Three Books on Restructuring Global Economics
Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World
The Just Market
Langdon Street Press, 2014
We Make the Road by Walking
Brian D. McLaren
Jericho Books, 2014
Global capitalism is destroying the life support system of the planet. Meanwhile, the capitalist ethos of materialism, individualism, and selfishness is destroying the ethical foundations of our families, friendships, and communities. Even so, the fantasies of “reform from within” persist, and anticapitalist critique is widely dismissed as pointless rhetoric. Even sensitive and well-intentioned people have come to believe that “socially responsible business” holds the key to transforming the world for the better.
All the more reason to cherish these three books. Read together, they provide a valuable foundation for spiritual progressives who are looking for new ways to express the fundamental need to restructure our global economic and political arrangements in accord with the values of love, generosity, environmental sanity, peace, social justice, and nonviolence.
We regret not having previously hailed Michael Edwards’s brilliant exposition of why businesses won’t save the world, no matter how principled their founders or their boards of directors. As Edwards points out, “The best results in raising economic growth rates while simultaneously reducing poverty and inequality come when markets are subordinated to the public interest, as expressed through government and civil society.” Read this book together with Jerry Mander’s classic, The Capitalism Papers, and you’ll be able to help your friends throw away their fantasies of maintaining their liberal ideals while eating a rich pro-capitalist diet.
In The Just Market, Jonathan Brandow demonstrates that the Torah provides a solid foundation for a critique of the modern capitalist economy. Addressing issues as broad as employment, profits, a level playing field, and respect for labor, Brandow demonstrates an astute knowledge of how ancient wisdom works to rectify the distortions of the contemporary market society.
Brian D. McLaren, an evangelical Christian, reports on a yearlong quest for deepening spiritual wisdom. In We Make the Road by Walking, McLaren continues his tradition of bringing to life the revolutionary readings of the Christian tradition that were begun by Jesus, revived by liberation theology, and that now find expression in the nondenominational movement of Red Letter Christians. The profound thinking in this book will be inspiring to Christians and non-Christians of every variety. McLaren is a spiritual progressive whose insights are at once accessible and revolutionary.