I eagerly followed a link to “A Totally Different Way to Think About Economics – with Visionary Charles Eisenstein” (by Adam Parsons) hoping to find some foundations for the “fourth way” economics I keep hoping to find, because I don’t think I am smart enough to invent it on my own.
But apparently the visionary way to think about economics is “not”. Eiesenstein’s eager disciple was advised to wander “around the college grounds, mulling over our most pressing problems, until being drawn to something in nature – a bug, a leaf, or a spiders web perhaps – that we then stared at for a long time, awaiting an answer to our quandary. … I soon found myself quite enjoying these exercises and the opportunity they gave to explore my untapped inner potential and reconnect with nature.”
Well that’s all well and good, and I mean that in the most sincere possible way, except that it doesn’t constitute a way to think about economics, new or otherwise. Parsons concludes with more tantalizing words “How rare to meet someone who is capable of dissecting the finer points of reserve-free credit-based monetary systems, who at the same time conducts consciousness-raising workshops of the mind-body-spirit variety, and yet still manages to cut through the spiritual mumbo jumbo of New Age thinking.” A pity he hasn’t found a way to share those finer points about, you know, economics.
The course apparently has the following reading list: The Unsettling of America, by Wendell Berry; The Gift, by Lewis Hyde; Debt, by David Graeber; and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins. Has anyone got any insights about whether these books are actually helpful, or about Eisenstein himself? I will start by saying that Wendell Berry is a great poet and a fine essayist and practically the epitome of doomster Second Way thinking. I love to listen to his words of wisdom about life, but I have to dismiss his actual technical advice as woefully unrealistic.
Is there any substance here to pursue? Parsons leaves me in doubt.