Mindful Economics: How the US Economy Works, Why it Matters, and How it Could be Different / Edition 1

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Are the huge profits garnered by corporations each year a case of a few bad apples in the business world taking advantage of unmonitored dealings? Is this consolidation of wealth made at the expense of the overall economy and the wellbeing of the average citizen? Will the planet be saved by developing more "green businesses" and "green collar" jobs? Joel Magnuson delivers a powerful response to the current misconceptions about the US economy in his brilliantly accessible Mindful Economics. The troubles we face are not the result of a good system gone awry, but rather a system that is built to do exactly what it is doing: corporations are designed to reap profits for its shareholders, at any cost. The greater welfare of society, or of the environment, will never be as important as financial gain. Magnuson shows us the relationship between the current wars abroad; rising oil prices; the recession; ballooning incomes of top CEOs; the mortgage crisis; and the health care, insurance, and auto industries, and he teaches us that the best way to understand the US economy is to think like an economist. With stunning clarity, Magnuson shows the interconnectedness of the local with the global, and offers real alternatives to this capitalist model.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mindful Economics is very much a classic of its kind. Among the canon of books concerning values-centered economics, the unrivaled and unprecedented power of Magnuson's book derives from the clarity, comprehensiveness, and accuracy of its vision... It would be hard to think of another book that would provide a better introduction to economics itself."–K.L. Roberts, Progressive Living

"This is a great guide for cooperatives, small businesses, and anyone dedicated to sound economic practices."–Turning Wheel

"A robust critique of the US economy that is particularly timely, given the present global financial crisis."–Choice Magazine

"Magnuson presents an intriguing perspective on the US economy by describing the American capitalist system and its key institutions and economic issues, covering the most important consequences of the system and, finally, offering alternatives...Highly recommended."–Library Journal

"A must read for spiritual progressives...Magnuson provides us the foundation to participate intelligently in debates about how best to rebuild an American and global economic system."–Tikkun

Library Journal

Magnuson (economics, Portland State Univ. & Portland Community Coll.) presents an intriguing perspective on the U.S. economy by describing the American capitalist system and its key institutions and economic issues, covering the most important consequences of the system and, finally, offering alternatives. His overview of the history and background of the U.S. economic system is thorough, including the development of capitalism, the U.S. financial system and Federal Reserve banks, the stock market, the structure of corporations, and international economic relations. The problems with the system Magnuson discusses include poverty, financial market instability, environmental destruction, and economic downturns. In the final section, he presents a notable study of a mindful economy, writing, "In a mindful economy, we seek to avoid debilitating crises and set out to follow a thoughtful and careful path toward change." He examines ways of achieving a mindful economy of values-based principles: the mindful economy is intrinsically democratic, equitable, just, based on respect for all life and natural processes, and stable. This book should be read by faculty and students studying economics and can be appreciated by those just learning about how the economy works. Highly recommended to academic library collections.
—Lucy Heckman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583228470
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

JOEL MAGNUSON is an independent economist based in Portland, Oregon. He is a visiting fellow at the Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, serves as an international advisor to Anglia's Interconnections, and is on the faculty at the East West Sanctuary in Nagykovácsi, Hungary. He is the author of Mindful Economics: How the US Economy Works, Why It Matters, and How It Could Be Different and The Approaching Great Transformation: Toward a Livable Post Carbon Economy.

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Table of Contents

Preface: A Time of Danger and Opportunity 11

Introduction 18

Ch. 1 Economic Systems 27

Ch. 2 The Cash Nexus: Households, Corporations and the Market System 51

Ch. 3 Conflict in the Cash Nexus: Labor Unions and Business Associations 77

Ch. 4 Government and the Ascent of Capitalism 111

Ch. 5 The U.S. Financial System Part I: Money and. Banks 133

Ch. 6 The U.S. Financial System Part II: Wall Street, Stocks, and Bonds 169

Ch. 7 America's Umbilical Cord: The International Economy 198

Ch. 8 The U.S. Capitalist Machine 213

Ch. 9 The Growth Imperative: Prosperity or Poverty 234

Ch. 10 Sweet Delight and Endless Night: Polarization in America 268

Ch. 11 Financial Market Instability 298

Ch. 12 The Mindful Economy Part I: Redrawing the Institutional Map 337

Ch. 13 The Mindful Economy Part II: Mindful Ownershipand Mindful Finance 352

Ch. 14 The Mindful Economy Part III: Mindful Economics and Sustainable Practices 379

Conclusion: Toward a Mindful Economy 405

Notes 411

Index 418

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