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Surviving the Future

Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy

By David Fleming and Shaun Chamberlin
Foreword by Rob Hopkins

Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That hardback consists of four hundred and four interlinked dictionary entries, inviting readers to choose their own path through its radical vision.

Recognizing that Lean Logic’s sheer size and unusual structure can be daunting, Fleming’s long-time collaborator Shaun Chamberlin has selected and edited one of these potential narratives to create Surviving the Future. The content, rare insights, and uniquely enjoyable writing style remain Fleming’s, but are presented here at a more accessible paperback-length and in conventional read-it-front-to-back format.

The subtitle—Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy—hints at Fleming’s vision. He believed that the market economy will not survive its inherent flaws beyond the early decades of this century, and that its failure will bring great challenges, but he did not dwell on this: “We know what we need to do. We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

Surviving the Future lays out a compelling and powerfully different new economics for a post-growth world.  One that relies not on taut competitiveness and eternally increasing productivity—“putting the grim into reality”—but on the play, humor, conversation, and reciprocal obligations of a rich culture. Building on a remarkable breadth of intellectual and cultural heritage—from Keynes to Kumar, Homer to Huxley, Mumford to MacIntyre, Scruton to Shiva, Shakespeare to Schumacher—Fleming describes a world in which, as he says, “there will be time for music.”

This is the world that many of us want to live in, yet we are told it is idealistic and unrealistic. With an evident mastery of both economic theory and historical precedent, Fleming shows that it is not only desirable, but actually the only system with a realistic claim to longevity. With friendliness, humor, and charm, Surviving the Future plucks this vision out of our daydreams and shows us how to make it real.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“I would unreservedly go so far as to say that David Fleming was one of the most original, brilliant, urgently-needed, underrated, and ahead-of-his-time thinkers of the last 50 years. History will come to place him alongside Schumacher, Berry, Seymour, Cobbett, and those other brilliant souls who could not just imagine a more resilient world but who could paint a picture of it in such vivid colours. Step into the world of David Fleming; you'll be so glad you did.”--Rob Hopkins, cofounder of the Transition Network

“Each time I encountered David Fleming, he left behind something whose value I was a little too slow to recognise. A sketch for Tradable Energy Quotas. A critique of the nuclear fuel cycle. And clearest in my memory: a slim working paper entitled The Lean Economy. It took me nearly a decade to respond properly to its call. In Surviving the Future, Fleming has left behind his greatest gift: a remarkable clarity of vision—a way of seeing the world not just for what it is, but for what it might be. Hopefully, this time I’m ready for it.”--Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey; author of Prosperity without Growth

“David Fleming was an iconoclast in a time when orthodox thinking reasserted suffocating control. When many major environmental voices had, in effect, decided to 'go with the flow', accept the mainstream economy, and do their best to make it greener, David Fleming went the other way. His analysis told him that nothing short of a paradigm shift could ensure our collective survival, and he said so, loudly, without fear of being marginalised. His courage in saying unpopular things is clear in these writings, and we should all thank him. Without the uncompromising clarity of David's writing, we would delude ourselves as to the scale and the immediacy with which we must reshape the economy and our lifestyles. Thank goodness his analysis can now be shared more widely.”--Andrew Simms, codirector, New Weather Institute; fellow, New Economics Foundation; author of Cancel the Apocalypse

“David Fleming was an elder of the UK green movement and a key figure in the early Green Party. Drawing on the heritage of Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, Fleming’s beautifully written and nourishing vision of a post-growth economics grounded in human-scale culture and community—rather than big finance—is both inspiring and ever more topical.”--Caroline Lucas MP, former leader, Green Party of England and Wales; former Member of the European Parliament

“David Fleming predicts environmental catastrophe but also proposes a solution that stems from the real motives of people and not from some comprehensive political agenda. He writes lucidly and eloquently of the moral and spiritual qualities on which we might draw in our ‘descent’ to a Lean Economy. His highly poetic description of these qualities is neither gloomy nor self-deceived but tranquil and inspiring. All environmental activists should read him and learn to think in his cultivated and nuanced way.”--Roger Scruton, writer and philosopher; author of over thirty books, including Green Philosophy

