Sacred Economics

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2011-07-12
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
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Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme-but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being. This book is about how the money system will have to change-and is already changing-to embody this transition. A broadly integrated synthesis of theory, policy, and practice, Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. Author Charles Eisenstein also considers the personal dimensions of this transition, speaking to those concerned with "right livelihood" and how to live according to their ideals in a world seemingly ruled by money. Tapping into a rich lineage of conventional and unconventional economic thought, Sacred Economics presents a vision that is original yet commonsense, radical yet gentle, and increasingly relevant as the crises of our civilization deepen.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
The Economics Of Separationp. 1
The Gift Worldp. 3
The Illusion of Scarcityp. 19
Money and the Mindp. 33
The Trouble with Propertyp. 49
The Corpse of the Commonsp. 69
Cultural and Spiritual Capitalp. 70
The Strip-Mining of Communityp. 75
The Creation of Needsp. 79
The Money Powerp. 88
The Economics of Usuryp. 93
An Economic Parablep. 95
The Growth Imperativep. 100
The Concentration of Wealthp. 104
Wealth Redistribution and Class Warp. 111
Inflationp. 117
More for You Is Less for Mep. 121
The Crisis of Civilizationp. 125
The Turning of the Agep. 141
Money: Story and Magicp. 141
Humanity's Coming-of-Age Ordealp. 148
The Economics Of Reunionp. 157
The Story of Valuep. 159
The Law of Returnp. 173
Currencies of the Commonsp. 185
Negative-Interest Economicsp. 203
History and Backgroundp. 206
Modern Application and Theoryp. 214
The Debt Crisis: Opportunity for Transitionp. 228
Thinking for the Futurep. 231
More for Me Is More for Youp. 242
Steady-State and Degrowth Economicsp. 249
Sustainability Reconsideredp. 249
Transition to Steady-State: Bump or Crash?p. 252
Shrinking Money, Growing Wealthp. 258
Disintermediation and the P2P Revolutionp. 262
The Social Dividendp. 267
The Paradox of Leisurep. 267
The Obsolescence of "Jobs"p. 272
The Will to Workp. 277
Who Shall Remove the Garbage?p. 283
Local and Complementary Currencyp. 291
The Catch-22 of Local Currencyp. 294
Experiments in Local Moneyp. 303
Reclaiming the Credit Commonsp. 308
Transition to Gift Economyp. 317
Summary and Roadmapp. 331
Negative-Interest Currencyp. 332
Elimination of Economic Rents, and Compensation for Depletion of the Commonsp. 334
Internalization of Social and Environmental Costsp. 336
Economic and Monetary Localizationp. 338
The Social Dividendp. 340
Economic Degrowthp. 342
Gift Culture and P2P Economicsp. 344
Living The New Economyp. 347
Relearning Gift Culturep. 349
Nonaccurnulationp. 365
Right Livelihood and Sacred Investingp. 379
The Dharma of Wealthp. 379
Robbing Peter to Pay Paulp. 382
Old Accumulations to New Purposesp. 390
Right Livelihoodp. 396
Working in the Giftp. 401
Trusting Gratitudep. 401
Business in the Giftp. 406
The Sacred Professionsp. 412
Community and the Unquantifiablep. 419
A New Materialismp. 427
Conclusion: The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Tell Us Is Possiblep. 437
Appendix: Quantum Money and the Reserve Questionp. 447
Bibliographyp. 459
Indexp. 465
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