Perhaps I should begin by noting that since I have been following Smaje on this site, and was already in agreement with his theses before I read his book, some might say I’m biased. There was very little I disagreed with; however, there was quite a bit I didn’t know. I’m glad I have a paper copy, as I will be rereading it and using it in discussion.
Before getting into the parts of the book, I will say something about the level of diction; it requires continuous attention to follow the thread of often complex argument. This is not a book to read over a long period, or while doing other things.
In the first chapter, Smaje delineates “ten crises”: population, climate, energy, soil, stuff, water, land, health and nutrition, political economy, and culture (yes, it’s quite a long chapter). In the course of discussing these issues he makes the case that we can’t just stumble on with business as usual—that won’t be possible much longer. Then in the rest of the book he argues that a small farm future is the best of possible responses to these crises, the best way to negotiate a future that avoids the inequality that plagues us today, and often has in the past, as well as to repair the ravages inflicted on our only planet by neoliberal capitalism and industrial farming. Yes–he takes on capitalism.
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