How to order this book.
Review appears in:
Peace Magazine, Jul-Sep 2007
Reviewed by John Bacher
Life, Money & Illusion: Living on Earth as if we want to stay
By Mike Nickerson
Seven Generations Publishing,
448 pages, $19.95
Mike Nickerson's "Life, Money and Illusion is a compelling and wide-ranging
tome. With magisterial comprehensiveness, Nickerson makes forays into a
vast area of causes related to prosperity, social justice, and the protection
of the environment, churning out insightful comments on a great variety
of topics. These range from the looming crisis of mass extinctions, the
vivid contrast in successful efforts to curb ozone-depleting chemicals and
the failure to reduce green house gas emissions, and the need to replace
calculations of gross national production with a more meaningful well being
While "Living on Earth" has numerous creative ideas, the one I
found most innovative proposed increasing popular medical skills. This
would be done to reduce the impact of shock on victims of sudden illness.
A way to do this would be to provide training in first aid for people on
Since Nickerson's book has such wide scope, it is difficult to endorse all
of his prescriptions and analysis. One that I differ with is his account
of the breakup of Yugoslavia, which involved much more than the wiles of
the International Monetary Fund and the lust for Kosovo's lead, which is
Despite minor glitches, the fundamental soundness of Nickerson's analysis
can be seen in his description of a state in India that is free of the racial
and religious bigotry and violence that scars so much of the world. This
is the state of Kerala, which, as the author notes, has achieved "European
standards of health and literacy, along with population stability, all on
an average of $330 per year."
Kerala's success shows the solution to the horrific environmental impacts
of automotive use, which, as the author reveals, accounts for two-thirds
of the oil consumption of the United States, a country that has shown willingness
to go to war over threats to its petroleum supply. Kerala's thirty million
people are a good example of the majority of the world, which, as Nickerson
calculates amount to eight out of nine people, who do not have cars.
Kerala's success in literacy and health care is a compelling example of
how Nickerson's bold prescriptions do offer a sustainable path to the future.
Having high literacy and life expectancy, with virtually no cars, in a state
with a population equal to Canada's, illustrates the truth of his message
that there is no need for pessimism, which is the greatest obstacle to triumph.
There is indeed, "much cause for hope."
Reviewed by John Bacher, a St. Catherines environment and peace activist.
How to order this book.
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