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Helping Ourselves : Local Responses to Global Problems - Bruce Stokes

Helping Ourselves

Local Responses to Global Problems

Paperback Published: 17th March 1981
ISBN: 9780393000542
Number Of Pages: 164

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The self-help principle is laudable - who does not root for urban homesteaders or farmers' markets? And the Worldwatch Institute is a fine, sturdy group. But unlike other Institute-sponsored publications (which include president Lester Brown's The Twenty-Ninth Day), this relatively brief volume reads like a long press release. In bland words and push-button formulations ("a worker who once spent the whole day tightening the same bolt," etc.), Stokes sets forth the case for: 1) worker participation - in shop-floor decisions, in plant ownership; 2) individual and community energy conservation; 3) self-help housing - especially with costs rising; 4) home food production - in backyard and community gardens; 5) self-administered health care - "an ounce of prevention" to mutual-support treatment (AA, mental-health hotlines, cooperative ob-gyn clinics); and 6), more ticklish, "family planning" by peer pressure. To be sure, these several areas of possible action are ordinarily treated separately - which obscures their common, mutually-reinforcing values: democratic decision-making, economic independence, emotional sustenance, environmental protection. Small-is-beautiful - multiplied. Stokes is also mindful of the necessary intermediate steps - beginning, he suggests, with neighborhood self-help councils. And he does offer an occasional supportive - or cautionary - political insight. But most of the text is soft-sell exhortation stuffed with examples from the Great Clipping File of present-day panaceas - Swedish job humanization, Japanese consensual management, Chinese population control, and so on. There's none of the dynamism here of a Schumacher or an Illich; little of the command of a John Turner (Housing By People), an Erik Eckholm or Frances Lappe. So this is only for the most underexposed readers - who, beginning in high school, would be more fired up by reading any one of the foregoing. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780393000542
ISBN-10: 0393000540
Series: Local Solutions to Global Problems
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 164
Published: 17th March 1981
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 0.97
Weight (kg): 0.21
Edition Number: 1