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Economics Unmasked: From Power and Greed to Compassion and the Common Good Paperback – February 1, 2011
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“An inspiring statement that there is an alternative to the hollow dreams of globalisation.” —Molly Scott Cato, economics spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales
About the Author
Philip B. Smith was an American-Dutch experimental physicist. He taught for eight years in Brazil as a McCarthy-era exile, and later joined the University of Groningen as a professor of physics. Manfred Max-Neef is a Chilean-German economist in the field of international development. His key works are From the Outside Looking In: Experiences in 'Barefoot Economics' and Human Scale Development, the latter declared by the University of Cambridge as one of the 50 most important books on sustainability. He taught at the University of California–Berkeley and is currently director of the Economics Institute of the Universidad Austral de Chile.
Top Customer Reviews
In this book Max-Neef makes the crucial point of our time: "economics should serve people, not people serve the economy."
This book took me back to my first weeks in Micro-economics 101, a class that never made sense to me. I kept wondering: "where are they getting these numbers? Can you quantify something like that? How can you assume that's what everyone wants?" In addition my libertarian teacher assured me NAFTA had made everyone's life better, and that wages had risen. When I asked how in a deindustrialized place like Michigan you could ever suggest such a thing, he replied: "well, it hasn't happened yet, but it will."
Thus my introduction to one of our country's most esoteric of religions: economics. "It's not that our models are faulty--they're just not accurate enough yet." Maybe Jesus didn't make it on our last prediction of his return, but it turns out we miscalculated.
Max-Neef makes the startling point that eventually rising GDP leads to falling quality of life for the average citizen after a certain point. He contrasts "development" and "growth," and finds the US to be an underdeveloped nation. Max-Neef charts the basic needs of human beings in an all-encompassing and complex way, rather than assuming if we're not starving to death and have plenty of cheap, child labor-produced clothes at Target to buy, we are by default developing.
I found myself, just as I did during the interview on Democracy Now!, saying "YES! YES!" out loud. This book dares you to imagine what could be, rather than just assume the exploitation of human beings and the environment is just a fact of life.
With climate change and oil shocks on the way, it's time for a new model, not a more accurate version of the old one.
The other version of capitalism is that of Adam Smith. Smith's version of capitalism is based on Virtue ethics. A great abyss exists between Virtue ethics and Utilitarian ethics. The title of their book indirectly refers to both types of ethical systems. The Good Samaritan represents Smith's version of a successful capitalist and leads to compassion and the common good.
The authors need to make this distinction more clearly and forcefully in another, future edition of their book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enlightening analysis and perspective on the problems of economic beliefs through the ages, emphasizing the erroneous beliefs we've made since the industrial revolution and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by JDOT
A fresh perspective on the possible, more humane world through a kind and considerate economic system. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Victor M. Cruz
A truly masterful and information filled exposition on the workings of the Economic System.
P. Read more
AN easy read; explains in plain english the human frailty of more more and more.We live to share. read and learn.Published on May 17, 2014 by walter deets
Good book, good delivery, I can't wait to read it all. This is a very good book that will make you understand economics in a very easy way.Published on March 21, 2014 by Camila H.
A dense but very well informed look at the economic situation of not just the US but the world. A glimmer of hope in a world of darkness which I would call just about right in... Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by dominic
I bought this book back in 2010, and so I will not try to go into much detail. It was a great read if you're into the subject matter and want to learn more. Read morePublished on August 22, 2013 by Zayd Derweesh
This is one of the very few books that address the very damaging way of conceiving and teaching Economics today. This books help fill many gaps with current economical thinking. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Oscar Sierra