Chelsea Green Publishing

Lean Logic

Pages:656 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations
Size: 7 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603586481
Pub. Date August 03, 2016

Lean Logic

A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It

By David Fleming
Edited by Shaun Chamberlin
Foreword by Jonathon Porritt

Availability: In Stock

Hardcover

Available Date:
August 03, 2016

$50.00

Lean Logic is David Fleming’s masterpiece, the product of more than thirty years’ work and a testament to the creative brilliance of one of Britain’s most important intellectuals.

A dictionary unlike any other, it leads readers through Fleming’s stimulating exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, being made up of four hundred and four engaging essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The threads running through every entry are Fleming’s deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural— on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. A society that provides a satisfying, culturally-rich context for lives well lived, in an economy not reliant on the impossible promise of eternal economic growth. A society worth living in. Worth fighting for. Worth contributing to.

The beauty of the dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw connections without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. Each entry carries intriguing links to other entries, inviting the enchanted reader to break free of the imposed order of a conventional book, starting where she will and following the links in the order of her choosing. In combination with Fleming’s refreshing writing style and good-natured humor, it also creates a book perfectly suited to dipping in and out.

The decades Fleming spent honing his life's work are evident in the lightness and mastery with which Lean Logic draws on an incredible wealth of cultural and historical learning—from Whitman to Whitefield, Dickens to Daly, Kropotkin to Kafka, Keats to Kuhn, Oakeshott to Ostrom, Jung to Jensen, Machiavelli to Mumford, Mauss to Mandelbrot, Leopold to Lakatos, Polanyi to Putnam, Nietzsche to Næss, Keynes to Kumar, Scruton to Shiva, Thoreau to Toynbee, Rabelais to Rogers, Shakespeare to Schumacher, Locke to Lovelock, Homer to Homer-Dixon—in demonstrating that many of the principles it commends have a track-record of success long pre-dating our current society.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges ahead, but rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture.

-----

Recognizing that Lean Logic’s sheer size and unusual structure could be daunting, Fleming’s long-time collaborator Shaun Chamberlin has also selected and edited one of the potential pathways through the dictionary to create Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. The content, rare insights, and uniquely enjoyable writing style remain Fleming’s, but presented at a more accessible paperback-length and in conventional read-it-front-to-back format.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“A monumental achievement, David Fleming’s Lean Logic is an encyclopedic guide to the crisis of industrial civilization. I challenge anyone to read as much as a page of it without finding at least one insight worth serious reflection. Individuals, families, and communities will find it invaluable as a guide to navigating the troubled waters of the future.”--John Michael Greer, author of The Long Descent and After Progress

“The only scientific question left to us: how can we ensure a future for humanity? That includes: how do we free ourselves from capitalism, the form of social organisation that is destroying us? And how do we create something else? This book is a thoughtful and imaginative contribution to the debate about humanity’s future.”--John Holloway, sociologist; author of Change the World Without Taking Power and Crack Capitalism

“David Fleming’s eye was sharp, and his words had a way of getting right to the heart of the matter. This book is remarkable and scintillating; the product of a truly original mind.”--Paul Kingsnorth, cofounder, The Dark Mountain Project; author of The Wake

“In my words it's half encyclopaedia, half commonplace book, half a secular bible, half survival guide, half . . . yes, that's a lot of halves, but I hope you get the picture. I have never encountered a book that is so hard to characterise yet so hard, despite its weight, to put down. Lean Logic is neither a policy manifesto nor a dry technical guide. It's an incredibly nourishing cultural and scientific treasure trove.”--John Thackara, founder and director, Doors of Perception; author of How to Thrive in the Next Economy

“David Fleming was a walking encyclopaedia of ecological knowledge and wisdom. His brilliance, good humour, and deep insight were legendary and unforgettable. His writing, too, was of the highest calibre—witty, entertaining, profound, informative, and transformative. These books of his give us the opportunity to savour the great treasure that was his mind. To read them is to gain a superb education in ecology from one of the greatest masters in the field.”--Dr. Stephan Harding, resident ecologist, Schumacher College; author of Animate Earth

"A splendid smorgasbord, Lean Logic provides rare insight into some of the key issues of our time! Fleming's underlying vision of a future founded in a reclaimed richness of community, culture, and conversation is both heartening and timely."--Helena Norberg-Hodge, author of Ancient Futures; director of The Economics of Happiness

“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

“This is an extraordinary book, uncategorisable, driven by a great rolling intellectual curiosity. Fleming fathomed the depth of the mess in which we find ourselves and left us clues as to how we might find our way through that mess.”--Dougald Hine, cofounder, The Dark Mountain Project

“David Fleming’s lifework is nothing less than an encyclopedia of the timeless art of living, encompassing the art of building enlivening communities, the art of allowing the economy to serve life and creativity, and the art of unmasking invisible brainwashing. Fleming has written a guide to becoming an authentic individual and to recognizing toxic relationships on every level of material and personal exchange. This is a serious guide to health on every level of relationships and at the same time a deeply humorous read. Whether the breakdown of technical civilisation will come (as Fleming is convinced) or humanity will just carry on muddling through as always, this encyclopedia of manners, grace, and style will make the reader’s life more wonderful and thus inevitably help to build a saner society.”--Andreas Weber, PhD, author of The Biology of Wonder

