A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis
Scarcity connects, dissects, and narrates the history of Western economic ideas about the natural limits to human societiesA new classic for historians of ideas. -- Erle C. Ellis * Science * Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind take an ambitious, sweeping approach [to scarcity]: their book covers 500 years, dividing generalized scarcity into seven subcategories and proposing that we reduce the influence of scarcity-based economics on how we deal with our planetary crises. Their critique is unequivocal. -- Scott R. MacKenzie * Los Angeles Review of Books * Scarcity offers a crash course on the many musings that philosophers, artists, theologians, and economists have had on the topic[Albritton] Jonsson and Wennerlinds historical investigations helpfully illustrate how tawdry matters of getting and spending have always been underlaid by questions about man, nature, technology, and their relations. -- Robert Bellafiore * Public Discourse * An insightful and illuminating book. The history of economic thought has been jettisoned from the curriculum of most economics departments, to the great disadvantage of students. Examining the many historical meanings of scarcity, Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind make a significant contribution both to curricular repair and to clear thinking about future economic policy. -- Herman Daly, author of <i>Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development</i> Rarely does a book cause you to reflect anew on ideas so fundamental to your life that they have become invisible. Scarcity does just this for dominant economic assumptions about the infinite nature of human appetites. Through a refreshing tour of European philosophical and economic thought, Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind show how growth ideologies became ascendentbut also how regularly and thoroughly such ideas have been critiqued. The result is not just an intellectual history, but a primer on how to rethink our relationship with nature and the economy in a time of crisis. -- Bathsheba Demuth, author of <i>Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait</i> A brilliant booklucid, luminescent, and learnedthat is relevant across disciplines. Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind expertly present centuries of Western debates about the relationship between nature and economy, alternating between visions of cornucopian abundance and earthly limits. The result is a timely intellectual genealogy for terms that define our contemporary debates on the planetary environment. -- Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of <i>The Climate of History in a Planetary Age</i> Tracing the long history of associations between scarcity and capitalism, this exemplary work examines the human hunger for abundance and its calamitous impact on the planet. Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind show the potential of intellectual history to shed light on the problems that most bedevil our time, to the benefit of both scholarship and society at large. -- Francesco Boldizzoni, author of <i>Foretelling the End of Capitalism</i>
Fredrik Albritton Jonsson is Associate Professor of History and of Conceptual and Historical Studies in Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Enlightenments Frontier: The Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism and, with Vicky Albritton, Green Victorians: The Simple Life in John Ruskins Lake District. Carl Wennerlind is Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University, where he specializes in intellectual history and political economy. He is the author of Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 16201720 and, with Margaret Schabas, A Philosophers Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism.