Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth

Juliet B. Schor

Book cover

Perhaps I should stop reading popular economics books, because I seem to always end up disliking them for being popular economics books, which isn’t really fair. I was especially disappointed in this book because it treats a number of topics that I find quite interesting, including work hours, optimal scales of production, and self-provisioning. Maybe I would have felt differently if I were not someone already interested in these topics, but it usually felt quite superficial, like a breathless catalog of the shibboleths of hyuppie culture: Urban chicken farming! Cooperatives! Green energy! These things are all well and good, but the book generally read like one of those NYTimes trend stories covering something that everyone’s already known about for six months. I also felt myself longing for some more scholarly substance. While Schor is an economics professor, and refers to academic studies relatively often, her clear normative position gave me no confidence that she wasn’t just cherry-picking.

Plus, come on, “plenitude” is a super awkward word. I hope Schor didn’t think it was going to become a buzzword.

My Goodreads rating: 2 stars