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The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values in an Age of Techno-Affluence Paperback – November 13, 2001
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What is my life for? As affluence spreads ... hundreds of millions of people will be asking just this question. That they can ask it is in and of itself a great moral achievement, because it opens up to innumerable ordinary people the avenues of human fulfillment that were previously open only to aristocrats. Yet at the same time it is a strangely disquieting question, because there is no complete answer to it within the modern techno-capitalist framework.The Founders promised "the pursuit of happiness," but they didn't explain where happiness can be found, or even what it is. D'Souza argues that it must not be found in materialism--in both the consumerist sense of the word as well as the philosophical one. In a time of unprecedented prosperity, of course, the temptation is to find happiness exactly there, and the threat is profound: materialism may "transform our very nature as human beings and possibly introduce a new species in the world, the posthuman." D'Souza does not welcome this prospect (and consequently sounds very conservative indeed). The Virtue of Prosperity is a bold and thoroughly engrossing book. Readers won't need to agree with every one of D'Souza's points to find his many digressions fascinating. Whether he's writing about an extravagant Silicon Valley party, describing the ideas of Richard Dawkins, or making a casual reference to Marcus Aurelius, he's at once erudite and accessible. It's not always clear where he's going with his ideas until he gets there, but he makes the journey a pure joy. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
arguments in favor of and against rapid growth in technology and
capitalism. He then takes on the difficult task of creating common
ground among the diverse positions, and has some success in putting
the first rope ladders across this abyss of discord. Even though the
permanent bridge remains to be built, getting those rope ladder across
is worth five stars.
The best parts of the book are his interviews
with prominent figures and thinkers in both camps. Their candid
comments and actions will often leave you laughing. If the subject
wasn't so important, this book could have easily been turned into a
satire along the lines of Candide about the optimism of
the"techno-capitalist" (today's equivalent of Dr. Pangloss
as seen in the form of people such as Ted Turner, Bill Gates, and
Mr. D'Souza clearly tilts more toward the
techno-capitalists than toward their critics, except when it comes to
applying bio technology to pick the traits of one's children. So
don't look for a "down the middle" splitting of
differences.D'Souza takes a typical economic approach in most cases of
"the most good for the most people, net of the
Techno-capitalists have their good sides as
characterized by D'Souza. They often contribute money to worthy
causes, they can improve the rate of economic development, they
sometimes create new resources for society, and they often solve
problems. In fact, being successful means that techno-capitalists
have to behave in ways that help someone else. Capitalism thus has a
self-reinforcing positive aspect to it.Read more ›
D'Souza points out early in his book that techno-capitalism in the present age has created enormous inequalities, has undermined families and communities, and has all but destroyed many of our (previously) most cherished values. He asks the question "how can we learn to be happy with out 'success'?"
Well, being sponsored by the unabashedly right-wing, pro-capitalism American Enterprise Institute (a Washington, D.C. "think tank" dedicated to telling it the way right-wingers think it is), Mr. D'Souza doesn't really join the attack on what's happened to equality, families, communities, and values. He is rather an unabashed apologist for "aren't these great times" crowd. After all, he's been on their payroll since finishing Dartmouth in the early 80's (and prepared for it by working as a student staffer on the infamous DARTMOUTH REVIEW, then America's most famous conservative student publication).
Even so, agree with Mr. D'Souza or not, he does raise many very intelligent and interesting questions, and provides a generous amount of space in his 284 page book for the opposing side to tell its story.Read more ›
D'Souza is scrupulously balanced in forthrightly presenting both sides of the argument. The arguments themselves aren't new; the rigor with which D'Souza analyzes them quite possibly is. Does technological capitalism ultimately degrade the soul? We have all heard the liberal economic critique of the gap between the rich and poor. How does the emerging conservative critique of the social consequences of inequality stack up in comparison? D'Souza discusses these questions briskly and adroitly. Often while reading the book, I would find myself thinking of possible counter-arguments to the views presented on any given page and invariably found them echoed a turn or two of the page later.
More than most defenders of the marketplace, D'Souza does take very seriously the notion that the new prosperity may hinder our search for spiritual meaning. The case for either sides of this often demagogued controversy is clouded by the fact that one's economic good fortunes don't seem to guarantee either frustration or inner fulfillment. For every white collar criminal, there is a young man who is moved to depravity by hunger or poverty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ahead of its time. Dave Brooks (Bobos in Paradise) needs to transfer a fair share of his payday from that bestseller to Dinesh, as there's just too much identical material to be a... Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by R. Oswald
Dinesh D'Souza follows fellow Reagan alumni George Gilder by peering into the world of all things high tech. Read morePublished on June 27, 2012 by King of Controversy
The theme of this book is about finding values in Techno Affluence. This
book excites you about our future. Read more
It is an extremely good book. It does not make for casual bed-time reading as it discusses involved and abstruse concepts in a thoughtful, nuanced manner and consequently demands... Read morePublished on April 2, 2008 by Sutirtha Bagchi
Bear in mind that Mr. D'Souza's book was written a year or so before the double horrors of 9-11 and Enron. Read morePublished on April 11, 2006 by OrlandoN
I like Dinesh D'Souza. If you don't you probably won't like this book because he writes from himself with passion for his topic and point of view. Read morePublished on August 2, 2004 by Craig Matteson
Dinesh did it again with this piece of literary genius! Well maybe it isn't genius, but it is informative and entertaining. Read morePublished on October 7, 2003 by Kevin Smith
Business people rank among the biggest victims of unfair criticism. Blamed for greed, exploitation and selfishness, business people generally fail to defend themselves or assert... Read morePublished on May 1, 2003 by caroline miranda