Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition (Anglais) Broché – 12 juillet 2011
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"This brilliant and beautifully written book is an indispensable must-read for all those who believe our economic system is terminally sick and in need of radical, sacred rehaul. Charles Eisenstein has the great gift of being able to make complex ideas both thrilling and inspiring. I hope this book begins a serious, worldwide conversation on how we can reinvent our attitude to money."
—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
"While political pundits, financial analysts and Occupiers fumble on how to transcend the intensifying global financial crisis, Eisenstein is trailblazing bold new ideas and possibilities for how we conduct monetary exchange."
—Jonathan Phillips, Huffington Post blog
"If you want a convincing account of just how deep the shift in our new axial age is and must be, look no further than this brilliant book by Charles Eisenstein, one of the deepest integrative thinkers active today."
—Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation
"With his breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, commitment, diligence, and sensitivity, Charles has become a beacon of hope for others. Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book that shines with wisdom of crucial importance to our troubled world today."
—Kamran Mofid, founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative
“[Sacred Economics] meticulously explains why our current system will inevitably give rise to cyclical and worsening economic crises. [Eisenstein] exposes the myths and lies that sustain power structure, the social and spiritual devastation in which we are all complicit, and lays the foundation for a way of thinking that can restore hope and help us emerge to a positive future. … Eisenstein’s book provides some of the most creative and hopeful ideas out there.”
—New Consciousness Review
“[Charles Eisenstein] puts his money where his mouth is. Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition is published under a Creative Commons copyright. … This arrangement, similar to that of open-source software, is a tiny sample of the economic system that Eisenstein predicts for our future. … Of course, a new economy means the old one needs to go. That would be scary news if not for Eisenstein’s optimistic way of describing the transition. He effectively argues that when we dismantle monetization, we give birth to community. Together, we can help noble impulses become profitable enterprises. Money may have caused our biggest problems, but redefining it could help us solve those same problems.”
"'If anything is sacred in this world, it is surely not money.' So says Charles Eisenstein, who believes that people can act outside of the money economy, despite the power it has over their lives."
"Eisenstein is no revolutionary or anarchist. In fact, he’s an evolutionary. While reading Sacred Economics, I realized I had not achieved an objective relationship with our money system. I don’t have money. It has me."
Also by Charles Eisenstein:
The Ascent of Humanity:
"Brilliant and original, with great depth of insight and understanding, Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity easily ranks with the works of such giants of our age as David Bohm, Julian Jaynes, Jean Gebser, Whitehead. It is a profoundly serious, indeed somber portrait of our times, even as it opens a door of honest hope amidst the dark destiny we have woven about us. Accept the challenge of this major accomplishment and discover the light shining within it."
—Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Magical Child, Evolution's End, and The Biology of Transcendence
"Quite marvelous, a hugely important work... This book is truly needed in this time of deepening crisis."
—John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive and Elements of Refusal
Présentation de l'éditeur
This book is about how the money system will have to change—and is already changing—to embody this transition. A broadly integrated synthesis of theory, policy, and practice, Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. Author Charles Eisenstein also considers the personal dimensions of this transition, speaking to those concerned with "right livelihood" and how to live according to their ideals in a world seemingly ruled by money. Tapping into a rich lineage of conventional and unconventional economic thought, Sacred Economics presents a vision that is original yet commonsense, radical yet gentle, and increasingly relevant as the crises of our civilization deepen.
Sacred Economics official website: http://sacred-economics.com/
About the Imprint:
EVOLVER EDITIONS promotes a new counterculture that recognizes humanity's visionary potential and takes tangible, pragmatic steps to realize it. EVOLVER EDITIONS explores the dynamics of personal, collective, and global change from a wide range of perspectives. EVOLVER EDITIONS is an imprint of North Atlantic Books and is produced in collaboration with Evolver, LLC.
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Lucidly written, the first part of the book explains the increasingly dysfunctional workings of the grow-or-die financial economy in great (and often reiterative) detail. For some, this will be tough sledding because his analysis undercuts the Chicago School of Economics ideology that is constantly beaten into our brains by the mainstream media. The material he integrates is abstract with many independent variables.
He makes crystal clear what some of us have known for a long time about the roots of poverty, climate change, environmental destruction, wealth concentration, the erosion of democracy, and the destruction of the human spirit under corporate rule. He carefully and logically deconstructs the arguments put forward by the spokespeople for the present system.
More importantly, he combs the entire history of the world for ideas and practices that have shown us the way out of the traps set by a money system based on artificial, contrived scarcities and the theft of the commons. In Chapter 17 he puts all these together as a symbiotic interconnected program for a peaceful transition to a stable, sustainable economy in harmony with Nature. If you find the previous chapters to be preaching to the choir (the book is 469 pages long) go directly here and then backtrack to pick up the pieces.