“Why do some of the truly great books only emerge and exact their influence upon us after the death of their authors? Perhaps it takes a lifetime to accrue and refine the necessary wisdom. Or perhaps it simply takes the rest of us too long to catch up. Like Thoreau, Fleming's masterpiece brims not only with fresh insight into every nook and cranny of our culture and what it means to be human, but with such wit and humour that its challenging ideas and radical perspectives become a refreshing delight. If we’re to have a future worth surviving, this book demands to be read, re-read, and—ultimately—acted upon.--Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Manifesto and Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi

“Shaun Chamberlin has edited Fleming’s Lean Logic to a string of gems that refract the burning issues of our times.--Professor Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul and Poacher’s Pilgrimage

“‘The end is nigh’ messages are a dime a dozen these days. Fleming’s work doesn’t shy away from that, but it’s his vision of what could come next—and the potential richness, carnival, and culture of it—that I think is so rare and precious in these books. Less what we stand to lose and more what we've lost already and stand to regain if we do things right.--Jeremy Leggett, founder, Solarcentury and SolarAid; author of The Winning of the Carbon War

“I can’t say enough good things about this book. David Fleming’s keen interdisciplinary mind was at home in economics, history, and anthropology, so when he imagines the world beyond fossil fuels, the result is not just a schematic diagram but narrative with bone, sinew, flesh, and blood. This is how real human beings could and hopefully will respond to climate change and resource depletion.”--Richard Heinberg, senior fellow, Post Carbon Institute

“David Fleming has laid out a logical, persuasive, and very readable pathway to dealing with the most crucial catastrophe we face: the double bind of growth—if no growth the economy fails, if growth the economy fails. He illuminates the ‘transition from the global city’ to ‘habitats on a human scale’ and an economy ‘organized around the rediscovery of community.’ If there will be any survival following the coming collapse, it will be through following the wisdom provided here.”--Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Fleming

David Fleming

Dr. David Fleming (1940 – 2010) was a visionary thinker and writer who played significant roles in the genesis of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement, and the New Economics Foundation, as well as chairing the Soil Association. He was also one of the early whistle-blowers on oil depletion and designer of the influential TEQs carbon/energy rationing system. He read Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and later earned an MBA and then an MSc and PhD in economics (in 1988). These enabled him to better engage with and confound the mainstream, in support of his true passion and genius: understanding that diverse and mysterious thing “community.” Lean Logic was the work of over thirty years.

Shaun Chamberlin

Shaun Chamberlin

Shaun Chamberlin has been involved with the Transition Network since its inception, cofounding Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline. He is managing director of the Fleming Policy Centre and former chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative, and has spoken at venues ranging from Occupy camps to parliaments. In exploring the cultural narratives charting society’s course he has written for or edited a diverse range of books, magazines, academic journals, and other publications, including coauthoring a significant UK All Party Parliamentary report with his close friend and regular collaborator David Fleming. His website is www.darkoptimism.org.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

Shaun's Website: Dark Optimism
Shaun Chamberlin on Twitter
Dark Optimism on Facebook
The Fleming Policy Centre

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Shaun Chamberlin and Jonathon Porritt - Economic Collapse and David Fleming

In this clip, Jonathon Porritt and Shaun Chamberlin discuss collapse and the world after economic growth, at the launch of the late Trinity alumnus David Fleming’s books 'Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It' and the paperback 'Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy'.

Shaun Chamberlin at Dark Mountain Basecamp

Shaun Chamberlin discusses his late mentor David Fleming's books 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', and more broadly how we shape the future in line with our dreams, even in an age of ecocide and civilisational collapse.

David Fleming Discusses Peak Oil

David Fleming Discusses Peak Oil

Earth Talk - The Late Dr. David Fleming

Rob Hopkins and Shaun Chamberlin share insights and anecdotes on Fleming's life, influence and enduring importance. We will also hear from the man himself, through recently unearthed recordings.

Surviving the Future

Pages:304 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586467
Pub. Date August 12, 2016
eBook: 9781603586474
Pub. Date August 04, 2016

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 304 pages, $20.00

eBook, 304 pages, $20.00