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on 7 February 2013
I wrote a review for this book in my local magazine NowThen (Google "Sacred Economics, NowThen, Sheffield" for the full version complete with artwork: it's in issue 59). Here is an extract, plus some closing thoughts (Amazon has passed my censorship test if this gets published - due to reference to free (Creative Commons licensed) versions of this book):

"[... Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World provided a convincing vision of the future based on the disintegration of advanced civilisation due resource depletion.] The problem is that industrial civilisation shows no sign of slowing down, let alone of pressing the auto-disintegrate button any-time soon. On the contrary, hyper capitalism has proved to be a tough old bugger, akin to Wile E Coyote from Looney Tunes; it takes a hammering from every side yet always comes back to terrorise us again. Even after its founding assumptions are disproved and worldwide waves of protest decry its idiocy, the bastard just won't die. Land-grabs, adverts targeting children and new oil drilling techniques ensure that Greer's expectation, that the metaphorical Wile E will finally just top himself, is optimistic to say the least.

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein is equally visionary, but starts from a different premise; the monetary machine that directs human affairs has gone AWOL and now benefits no-one, least of all the degraded psychopaths at the top, who try in vain to control the beast. Like Greer, Eisenstein encourages de-monetising your life, focussing instead on true wealth; the people and environment that surround you. Unlike Greer, he believes in creating a much better world: "Are we so broken that we would aspire to anything less than a sacred world?"

This may seem utopian, but Sacred Economics provides pragmatic solutions at every level. Individuals can replace monetary relationships with real ones, buy less and re-use more. Communities can set-up social enterprises. And, when the current batch of growth-obsessed politicians get booted out of office, nations can implement a raft of sensible measures to exorcise the financial demons from our economy.

Sacred Economics is a cracking read that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you're not sure about beg-borrow-or-buying such a chunky lump of paper, you're free to grab every chapter of it from the internet, where it has been placed in its entirety under a Creative Commons licence at sacred-economics.com"

To this I would add that Eisenstein strays a little too far into the "sacred". (One example: "By the same token, by fostering within ourselves a realization of the sacredness inherent in materiality, and by aligning our work with that sacredness, we lay the social and psychic foundation of an economy in which more and more of the things we make and do for each other are beautiful, personal, alive, and ensouled." - Even ignoring the fact he invented the last word in that sentence it is nigh on possible to understand!) At this stage Eisenstein would have been well advised to stick to the concrete economic and pragmatic reasons why his suggestions are sensible. But this should not stop anyone from buying (or downloading, for free from his website) this generally very well written book. Clearly infinite economic growth is not feasible, and this book provides the best "non-collapse" narrative for dealing with it that I have read. Tim Jackson's "Prosperity without growth" ( Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet free online) provides the best political response I've read, and this links well with an emerging political/activist movement of Degrowth.

In summary please get this book and spread the message. You will not regret it for one moment.
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on 25 April 2012
What is difficult to understand in todays world is the fact that governments and corporations continue to "flog" the concept of growth or GDP, while we are all aware that we live on a finite planet. Charles Eisenstien very succinctly points this out together with many other of the monetary ills. He then offers several suggestions how we can make changes in ways that are closer to the better nature of the human spirit and at the same time practical. He recognises that this is not an overnight "fix", and is all part of the hopeful emerging greater consciousness of the human being. Yet anyone who wishes to start today there are suggestions. His analogy to the human race as having acted like children for several millenium, just taking and the fact it is time we mature into adults and start to give as we do to our children is powerful and makes a mature person sit up.
Every banker and corporate mogal should be made to read this book and if they still believe in thier ways then I would suggest councelling.
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on 2 May 2017
I haven't read much but what I have read I love. I am encouraged that there are such ideas around, it may be idealistic but something has to change. Encouraged also that when I was on a train and had it tucked under my arm, a complete stranger said, as I passed by, "That's a brilliant book!" The more people that open to ideas such as this, the better hope for humanity.
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on 5 September 2014
I want to give Eisenstein great marks for his courage to dream and his massive determination to figure out a better kind of economy. I think his vision of a gift-based, community-rich, environmentally restorative, human-potential driven future is basically what humanity needs. I even believe that these dreams will be realized to some extent in the decades to come. I wish him every success. But much of his book is a detailed critique of the financial system and a series of proposals for systemic changes in how money should work. And much of this I simply could not grasp. He explains why charging interest is inevitably inimical to human welfare, and why property itself is an artificial social construction. Then he proposes alternatives such as negative-interest economics, de-growth, or local and complimentary currencies. To me, these financial schemes seem highly abstract. I couldn't see how they would really work or what I might personally do about such things. The proposal of living by gifts was something obviously good, but I suppose it's up to each individual to try that approach a step at a time. I was left, as I probably should be, with attempting to answer Eisenstein's questions for myself. If he helped me to dream, I have to figure out my own steps toward those dreams.
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on 20 March 2017
One of the best and most informative books I have read on the subject - very clear, exciting, well-researched, and brilliantly written.
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on 4 May 2012
An inspiring and well written book. A book that can't help but make you think about the real value of community and 'the gift' in life. Sacred Economics goes further than just being thought provoking however, as it suggests practical ways people and governments can shape their local and national economies to cope with the economic realities of our modern times. It has also spurred me onto reading other works around the same theme such as Henry George's Progress and Poverty; a book that no doubt inspired Einstein. As an aside I found the introduction very useful for a total beginner of economics and all Charles' ideas and arguments were laid out and constructed in such a way that allowed me to attain a pretty good understanding (as far as I can tell!).
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on 11 August 2012
This book should be on the reading list of every economics degree in the country. Not only does it explain economics in ways that most ordinary people can understand (and even enjoy), it also explains it in ways that hardened economists will never have considered before. But its not just a book on economics, its also a book about life and ways which we can live together.
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on 23 October 2011
Not many people can get their heads around the complex issues that have brought our world to the sorry state it is in today. However Charles Eisenstein has managed to produce a coherent exposition of where we are at and what we can do about things to create a nicer fairer world.

For many this might seem utopian but then most original thinkers are considered utopian when they first present their ideas. Let us hope that we can indeed all make our own contributions to creating the world he sees.

A fine book and one all of us would benefit from reading

Enjoy!
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on 12 August 2013
Amazing read. For anyone with a conscience about where we may be heading in the future this book is a MUST read. If only to re-establish our position in the grand scheme of things.
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on 7 January 2014
No matter what your political affiliation it is virtually impossible to see the immense damage that our current moneycentric financial systems have had to our societies, cultures and the very planet that we live on.

If you feel uneasy about this basketcase known as World economy and the damage that 20th century economics has inflicted upon us then 'Sacred Economics' is a book that you really aught to read.

It begins with a look far back in human history and to a time when money worked to strengthen and enhance social connections instead of perverting and distorting them. The book then looks at the various options that might be available to us in order to redress this state of affairs and finally concludes with an examination of the new societies than need to be formulated around fairer systems of wealth creation and distribution.

This is a well written and researched book that is an illuminating read. It offers hope and a sense of optimism during these rather bleak days and should be deemed by anyone with a rational mind to be an important commentary on a corrupt, disruptive but fast decaying financial system.

Note
I was kindly supplied with a copy of this book for review by the publishers North Atlantic Books.
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