In This Review

Social Limits to Growth
Social Limits to Growth
By Fred Hirsch
Harvard University Press (for the Twentieth Century Fund), 1976, 224 pp.

This highly original book makes a compelling argument that affluence, by creating a kind of congestion (much more than simple crowding), limits the welfare attainable by society as a whole. The choices that the market offers the individual never embody the real alternatives that result from everyone's wanting more or less the same thing. Ingenious arguments about public and private consumption, "positional" goods, the national accounts and even sex make for stimulating reading and challenge some fundamental elements of standard liberal thought.