“David Fleming was the soul of provocative, exciting, and creative thought, and it was always a thought-provoking and pleasure-promoting experience to meet him. Amongst many virtues, his approach to climate change and ecology embraced the commons. Seeing this as a solution, with collective decision-making leading to a better future, was at the heart of his work. I am sure that Elinor Ostrom, who won a Nobel Prize for her work on the commons, would have appreciated David's comment that putting government in charge of commons was like placing the fox in control of the chicken coop. It is so sad that David is no longer with us, but his words are; these books are full of insight and enjoyment. I hope his laughter and enlightenment spread far and wide through new readers as well as those of us familiar with his thoughts already.”--Derek Wall, author of Economics After Capitalism and the forthcoming Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals

“For me originality, passion, commitment, and sincerity are the words which describe David Fleming. All these qualities are present in his writing. His lifelong championing of Tradable Energy Quotas, one of the very few instruments which promote sustainable consumption in a progressive rather than regressive way thereby combining environmental gain with a simultaneous transfer of resources from richer to poorer people, propels him to an honoured place in the pantheon of green campaigners.”--Tim Yeo, former UK Minister for the Environment and Chair of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee

“Our current public discourse on such problems as resource depletion, climate change, and the economy is often hopelessly muddled; this book brings light and transparency. David Fleming didn’t tell us what to think but rather how to avoid cognitive fallacies that masquerade as reason. Lean Logic is an instant classic that was many years in the making, and it should be essential reading for environmentalists, economists, policy makers, and anyone who wants greater clarity in understanding the most important issues of our time.”--Richard Heinberg, senior fellow, Post Carbon Institute

“David Fleming gives a remarkable overview of our present situation and of possible future scenarios. His writing is clear, witty, insightful, and wise. Lean Logic is a delight to dip into, and every time I do so I feel refreshed. It is a work of genius.”--Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of The Science Delusion

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 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.

AUTHOR EVENTS

February 06, 2017

Shaun Chamberlin at Schumacher College

Schumacher College, United Kingdom | David Fleming

A week long course with Shaun Chamberlin, with Rob Hopkins, Mark Boyle, and Stephan Harding. “How should we live?” “What work should we do?” “How can we resource ourselves and each other?” It’s time to reclaim these questions from the economists. Sparked by the posthumous publication of Dr. David Fleming’s extraordinary book Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy (link is external), we invite you to an exploration of what ‘lives well-lived’ look like in this time of transition. Fleming’s work highlights that “most of human history was bred, fed and watered by another sort of economy. But the market has replaced, as far as possible, the social capital of reciprocal obligation, loyalties, culture and traditions with exchange, price and the impersonal principles of economics” As the market economy continues to crumble under the weight of its own impossible need for perpetual growth, we should admit that for all its destructiveness, we will miss its essential simplicity, the comforts it delivers to many and the freedoms it underwrites. And as 'austerity' bites and capitalism’s former largesse continues to shrink away, that future is becoming daily reality for ever more of us. Such a time brings fear and uncertainty, but also great possibility. The forces that have cocooned us are failing, but these are also the forces that constrained us. This is a time of loss and freedom, if we can minimise our dependence on the market and find sustenance with deeper roots. Now is the time to repair or replace the atrophied social and ecological structures on which most human cultures were built, as the basis for a nourishing, cohesive society that might survive the turbulent times to come. This is the story of our times, and living it imbues our days with meaning.

See all Events by this Author

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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.

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Lean Logic / Surviving the Future Set (2-Book Bundle)

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By David Fleming and Shaun Chamberlin

Two inspiring books for one price.

When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—upon which it is built. Knowing that collapse is the only possible outcome, he asked, and envisioned, “What will follow?”

In partnership with Fleming’s estate and his close friend and collaborator Shaun Chamberlin, Chelsea Green Publishing is publishing Fleming’s posthumous work—Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, with a foreword by Jonathon Porritt. Characteristic of Fleming’s wit, whimsy, and rebellion, he chose an all but bygone form—a written dictionary—to express his views of a future beyond industrial capitalism.

A dictionary unlike any other, Lean Logic leads readers through Fleming’s exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, comprised of more than 400 essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The beauty of the linked dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw attention to connections that might otherwise be overlooked (each definition contains pointers to related entries) without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. This also allows readers to follow a narrative that reflects their own inquisitive journeys.

And since Fleming’s death in 2010, Chamberlin found growing demand among fans of his work for a paperback version, to concisely present his rare insights and uniquely enjoyable writing style in a more conventional read-it-front-to-back format, perfect for readers discovering Fleming for the first time.

So, alongside Lean Logic, Chelsea Green is publishing Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, edited by Chamberlin, with a foreword by Rob Hopkins. The book’s subtitle hints at Fleming’s compelling alternative, and there is no doubt that his far-sightedness has become even more apparent over recent years. He foresaw the schisms and convulsions shaking the economies of Europe, and was among the first in the world to reveal the ongoing pressure on oil supply and predict the subsequent growth in “unconventional” oil and gas, with all its consequences.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges we face. But rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture. Ironically, the post-growth society Fleming envisioned can only come to pass after his death.

As Fleming writes in his introduction to Lean Logic, “The shocks of descent converging into our culture’s ‘climacteric’ will leave nothing in our lives unchanged. We cannot now avoid it, but it can be managed, mitigated, made survivable, recognised as our species’ toughest, but greatest, opportunity… We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

This bundled set offer is only available from Chelsea Green.

Available in: Quantity pack

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