Enough is Plenty is a profound groundbreaking work of transformative learning. Anne B. Ryan has accomplished a work that explores, in depth and range, the importance of understanding of what Enough means in a local as well as a global perspective. She links ecological sustainability with pressing concerns around issues of social justice. The scholarship demonstrated in this work combines disciplined understanding with practical concerns about life styles and quality of life giving the reader a truly enriched perspective on how to live in the 21st Century.
Edmund OSullivan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, author, Transformative Learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century. www.tlc.org
A most thorough and readable analysis of why enough is plenty.
John Madeley, author of Big Business, Poor Peoples, 50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade and 100 ways to Make Poverty History. www.johnmadeley.co.uk
Mick Jagger had a song that went, ‘I can’t get no satisfaction … though I try, and I try, and I try. That says it all, for none are less contented than they who thirst even as their cup overflows. In Enough is Plenty Anne Ryan sets out pathways to replace the West’s idolatrous canonisation of greed with the dignified sufficiency of enough. It’s a message the world needs urgently, as thenon-indigenous Celtic Tiger leaps up and bites the hand thatreared it on the never-never.
Alastair McIntosh, author of Rekindling Community, Soil and Soul and Hell and High Water. www.alastairmcintosh.com
In future, the global economy will shrink rather than grow. There will be less of everything to go around. For anyone who wants to think through some of the changes in systems and values that will be required to maintain our humanity during this contraction, ‘Enough is Plenty’ is an excellent start.
Richard Douthwaite. Founder member, Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability; author of ‘The Growth Illusion’, ‘Short Circuit’ and ‘The Ecology of Money’. www.feasta.org
Enough for our need
6 Jan 2010
By Jennifer Kavanagh (London, England)
“Enough” is an attractive notion, and a reminder of Gandhi’s “Enough for our need, not for our greed”. The author approaches her theme through major proposals for international public policy in the three areas of finance, agriculture, and ecology. The first is for a Citizen’s Income to provide enough for the basics for everyone, without reference to their work status. Radical proposals for the reform of agricultural policy include what she calls “Intelligent Agriculture”, based on local needs and run by local people, proposing that the proportion of people involved in agriculture – from just 1% in the USA and UK and 90% in “developing” countries – needs to be balanced to an average of 20%-50% throughout the world. The third proposal is for a system of Contraction and Convergence: a fair form of regulation to reduce carbon emissions and deal with the requirements of climate change.
Dealing with such enormous themes is a hugely ambitious task, but the interconnection between them is indisputable. It is part of a concept based on security, equity and fairness that challenges an established world view – in global markets, agriculture, apportioning of the world’s resources and treating the planet with the respect it deserves. Private policies take up a much smaller part of the book but maybe it does take just one chapter to say that work on the inner self is necessary for work on the outer to be successful. I particularly like the author’s division of the self into three levels: discrete, relational and dancing!
Enough is Plenty is a brave book, suggesting ways forward for a fairer and healthier planet for the 21st century.
Put it on your ‘must read list’ for 2010 and become a citizen leader
10 Dec 2009
By L. O. Muircheartaigh (Tipperary, Ireland)
Anne B. Ryan is a courageous woman to write a book about a mercurial topic like ‘enough is plenty’. Fortune favours the brave and the task of defining, explaining, challenging and focussing the concept of enough is risen to skillfully and intelligently by knitting her personal thinking and that of experts in many disciplines into a persuasive narrative underpinned by an intellectual rigour. ‘Enough is Plenty’, though scholarly, is writtten in clear, simple and accessible language.
The author argues that the lifestyle of most people living in the developed world is driven by the constant pursuit of growth and a view of the individual as a consumer rather than a citizen. Those living in the developing and developed world are striving to imitate developed-world lifestyles. This failed paradigm should be replaced by the the concept of ‘enough is plenty’, an intrinsically moral, intrinsically ecological and intrinsically healthy concept.
As well as challenging the growth and citizen consumer paradigms, Anne B. Ryan provides a blueprint for a sustainable world. In such a world citizens are satisfied with enough and are moral beings rather than growth- driven consumers devoid of concern for the community or the world that we live in. The blueprint argues for citizen leaders, contraction and convergence of economic activity underpinned by sustainability and ‘deep security for all’. The key to accieving a world where the concept of ‘enough is plenty’ is the dominant paradigm is that individuals become citizen leaders and bring about fundamental policy change at the level of the state and global institutions.
Enough is Plenty’ is a refreshing and penetrating study of globalization, the market as the main policy instrument in public policy and rampant inequality both within countries and between the developed, developing and undeveloped world.
Put it on your ‘must read’ read list for 2010, become an ‘enough is plenty’ activist and a citizen leader.
You can also read the two reviews above on amazon.co.uk. Click on the link below. You can write your own review at that link also
By Alison O’Donohue
May 2009, Dublin
What a clearly written and timely account Enough is Plenty gives of the problems faced by our planet today. Many of these problems are the result of greed and unregulated growth, which has led to the most vulnerable facing terrible difficulties. This book, however, makes plain that soon we will all be vulnerable, and that we must radically re-think how we relate our individual needs an perceived wants to the needs of the earth’s community as a whole.
This reviewer found the work on agriculture and food particularly enlightening. It is amazing to realise how distanced man of the world’s population are from the basic necessities of living, and from the recognition of the results of this distance. The consequences of transport policies, the debilities of the link between work and money, and other factors too numerous to mention here are also clearly dealt with.
Anne B. Ryan, however, does not merely dwell on these consequences; she suggests, through the concept of Enough, a range of practical and far-reaching solutions to our problems if we are willing to apply them. This, of course, a big “if” considering the possible extent of human greed, but some of these solutions are already being applied, albeit in a small way, and conditions are getting so difficult that even the unconverted are soon going to have to take notice of them.
Just to give a few examples: the author discusses the introduction of a citizens’ income, which would give a measure of financial security to everyone, the development of a world-wide food club, which would revolutionise the way in which we grow, transport and treat food (especially with regard to the way livestock are treated, and ways of sharing the “global commons”. Some of these strategies already exist in some form in organisations such as Compassion in World Farming, Fair Trade and farmers’ markets and could be further developed in a more thoroughly global fashion with the aid of books such as Enough is Plenty.
To this reviewer, one of the most stimulating consequences of an approach through the idea of Enough is that all of the citizens of the planet would have more control over their lives and over what happens in their local areas. As Anne B Ryan writes: “Richness would reside in the security of always having enough. Insecurity and anxiety are debilitating. For many people a richer life would be one free of financial insecurity and fear of poverty.”
It will be hard to persuade many people of the virtues of Enough, but there may soon be no choice, The more of us who read this book and discuss with others the ideas in it and other publications, the better life will be for all of us.
On a more individual note, the suggestions in this book are personally liberating. If we can follow through on the ideas of Enough we can free ourselves from wanting the things we think we need, or ought to have. We can use the time and energy saved on leading a fuller and more humanly integrated life.