3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2010
The book that clarifies why it is so soul-destroying to be part of the 'rat race'. The title of this book leapt off the bookshelf at me amid a variety of books on organic farming, sustainable living and alternative politics in Gloucestershire. Because I am not a 'numbers' person, when I saw that this book uses mythological stories to unravel the application of economic models to human societies throughout history, I was drawn in. For people like me, who are very interested in being socially and politically active, but cannot make sense of numbers or political jargon, this book cites plenty of that kind of documentation but portrays the real life consequences of economic philosophy and social policy through stories about Hermes, Apollo, Hester and others and connects the stories with published research and Per Espen Stoknes' own opinions and experiences of life in a capitalist democracy (Norway) as well as describing conditions in the UK to illustrate the points he is making. Stoknes proposes that capitalism is akin to monotheism, and the reason Greek mythology is so useful is that it offers a view point which is polytheistic. This opens our minds to the possibility of money and other measures of value like health and connected communities, and Stoknes suggests that if the state powers would give more value to what he terms as 'social capital', by which he means time/skills/emotional connection in relationships and 'ecological capital', by which he means care for/reduction in harm to the environment, we could reflect upon our actions and choices in a more balanced and healthy way for the future, as well as empowering many currently disempowered people in the world to contribute and feel recognised for their contributions. This is, in my opinion, a book and a movement which could facilitate discussions, workshops and organised activities to bring more balanced energy and support into our scarily brittle structure dominated by monetary value. I hope that the more people who read it, the more likely we can begin to value and support alternative economies built on people and earth care principles, where we are connecting more with the soul of our activities rather than just the hard cash which is valued by the powers that be.