But he doesn't stop here, and that's where I think he begins to get himself in trouble. He questions the "meta-Stories" that we tell ourselves about who we are. I would paraphrase the essential point of his inquiry as, "What underlies the evolution of the present inhumane and ultimately destructive economic system?" He identifies the biblical dominionist vision of human "Ascent", the loss of our sense of universal interconnectedness, the transfer of the wealth of the commons into private property. He counters the view that--as a "rational actor"--man is innately selfish with the proposition that what I do to you I also do to myself. He decries our general neglect of the importance of qualitative experience such as the production and appreciation of beauty
So far so good. But at this point, his moral philosopher self takes over from his scholarly economist self. He proposes the eventual transition to a moneyless "gift economy" free of commodification and quantification. He holds that such economies free us from anxiety about scarcity when we have confidence that our freely given gifts will be returned with gifts that will satisfy our needs. This will strike many as an unrealistically sanguine view of human nature. We are an inherently unpredictable animal capable of schadenfreude or misanthropy unrelated to economic injustice. He goes even further to hold that the material world will come to be regarded as sacred, thus erasing the dichotomy between the material and the spiritual.
I have no need or desire to argue with him about the validity of his philosophical and spiritual insights. What bothers me is that he makes these views central to the goals of his transitional economics proposals--to the point of choosing "Sacred Economics" as his book's title--when his eminently practical proposals for transforming our financial operating system can stand on their own merits in service to a society merely looking for a way out of the traps it has set for itself.
Eisenstein identifies the many current local initiatives that seem to be leading to a self-organizing transition to a reemergence of harmony with Nature. By and large these efforts spring from an educated elite, or from indigenous populations who have retained important connections to Nature. In so doing he neglects the tremendous weight of a seven-billion strong global population dependent on the existing interlocking web of the corporate/government technostructure hell-bent on a lemming-like trajectory. He neglects the fact that the majority of the world's population can feel their subjugation but lack the wit or the conceptual tools to do anything about it. Such people cling in desperation to the known.
Finally, the notion that the material world will come to be regarded as sacred (thus erasing the dichotomy between the material and the spiritual) will be regarded by the billions-strong adherents of the ancient messianic religions as not only a threat to their beliefs but as a proposal for the triumph of secular humanism. Ironically, they will be strange bedfellows with those who--fearing theocracy--hold freedom of religion to be a most treasured tenet of the Bill of Rights. I worry that many who would otherwise be open to his practical proposals will reject them out of hand because of these fears.
Nevertheless, I must confess that I've found personal inspiration in being immersed in the notion of the importance of giving, and that his stress on the miraculous sacredness of our world gives his book a human warmth which it would otherwise lack. With some regret, I guess what I'm saying is--throw out Eisenstein's baby--but drink deeply of the bathwater.
Indeed, Eisenstein's work well predicts the current malaise and multiple crises the world is presently undergoing. Most importantly, Eisenstein shows us (and the world) the way through this mess and into a fundamentally more sane, more sound, and more soulful (sacred) economic system.
Do you ever wonder what will happen to the world in the next twenty to thirty years? This book will show you. Never has there been a more pressing time in history, and never has there been a book that so clearly shows us how we got here, what is unfolding before our eyes, and most importantly, where might we go from here? This includes, specifically, not just what will happen to our economic system if we are to survive, but what you and I can do starting today to make this more humane and bountiful future come into being.
I don't ordinarily review books, but am moved to do so because this is such a masterpiece of a book.
I will keep this short because the average person don't have time to read too many long reviews. I have no intention to expand on what others have already said about the book. While they had done a wonderful job, I don't think any summary or synopsis will do it justice. The ideas it covered are so radical and with so many ramifications that it will easily be dismissed by most as impractical and over-idealistic if read in snippets. Half way through my reading of it, I was still skeptical if ignorance, social conditioning and resistance could ever be overcome, but every chapter took me one step closer to believing that it's really the answer I had been waiting for. It's a manual for the future ! I have my work cut out for me. Everyone has a part to play and that's why everyone should read it. And like a manual, it has to be read from cover to cover !
Do you want to know how to protect yourself from our slow-motion train wreck that is the global debt-based economy? Read this book.
Do you want to obliterate any blocks you might have about money so that we might all share in abundance? Read this book.
Do you want to live your life as your soul intended? Read this book.
Are you prepared to unlearn everything you thought you knew about money? Read this book.
This is one of the most important books I've ever read. There were definitely some parts I didn't agree with at first reading. Some of it felt a little "utopia-ish" or "pie-in-the-sky." But then I got it. Eisenstein has seen not only the world that could be, but the world that IS BECOMING. He is a true modern day prophet. He has looked deeply at economics and discovered an understanding so deep that he has left me in awe.
This book forced me to confront and abandon many of my assumptions about the nature of reality, of humanity, and of myself. If you are like me and some of the book seems a bit unrealistic, I urge you, please keep an open mind until the end. It might just change your life. Eisenstein might just be seeing right into the heart of the world that is emerging in front of us.
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