Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration—and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives

Yale Univ. May 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780300243406. $28.50. BUS
Dorling (geography, Oxford; Inequality & The 1%; Population 10 Billion) contends that global population growth is slowing. He explains the impact that this slowdown will have on the human psyche, the environment, and the economy. To illustrate slower growth, he includes over 60 intricate time lines plotting trends with loops, spirals, and even coiling snakes. He uses them to show that growth is decelerating in areas including fertility, life expectancy, average adult height, debt, information accumulation, technical innovation, and GDP. Dorling goes beyond describing the slowdown to recommend ways of achieving a more equitable and sustainable society. He proffers that the slowdown will offer an unhurried lifestyle with better work-life balance, but that it has so far had a marginal effect on CO2 emissions and the rise in global temperatures that directly impact ecosystem destruction. His discussion of plagues and pandemics is timely.
VERDICT Dorling’s thought-provoking findings, fears, and hopes for the future are an excellent introduction for both students and a wider audience interested in the consequences of shifting demographics.

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