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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
The most important contribution of this book is that it presents an alternative to the free market economy we have taken for granted.
Especially after the fall of communism, most people have taken capitalism as the given order of life instead of seeing it for what it really is: An economic system that is dominant at a given point of time. 'After Capitalism' shows us that there are alternative ideas out there, and presents those ideas with force and power, backed up by support of some of the most powerful alternative thinkers of our age, such as Noam Chomsky, P.R. Sarkar and Johan Galtung.
Whether you are a staunch free market supporter or a member of the anti-globalisation movement, this book is important for any person who seriously wants to analyse the issues at hand.
If you are a free market supporter, you will find that 'the other' view is actually based on well founded facts and rational ideas, and not just on thoughtless rebellion without a proper ideology. If you do not understand people of different views, it is hard to argue with them!
If you are already critical to the current economic system, you will find here a wealth of information and theories to shape your thoughts and ideas and discover alternatives to the present system.
In either case, it is an important book that I strongly recommend that everyone interested in the current state of the world should read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
After Capitalism is the best introduction to Proutist Economics available. It clearly explains Prout, a comprehensive theory on the building of a sustainable economy with principles founded on spirituality and the ethics of Neohumanism (a post-humanist philosophy which acknowledges the intrinsic value of all animate and inanimate beings). This book offers a critique of capitalism as being underpinned by a materialist worldview and fostering global socio-ecological malaise. The author posits that economics should facilitate spiritual growth but capitalism cannot do this. The author uses a breadth of multinational and multicultural examples to explain the global systemic crisis. This book also aims to inspire readers through a call to action. We are encouraged to "hope for a world system of a very different kind" by Noam Chomsky. The author suggests that the change we desire and hope for can be achieved by focusing on the vision of Prout and taking initial steps such as research, information dissemination, networking, community building, and protesting. After Capitalism is an enjoyable read which spans the depth of the Prout vision and communicates current global efforts to bring about socio-ecological justice. This book is a great source of hope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
After Capitalism presents a comprehensive and realistic alternative to the destructive capitalist system. It has a strong base in spirituality, yet remains focused on practical solutions that we can all work towards. I particularly liked the emphasis on justice and equality, as well as the stress on empowerment and celebration of cultures.
The book is well written and researched, and filled with interesting examples and case studies. I believe that PROUT's ideas need to be seriously considered as we work together to build a better world.
After Capitalism is a must read for anyone invloved or interested in anti-globalization, social justice, environmental issues, cooperatives and sustainable development. A truly inspiring and thoughtful book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Reading this book I was struck by the ease with which it drives home a profound truth: socio-economics so far emphasized mostly if not only the economic perspective of suppliers or consumers. Prout on the other hand seems to be integrated with or is in harmony with all sciences of life; ecology, the social, politics, culture, the spiritual, you name it. The first economic theme of Prout is security -- providing all with a minimum purchasing capacity while generating enough surplus to keep the most industrious happy up front with the rest of us keeping up the middle and the rear equally happy. In this way the total economy is kept expanding while all individuals are catered for and progressing at a maximum individually and collectively. The magical key to this wonderful feat of universal good is Prout's spiritual base. It is this basic universal feeling or spirit of Prout that shines throughout the poignant treatise on a roaring socio-economic alternative to present capitalism. Dada Maheshvarananda goes through the standard proutistic motions of the forthcoming collapse of global capitalism (with some interesting examples on international lending, WalMart, and Brazil's and Argentina's economies), explaining the dynamics of economic depressions. This is followed by a lucid discussion on the basics of Prout, its socio-cultural-spiritual base and concept of maximum utilization and rational distribution of all resources and potentials. This section includes a clearly deep-felt contribution by Dr. Leonard Boff on Prout's concept of balanced dynamics, where the liberation theologist of fame gives the word integration a total makeover when delineating Prout's physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. This is one of the book's several nice features: specialists from various corners of the world, including Prof. Johan Galtung of the Euopean Peace Institute, contribute to constructing a universal vision on how the Earths resources may be utilized progressively and distributed rationally for the good and happiness of all. The book's concentrated overview blooms in diversity and points the direction to more thematic works on Prout. On the whole this is an easily read and highly informative introduction to an amazing socio-economic theory that promises a bright future in any area of life really. If you thought that capitalism may be the final word, then this book will make you think again. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Poverty, inequality, repression, ecological devastation, on and on. We've become accustomed to living with long-standing problems that defy solutions. It should be apparent that current systems are simply not serving us. We need to start "thinking outside the box".
Dada Maheshvarananda has taken that step in this book, in which he outlines the visionary social and economic theories collectively known as Prout, from the Indian thinker P.R. Sarkar. What makes this book stand out among previous expositions of Sarkarian thought is its thoroughness and how deftly the theories are related to current social problems and conflicts
Prout is a wide-ranging theory that includes a new understanding of historical evolution. It proposes practical systems to achieve a free and just society that fosters the potentialities of all human beings through economic democracy, cooperative-based enterprises, limits to inequality, and respect for diverse cultures as well as the natural world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
It doesn't take too much investigation to see that capitalism isn't working. Some may talk about the positive effects of the capitalist paradigm, but the negatives are far greater, and continue to grow in number. People talk about the problem, and offer partial solutions. To my mind, "After Capitalism" provides accurate insight into the predicament of human society in the 21st century. It also gives the reader a glimpse of a new socio-economic system (PROUT - Progressive Utilisation Theory), that has the collective welfare of humanity,and the planet as its central focus. What I found truly inspiring reading Dada Maheshvararanda's book, were the numerous examples of "Prout in action" all around the world. This is the living proof that an alternative to capitalism is not only a possibility, but an inevitability.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been really inspired by reading this book.
