Right Now I’m Reading: Sacred Economics

Sacred EconomicsAnother brief interlude from my Internal Audit posts, but a necessary one because this book is deeply changing my worldview, my ideas on what is possible.  Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, writes of the story of money, the mythology we’ve created over time of value, growth, and currency, and how we can move into a more positive, sustainable, and loving future with a renewed idea of money.  And he has the book under a Creative Commons license to boot!

I should say that I generally despise money.  Words like financial, stock, market, currency, make me queasy.  My life and path and purpose have always seemed to be in nearly direct opposition to money as a force of change and decision, to unchecked growth as a dominant paradigm.  But Charles’ vision for a world of sacred money- a return to the idea of gift, to eliminating externalities and the disconnect of corporations and businesses from cultural and ecological realities and a false sense of scarcity- is truly helping me view money in a new way.

“Part of a sacred money supply will be ‘backed’ by those things of which we are collective stewards.  Here is one way it could work: first, we reach a collective, politically mediated agreement on the right amount of nature to turn toward human purposes: how much of the produce of the sea, how much of the soil, the water; how much of the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb and transform waste; how much of the land’s ability to recover from the scars of mineral extraction; how much of the gift of fossil fuels, metal ores, and other wealth; how much of nature’s quiet to give over to machine noises; how much of the dark night sky to give to city lights.  These decisions often require scientific understanding, but just as often they embody value judgments.  Both contribute to our collective agreement on how much natural capital to consume.”

Not since Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing have I been this inspired by a vision that both accurately diagnoses the problems of the present and creates a plausible path for the future.  I want to share this book with my father, a bank examiner for the FDIC, with my college friends, with my grandparents who grew up on farms in the rural Midwest, with cynical colleagues and visionary comrades.  It is so empowering to know there are others out there, changemakers, writers, economists, who can see a way forward.

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