What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.46
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $2.49 (17%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Monday, April 21? Order within and choose Two-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth Paperback


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.46
$7.08 $5.25

Frequently Bought Together

What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth + The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture + What Are People For?: Essays
Price for all three: $36.89

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; First Edition edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582436061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582436067
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The bulk of Berry’s new essay collection consists of older pieces, mostly from two out-of-print books, which complement the five new pieces in tone and substance. They are, altogether, the reasoned and insistent exhortations of a man with a cause who, rather than mellowing with age and wisdom, continues to grow in forcefulness and vision. The main thrust of the book is the proper ordering of economics, so that it addresses common human realities instead of the demands of financial systems. To support stable communities, from the household to the nation, economics should put nature foremost (“Virtually nobody,” Berry complains, “regards nature as an economic resource”), succeeded by land use, manufacturing, and consumption, in a four-part structure of valuation. Unsurprisingly to those who have followed Berry’s half-century of writing, reverence and stewardship are key qualities of spirit for such an economy. Moreover, like the great mid-twentieth-century cultural critic Paul Goodman, whom Berry acknowledges here, Berry proposes an agenda of concrete changes in agricultural policy to enable the reordered economy he so cogently describes. Invaluable counsel. --Ray Olson

Review

Praise for What Matters?

"The reasoned and insistent exhortations of a man with a cause who, rather than mellowing with age and wisdom, continues to grow in forcefulness and vision." —Booklist

Praise for Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community

"Read it with pencil in hand, make notes, and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here." —The New York Times Book Review

“Berry once again carves out a unique position in American social debate: not liberal (he hates big government), not conservative (he hates big corporations), not libertarian (he would balance individual rights with those of the commonwealth), but always sharp-tongued and aglow with common sense.” —Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
12
4 star
3
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 16 customer reviews
This is one of the most important books I've read.
MrETour
All of Wendell Berry's books are to be cherished and read and be put into practice.
Angel
Science can never fully comprehend it - it only measures its quantity or quality.
Muhammad Asad Khan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Muhammad Asad Khan on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is primarily written about and for local economies in USA; especially rural economies, its destruction and how it can be saved. While discussing them, he questions the motives, intentions and actions of industrial corporations, the "modern education", the stock market economy without getting vitriolic or sarcastic.
I have to say that initially some of you who will read it, may feel that Wendell Berry is bringing in Religion in this book and you might be put off by it. But I strongly suggest that you put that judgement aside and keep on reading. It will get more and more fascinating. It will also become clear what he means by the Kingdom or God or Greater Economy of which we are just a part. And this greater Economy has an order far more intricate than we can ever know. I love the example of topsoil - the foundation of our food source and how it is being decimated by modern agriculture, erosion etc. The magic of the topsoil is its ability to hold water well and yet simultaneously drain well. And its strength is made up by the life dying into it and by life living in it. Science can never fully comprehend it - it only measures its quantity or quality. Not its full working. Therefore Nature has a certain mystery that we must humbly accept. He calls simple solutions and package deals a myth created by big industrial corporations. Some nice quotes; "We think that shopping is a patriotic act, and a public service. We tolerate fabulous capitalists who think A BET ON A DEBT IS AN ASSET".
He then talks about local cultures, good forestry and good husbandry of our lands and animals. But despite knowing, we continue to massacre our lands with machines and make people obsolete and cause death of local cultures and bring suffering for the people.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
The more I read Wendell Berry, the more I love him, because he says exactly what I've tried to say, only he puts in more eloquently than I ever could. He accurately identifies the problems I've complained about underlying our recent economic doldrums, like vendors who sell promises at a profit and call it "finance," and a near-feudal gap between affluent capitalists and the workers who make their wealth happen.

But Berry isn't satisfied with near-term causes. The recent abusive "Total Economy," in which even our air and water is for sale, stems from a fundamental disconnect between traditional values of neighborliness and community, on the one hand, and an attitude that places monetary worth on everything on the other. We cannot build economic prosperity and phantasms of "growth" on systems that shift debt and despair to the future.

Our problems begin, in Berry's reckoning, with our loss of place, devaluing where we live, and the idea that the land on which we live exists as a consumable resource. When we believe the earth's gifts await our taking, we plunder our own future. When we trust government officials' centralized plans over our own hard-won knowledge of the land we steward, we yoke ourselves to visions that fundamentally don't include us.

Yet this synopsis misses the depth of Berry's insights. Berry keenly and patiently unwraps the official narratives that bind our thinking, showing how our common solutions rely on the same false assumptions that first created our problems. Though his agrarian insights may initially alienate urban readers, as we consider our own stewardship, we realize how culpable we are for our current state, and how responsible we are to the future.

Berry tells the truths we need to hear, even when they sting.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Kramer on March 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Wendell Berry is one of my touchstones and again he didn't fail me in this book. I finished the book saddened however because his thoughts and warnings over the past 20+ years have not been heeded and the effect of Economics on communities and individuals has been much more damaging than he imagined or feared.

I would have given the book 5 stars, but there were a couple of essays that I didn't connect with and I skipped over them. The essays I connected with spoke truth and common sense as always.

"The only true and effective 'operator's manual for spaceship earth' is not a book that any human will ever write; it is hundreds of thousands of local cultures."

In the essay "Economy and Pleasure" Berry the effect of Economics under the guise of altruism still has the same ruinous effect on communities and individuals. "This work has been done, and is still being done, under the heading of altruism:Its aims, as its proponents never tire of repeating, are to 'serve agriculture' and 'to feed the world'. These aims,as stated, are irreproachable;as pursued, they raise a number of doubts. Agriculture, it turns out, is to be served strictly according to the rules of competitive economics. The aim is 'to make farmers more competitive' and 'to make American agriculture more competitive'. Against whom, we must ask, are our farmers and our agriculture to be made more competitive? And we must answer, because we know:Against other farmers, at home and abroad. Now, if the colleges of agriculture 'serve agriculture' by helping farmers to compete against one another, what do they propose to do to help the farmers who have been out-competed? Well, those people are not farmers anymore, and therefore are of no concern to the academic servants of agriculture.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa51af8ac)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?