It offers such a clear vision of how society could be structured in a way that reflects the highest ideals of humanity. I think this book and the model of 'Prout' that it describes will go down in history as one of the most important contributions to society! This book is for all those people who want to lead society out of the mess it's in toward a society based on working collectively for the common good of all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
There are many futurists and futurist books critiquing the excesses and failures of Capitalism and Communism. Most thinkers and most philosophers are unable or unwilling to express an alternative socio-economic vision which deviates too much from orthodox notions of both of these ways of forming society and the world. Indeed, many who are weary of the incredible failures of Capitalism in providing a sustainable, livable world for the benefit of the majority of the people of the planet contemplate the old theories of Karl Marx, those of Anarchism, or other models of socialism since there haven't been developed any other major practical alternatives...until now. "After Capitalism" introduces a new theory of Prout, as a progressive, rational, and inspired vision of how our economic life could be while offering practical solutions which may be able to avoid the conflicts and contradictions with Capitalism and Communism.
Within this book one finds out that a Proutist society presumes a spiritual base, a spiritual understanding of human beings and their relation to the world. It is from this vision that the economic aspect and theory of Prout springs. The Progressive Utilization Theory-- of which "Prout" is the acronym-- has at its base a spiritual understanding of Humankind having notions of a universal family of men and women, and also all human beings with all entities of the natural world. The implications of this are immense and, perhaps, hard to appreciate in a materialistic culture. But the logic of such a world view flows easily and naturally. For instance, for revolutionary spiritual moralists--called in this book, "sadvipras" (ideal intellectuals)--,ones who view all men and women as fundamentally brothers and sisters, it becomes extremely difficult to recognize why one class or group of people should be allowed to exploit others mercilessly in the economic, political, or any other realm. By the same token, if animals and plants and the environment of the world have existential value greater than their mere utility value for human beings' selfish whims and wishes, moral people and activists cannot accept unsustainable destruction of the environment threatening ecological balance, and eventually perhaps even the survival of the species. This view is in direct tension with the yardstick of evaluating the world in terms of profits and "costs" to business interests. Needless to say "After Capitalism" is a radical departure from books concerning conventional theories and philosophies which make property and wealth accumulation the most important value of the society, or theories which describe human beings only in their physical aspect, as crude matter.
The crux of the material offers practical solutions and suggestions based upon Prout's principles and theories, and also gives living examples of how and where some of these initiatives are taking place. It only briefly deals with a critique of Capitalism and examples of its problems. Discussed early on is the new paradigm "based on spiritual values". From this new paradigm flows naturally a few sensible values...like the right to live! and economic democracy, sustainable environmental policy, and later on a look at cooperatives. There are many well conceived ideas which are elaborated also. For example, within is P. R. Sarkar's (Founder of Proutist Universal and creator of the theory of Prout) methodology of "class" and "class struggle" which differ significantly from what the terms mean in convention usage. New concepts of ethics and justice, as well as the strengthening of local communities and culture are discussed as well as a look at Macro-history of what has been called the "Social cycle"--a new theory about the development of various cultures.
"After Capitalism" is geared toward progressive thinkers and potential activists who are disgruntled with the tremendous failures and hypocrisies of global Capitalism but also cannot accept totalitarian, centralized socialism in the hands of a single self-elected group as the only viable alternative. It's a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read. Its material is original, and its intent inspiring. For those with a humanitarian bent who yearn for a time when they will be able to actively organize a better world for their suffering brothers and sisters "After Capitalism" promises a lot and gives a vision worth aiming for. In fact it leaves one craving for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Capitalism is a system in crisis. We, the middle classes should know that by now. What we don't know is the history of abuse behind capitalism, what we fail to acknowledge is that not only third nations are being pillaged, but also the people of developed nations. Not long ago families with 6 or 7 kids were easily supported with the money one of the parents earned working 40 hours a week. Now both parents need to work to support two kids, what is going on? Is this progress? According to the media, it is.
We must inform ourselves about what is really going on and you won't find that watching TV. After Capitalism is a book for the layman to understand the most important flaws in Capitalism and why it can't be fixed. It also describes an alternative system based on local economies run by the people and for the people.
But it's not a book about the future, it's a book about the present. It's about our current alternatives as a society and as individuals. There IS a better way, and it starts today. It starts with every individual reading about reality and about what can be done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Visions of the future are often fanciful with no understanding of the weight of history, of structures that oppress. Or visions are overly detailed, becoming a burden on the creativity and the possibility of innovation for future generations.
However, in this book, Maheshvarnanada strikes a perfect balance.
As well, populist books on capitalism become lost in endless multinational conspiracy theory without an adequate understanding of the deeper structures and worldviews that underlie the origination of the capitalist system and its likely transforming in the mid-range future.
Again, Maheshvarnananda takes a balanced view and should be credited.
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