For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future / Edition 2

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Winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order 1992, Named New Options Best Political Book

Economist Herman Daly and theologian John Cobb, Jr., demonstrate how conventional economics and a growth-oriented industrial economy have led us to the brink of environmental disaster, and show the possibility of a different future.

Named as one of the Top 50 Sustainability Books by University of Cambridges Programme for Sustainability Leadership and Greenleaf Publishing.

"A profound critique of conventional economic theories and policies. Daly and Cobb provide an alternative approach to economics, one that is more humanistic and less scientific... Highly recommended."---Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pushing for economic growth above all else, industrial nations ignore the damage done to the biosphere by the profligate use of energy and scarce resources. Daly, a World Bank economist, and Cobb, a philosopher-theologian, set forth a detailed, far-reaching blueprint for a highly decentralized economy built around small communities, scaled to human needs and stewardship of the planet. Their important, radical critique of contemporary economic thinking in the book's dry first half leads to specific proposals in the second. These include a tax on industrial polluters, worker participation in management and ownership, reduced military expenditures and a self-sufficient national economy that relies less on imports. In place of gross national product, they put forth an ``index of sustainable economic welfare'' as a yardstick of true growth. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This book is a profound critique of conventional economic theories and policies. Daly (economics, Louisiana State Univ.), an economist at the World Bank, and Cobb (theology and philosophy, Claremont Graduate Sch., Cal.) provide an alternative approach to economics, one that is more humanistic and less scientific. Their criticisms are rooted in a religious/philosophical framework of stewardship and community. The idealistic policies that flow from this new approach will be controversial. This book is highly recommended, especially for college libraries. Few other volumes address these issues with such insight.-- Richard C. Schiming, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Daly (economist, the World Bank) and Cobb (philosophy, Claremont Graduate School) expose the outmoded abstractions of mainstream economic theory. They conclude, in particular, that economic growth--the prevailing yardstick for measuring economic success--is no longer an appropriate goal as energy consumption, overpopulation, and pollution increase. Instead, they propose a new measure for the economy--the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807047057
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 1,019,408
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Daly is professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs. He worked for several years at the World Bank. He is co-author of the influential For the Common Good, among other books.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Economics as an Academic Discipline
1 The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness in Economics and Other Disciplines 25
2 Misplaced Concreteness: The Market 44
3 Misplaced Concreteness: Measuring Economic Success 62
4 Misplaced Concreteness: Homo economicus 85
5 Misplaced Concreteness: Land 97
Pt. 2 New Beginnings
6 From Academic Discipline to Thought in Service of Community 121
7 From Chrematistics to Oikonomia 138
8 From Individualism to Person-in-Community 159
9 From Cosmopolitanism to Communities of Communities 176
10 From Matter and Rent to Energy and Biosphere 190
Pt. 3 Policies for Community in the United States
11 Free Trade versus Community 209
12 Population 236
13 Land Use 252
14 Agriculture 268
15 Industry 283
16 Labor 298
17 Income Policies and Taxes 315
18 From World Domination to National Security 332
Pt. 4 Getting There
19 Possible Steps 361
20 The Religious Vision 382
Afterword: Money, Debt, and Wealth 407
Appendix: The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare 443
References 508
Index 521
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