Economists like to say that there is no such thing as a "free
lunch" whenever we move our social arrangements in a new direction.
According to this kind of thinking, a price will inevitably be paid
for addressing big, society-wide problems such as global warming.
This book takes a contrary view--resolving the problem of global
warming and moving to a more spatially compact form of human
settlement will generate a durable and widespread prosperity and
improvements in the quality of life. In short, fixing global
warming will be a "free lunch." We will all end up being better off
independently of any gains to the climate or the natural
environment. The turn to clean energy will set off an unprecedented
economic boom driven by innovation in energy conservation,
production, and distribution and by a move toward high density
urban living and the private and public construction that will go
with it. Unlike the economic expansions of recent decades, growth
induced by a shift to clean energy and compact living will truly
lift all economic boats. Turning to compact green living and
freeing ourselves from the environmental tyranny of fossil fuels
will set off an investment boom of a new kind--a good boom that
will help cure some of our most intractable social and
environmental ills. This combination of ideas is the unique and
original contribution of this book.
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