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  • The Day the World Stops Shopping

  • Written by: J.B. Mackinnon
  • Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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The Day the World Stops Shopping

Written by: J.B. Mackinnon
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
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Publisher's Summary

A Finalist for the 2021 Governor General's Award for Nonfiction

In a brilliant work of imaginative non-fiction, prize-winning author J.B. MacKinnon asks what would happen - to our economy, our ecology, our products, our selves - if we stopped consuming so much? Is that alternative world one we might actually want to live in?

"We can't stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma."     

The planet says we consume too much: in North America, we burn the Earth's resources at a rate five times faster than they can regenerate. And despite our efforts to "green" our consumption - by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power - we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions.     

The economy says we must always consume more, because, as we've seen in the pandemic, even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosures.      

Addressing this paradox head-on, J.B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stop shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering an economic collapse?      

At first, this question took him around the world, seeking answers: from America's big-box stores, to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia, to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then his thought experiment came shockingly true, as the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt and MacKinnon's ideas were tested in real time.      

Drawing on experts ranging from economists to climate scientists to corporate CEOs, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain.      

Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will empower you to imagine another way.

©2021 J.B. Mackinnon (P)2021 Random House Canada

What the critics say

National best seller

Shortlisted for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction

“A well-researched and provocative analysis offering hope and optimism for our future.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

The Day the World Stops Shopping is a sweeping masterclass in global economics and the anthropology of consumer behaviour. The book is stunning for both its complexity and its clarity. MacKinnon is a deep thinker and a deft prose stylist...[and this book is] a deep, disturbing and thoroughly convincing investigation into the systems that support our addiction to consumption, and what we can do to arrest what is fundamentally an all-out attack on nature.” (The Tyee

“If the purpose of a thought experiment is to cast new light on familiar phenomena, the better to inspire a cascade of new thoughts on scarcely registered realities, J.B. MacKinnon certainly delivers in The Day the World Stops Shopping." (Maclean’s)

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So much to think about

I enjoyed listening to this portrayal of the possibilities and how they affect one another both positively and negatively.

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it gets you thinking

well presented and thought provoking. I enjoyed imagining along with the author. Being close to the pandemic slow down makes it easy to understand how this can happen. I really liked his reflective conclusion. I bought the book so that I could dive deeper.