Fool's Gold: The Fate of Values in a World of Goods

Overview

In this trenchant, concise analysis, Schmookler attacks what many consider to be the great shibboleth of our culture - the "free marketplace." Fool's Gold reveals how a system that regards nothing as sacred, everything as mere commodity, creates illusions and devalues everything from art to the planet's resources. The market, Schmookler argues, leads people onto false paths, paths that traditional religions have called "sin" and "idolatry. What religions have taught people to avoid - excessive attachment to ...
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1993 Hardcover 1st HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. 1st, As New., Hardcover, Small octavo, 255. Bright, clean, tight. Remainder dot on bottom edge. Unused. Packed and shipped with care.

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1993 Hardcover 1st HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. 1st, As New., Hardcover, Small octavo, 255. Bright, clean, tight. Remainder dot on bottom edge. Unused. Packed and shipped with care.

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Overview

In this trenchant, concise analysis, Schmookler attacks what many consider to be the great shibboleth of our culture - the "free marketplace." Fool's Gold reveals how a system that regards nothing as sacred, everything as mere commodity, creates illusions and devalues everything from art to the planet's resources. The market, Schmookler argues, leads people onto false paths, paths that traditional religions have called "sin" and "idolatry. What religions have taught people to avoid - excessive attachment to possessions, enslavement to our whims and desires - the market teaches us to pursue, while it surrounds us with a sterile world. From early in this century, Schmookler points out, advertisers have used imagery to make their commodities seem more like holy icons than the mere products of consumerism that they are. A system that turns everything into a commodity erodes the ability of human beings to hold onto what is sacred within and among themselves. Nature is displaced by a superficial culture and we become alienated from the source of our being; the phony displaces the real. This results in a distancing of human consciousness from the wellspring of meaning, of vision, of contact with the sacred. In Schmookler's vision, we are now faced with the task of reclaiming the sacred, a reclamation that will require both systematic and spiritual transformations. We need to remember that we are creatures, not the Creator, and rid ourselves of the illusion that what we can control and regiment, within ourselves as well as in the world, is sufficient for our sustenance. There are visions available to us of a reality that transcends us. The ways to that reality lie within us, in one another, in other cultures, and in the living systems of the Earth.
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Editorial Reviews

Ray Olson
Essentially, this is a sermon rooted in the conviction that "there are realities that far transcend us, sources of value greater than our selfish concerns, wholes of which we humans are but parts." Its subject is the discrepancy between that sacred awareness and the unawareness, or circumscribed awareness, shaped by the market economy, for which nothing has any value--nothing "is" a value--if a price cannot be put upon it. Schmookler says that many of the notions of human behavior that market apologists like Milton Friedman seem to believe are demonstrably false, that humans are not born independent purchasing units but are distorted into consumers by forces that include, most prominently, that old bugaboo, advertising. As Schmookler concedes, his is not a new argument (he cites Wendell Berry very warmly as a contemporary progenitor; he easily could have gone back at least as far as Ruskin). He states it earnestly and, unlike so many others, with some of the coziness of self-help boosters without descending to that ilk's mindless cuddliness. What's more, he refreshingly concedes the real goods the market has given us.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062508287
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 255

Table of Contents

Overture: Nothing Sacred 1
Pt. 1 A Land Flowing With Infant Formula and Nutrasweet
Ch. 1 A Question of Purpose 15
Ch. 2 Everything Money Can Buy 34
Pt. 2 Moral Fabric
Ch. 3 Limited Liability: The Ethos of the Contract Society 65
Ch. 4 Guiding Voices 93
Ch. 5 The Wages of Sin 166
Finale: The Real Thing 202
Notes 233
Bibliography 243
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