustainable economies, starting with The Limits to Growth and Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful in the early seventies, we’ve done just the opposite. Now, our globalized consumer economy is bigger and badder than anyone ever imagined, and climate change and peak oil threaten the very basis of industrial civilization worldwide.

Why haven’t we mended our ways?

It’s certainly not for lack of good policy ideas. But it could be for lack of political strategy. And that’s where Ralph Nader comes in.

In the last couple years alone, we’ve seen many guides to creating a sustainable economy from Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy to David Korten’s Agenda for a New Economy, Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization and even Pat Murphy’s answer to Brown in Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change.

Each volume overflows with sensible proposals to save energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions and empower local economies. But now that we have all these good ideas, how can we get them passed into law in a Washington where even the Obama White House gives more love to the Chamber of Commerce than to civil society groups? Especially when big corporations might worry that some of the ideas might threaten their profits?

Nader’s answer is that all Americans need to start behaving like good citizens — starting with the very rich.

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