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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occupy World Street: Food for thought, May 26, 2012
This review is from: Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform (Paperback)
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To start with, author Ross Jackson's Occupy World Street is a lot more impartial than this reader expected. Though it's subtitled "A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform," its neutrality is surprising.

It's entirely too easy to use this book to point fingers at the 1% and how they're enriching themselves at the expense of the 99% majority. Some may read it and mentally highlight how this book expounds on the central issues that are at the core of the Occupy Movement's list of grievances, and why democracy has failed in the US and other countries. Author Jackson does contend that "almost all the social ills plaguing modern society are a direct result of too great a disparity in income." Since the neo-liberal agenda of the '80s, the disparity continues to expand rather than shrink.

To correct these economic and geopolitical inequalities, the author looks to scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis and the overhauling of supranational institutions accordingly. Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis states that the earth is a self-regulating organism adjusted by a complex system of interdependent feedback loops. Ross Jackson is chairman of the Danish-based Gaia Trust foundation, and puts this vision of interdependence at the heart of a new, sustainable global economy.

This book is a first-rate introduction for anyone wondering how our global economy got to where it is now. Jackson provides a succinct overview of the role of the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as the policy changes that allowed monetary institutions to precipitate the 2008 financial meltdown and mortgage crashes. The author offers something for everyone to ponder, and though the first half makes for somewhat depressing read, the book does not flounder in culpability, finger pointing and hopelessness.

James Lovelock has recently admitted to being 'alarmist' about climate change, and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were as well. Lovelock recently said he would not take back a word of his influential 1979 work Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, yet of his The Revenge of Gaia, published in 2006, he said he had gone too far in describing what the warming Earth would see over the next century.

The parts of this book explaining the roles of the neo-liberal economic philosophy and the political elite are solidly presented and not really new. The program of change that the author proposes, however, is new and logically sound. But being logically sound is not sufficient to affect change. There is a breach between the ideas and what is necessary to activate people at the grassroots level, so it does seem to come across as somewhat utopian. Comparatively few people will read this book, regardless of various groups touting it as a "bestseller" that will be read by many. The ideas presented here need to be connected to mainstream understandings. And Ross Jackson recognizes that the roadmap proposed here needs much more development. It may be utopian and idealistic in some ways, but it's good food for thought.

5/26/2012
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Review Details

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John Williamson
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: NYC & Bucks County, PA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 153