Rubbish is something we ignore. By definition we discard it, from our lives and our minds, and it remains outside the concerns of conventional economics. However, this book explores the dynamics through which rubbish can re-enter circulation as a prized commodity, in many cases far exceeding its original value. Antiques, vintage cars and period homes, after being discarded as valueless, can, even after many years, become priceless.
First published in 1979, Rubbish Theory has become foundational in its field. Today, it is as relevant as ever. This edition includes a new afterword revealing how the consequences of our compulsion to discard are far from inevitable, and going on to explore how we can transform our troublesome wastes into valuable resources.
Michael Thompson is a Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford. He is the author of Rubbish Theory (Pluto, 2017).
Foreword by Josh Reno Preface Introduction to the new edition 1. The filth in the way 2. Stevengraphsyesterday's kitsch 3. Rat-infested slum or glorious heritage? 4. From things to ideas 5. A dynamic theory of rubbish 6. Art and the ends of economic activity 7. Monster conservation 8. The geometry of credibility 9. The geometry of confidence 10. The needle's eye Afterword Notes Index