Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition

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by Charles Eisenstein

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Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme—but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to…  See more details below


Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme—but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.
This book is about how the money system will have to change—and is already changing—to embody this transition. A broadly integrated synthesis of theory, policy, and practice, Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. Author Charles Eisenstein also considers the personal dimensions of this transition, speaking to those concerned with "right livelihood" and how to live according to their ideals in a world seemingly ruled by money. Tapping into a rich lineage of conventional and unconventional economic thought, Sacred Economics presents a vision that is original yet commonsense, radical yet gentle, and increasingly relevant as the crises of our civilization deepen.

Sacred Economics official website:

About the Imprint:
EVOLVER EDITIONS promotes a new counterculture that recognizes humanity's visionary potential and takes tangible, pragmatic steps to realize it. EVOLVER EDITIONS explores the dynamics of personal, collective, and global change from a wide range of perspectives. EVOLVER EDITIONS is an imprint of North Atlantic Books and is produced in collaboration with Evolver, LLC.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sacred Economics:

"This brilliant and beautifully written book is an indispensable must-read for all those who believe our economic system is terminally sick and in need of radical, sacred rehaul. Charles Eisenstein has the great gift of being able to make complex ideas both thrilling and inspiring. I hope this book begins a serious, worldwide conversation on how we can reinvent our attitude to money."
—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

"While political pundits, financial analysts and Occupiers fumble on how to transcend the intensifying global financial crisis, Eisenstein is trailblazing bold new ideas and possibilities for how we conduct monetary exchange."
—Jonathan Phillips, Huffington Post blog

"If you want a convincing account of just how deep the shift in our new axial age is and must be, look no further than this brilliant book by Charles Eisenstein, one of the deepest integrative thinkers active today."
—Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation

"With his breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, commitment, diligence, and sensitivity, Charles has become a beacon of hope for others. Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book that shines with wisdom of crucial importance to our troubled world today."
—Kamran Mofid, founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative

“[Sacred Economics] meticulously explains why our current system will inevitably give rise to cyclical and worsening economic crises. [Eisenstein] exposes the myths and lies that sustain power structure, the social and spiritual devastation in which we are all complicit, and lays the foundation for a way of thinking that can restore hope and help us emerge to a positive future. … Eisenstein’s book provides some of the most creative and hopeful ideas out there.”
New Consciousness Review

“[Charles Eisenstein] puts his money where his mouth is. Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition is published under a Creative Commons copyright. … This arrangement, similar to that of open-source software, is a tiny sample of the economic system that Eisenstein predicts for our future. … Of course, a new economy means the old one needs to go. That would be scary news if not for Eisenstein’s optimistic way of describing the transition. He effectively argues that when we dismantle monetization, we give birth to community. Together, we can help noble impulses become profitable enterprises. Money may have caused our biggest problems, but redefining it could help us solve those same problems.”
Grid Magazine

"'If anything is sacred in this world, it is surely not money.' So says Charles Eisenstein, who believes that people can act outside of the money economy, despite the power it has over their lives."
Foreword Reviews

"Eisenstein is no revolutionary or anarchist. In fact, he’s an evolutionary. While reading Sacred Economics, I realized I had not achieved an objective relationship with our money system. I don’t have money. It has me."
Common Ground

Also by Charles Eisenstein:
The Ascent of Humanity:

"Brilliant and original, with great depth of insight and understanding, Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity easily ranks with the works of such giants of our age as David Bohm, Julian Jaynes, Jean Gebser, Whitehead. It is a profoundly serious, indeed somber portrait of our times, even as it opens a door of honest hope amidst the dark destiny we have woven about us. Accept the challenge of this major accomplishment and discover the light shining within it."
—Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Magical Child, Evolution's End, and The Biology of Transcendence
"Quite marvelous, a hugely important work... This book is truly needed in this time of deepening crisis."
—John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive and Elements of Refusal

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Sacred Economics 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
inlakesh More than 1 year ago
I read a book a day, run a Body Mind Spirit Book Club, spent half my earnings in book stores, but I have never written a book review until now. If you still don't see how important this book is to me, maybe you should know I wrote off a $20,000 debt someone owed me and asked nothing of him in return except to read this book. And I have to add that I don't really have that sort of money to throw away. This is how bad I want everyone to read it, because on its pages are not words but a vision of hope for the future of humanity. I will keep this short because the average person don't have time to read long reviews. I have no intention to summarize what the book is about, not just because that is a bit beyond me. The ideas the book covered are so radical and with so many ramifications that it will easily be dismissed by most as impractical and over-idealistic if read only in snippets. Half way through my reading of it, I was still skeptical if ignorance, social conditioning and resistance could ever be overcome, but every chapter took me one step closer to believing that it's really the answer I had been waiting for. It's a manual for the future ! I have my work cut out for me. Everyone has a part to play and that's why everyone should read it. And like a manual, it has to be read from cover to cover !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For years I looked on the ways of the world and of money and thought, "Something isn't right." I felt there must be a better way, so I began theorizing alternatives to competition and "me first" thinking. Ten pages into writing my own ideas out, I picked up a copy of Sacred Economics, and subsequently abandoned my writing efforts. Eisenstein said with far greater detail and eloquence everything I had hoped to say. Instead, I now focus my efforts developing software to implement some of Eisenstein's ideas. I wound up buying this book twice. First I bought a physical paper copy. Then I wanted to loan it to friends, so I bought a copy to read on my Nook while the other was gone. That's how important i feel this book is. Sacred Economics, without one iota of hesitation, receives my full recommendation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A breathtaking and enlightening perspective on the current state of the economy and how to better it!  He also discusses how to live in abundance as a community as opposed to scarcity.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sacred Economics is well written and engaging. The author makes you step back and take a look at the big picture issues regarding economics, growth, philosophy, and government policy. While the book has a socialist bent, it is worth completely reading and thinking through the implications even for conservatives. The premise that we need to change our system of money and economics is very timely given the 2008 meltdown and ongoing monetary distress. The book takes a bit long getting to suggestions and some suggestions are not completely developed. I still gave it 5 stars because this is exactly the type of discussion that we should be having, whether one completely agrees with every recommendation or not.
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NellaHall More than 1 year ago
I was attracted to the title and a brief video that the author had made but I found the book unhelpful. The concept of "gifting" may occur in his imagination but it is naive to think that this idea fits the marketplace of the last 200 years or the present. For a book that does make sense and is filled with used facts and conclusions I recommend THE EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION by Jeremy Rifkin.