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Short Circuit

Strengthening Local Economics for Security in an Unstable World

By: Richard Douthwaite

Publication Date: March 1995


Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economics for Security in an Unstable World by Richard Douthwaite

‘‘No lasting solutions to the problems of war, social disorder and environmental degeneration can be found without abandoning the high-energy, high-mobility, intensively individual style of life developed by the advanced industrial nations.’’Malcolm MacEwan (1911-1996)

With the deregulation of international trade and a free movement of capital, the world economy is more unstable than ever and liable to economic collapse. So precarious is it that it should no longer be relied upon to provided all the goods, fuel, food and services we need to live. As unemployment rises in every industrialized country, increasing numbers are excluded from participation in the market economy and face the reality of a world without job security.

The solution proferred by Short Circuit is that each community should develop an independent economy capable of restoring full employment to its area and ensuring the supply of goods and services should the mainstream economy collapse. The book demonstrates how this can be done by supplying details of local energy-generation, currency, banking and food-supply systems.

It contains case-studies of local communities at work in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, as well as in Britain and Ireland.

Extensively illustrated and referenced, this annotated guide will identify sources of more specific information, and appeal to all concerned with how competitive forces are squeezing the life out of their environment. More broadly, it demonstrates how power can be returned to the community.

Richard Douthwaite is author of the much-acclaimed The Growth Illusion (1992). In Short Circuit he applies the critique put forward in that seminal work.

‘Makes the case for relocalising economies, shows some of the ways we might do it. Makes alternatives seem possible.’ Customer review


‘A fierce and unrelenting critique of the failures of laissez-faire capitalism…I commend The Growth Illusion to all.’ The Sunday Tribune

‘Here’s an economist who can entertain, blowing the whistle on consumer idiocies… After reading  Douthwaite’s vivid and convincing case studies it becomes impossible to hear a politician promising ‘recovery’…without feeling mingled pity and contempt.’— The Independent on Sunday


Richard Douthwaite is the author of three books on economic and energy issues: The Growth Illusion, The Ecology of Money and Short Circuit.

Also available as an ebook
Weight 0.75 kg
Dimensions 135 × 216 mm
Publication Date

March 1995


Paperback, 320pp