Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arnsperger reviews Integral Economics

Christian Arnsperger reviews Integral Economics in the March 2012 issue of the Intergral Leadership Review. The book is by Lessem and Schieffer, which was discussed earlier in the IPS "progressive economics" thread. Arnsperger's work was also discussed therein, as well as a thread specifically devoted to his work. An excerpt of the review:

“What is problematic is that one of the paths – namely, the Western path of private enterprise and finance – has effectively silenced the others and deprived them of a distinctive voice on the global scene.... The widespread claim that 'There Is No Alternative' (TINA) to private-capital driven trade and finance based on a stark form of cultural and spiritual reductionism.

"Lessem and Schieffer very interestingly trace this imperialistic worldview to a powerful process of intellectual and spiritual repression within Euro-American economic thought itself....the 'Western' living economy itself, characterized by organic dynamism and the flourishing of personal initiative, has been distorted beyond recognition by mainstream economics’ focus on a very narrow set of assumptions (isolated agents, instrumental rationality, static equilibrium, etc.), agency principles (cognitive minimalism, insatiable wants, inability of agents to criticize the economy they live in, no existential or spiritual self-perception, etc.), and institutional settings (capitalist markets, statist 'top down' public sector, a single all-purpose currency, etc.). So when a Western economist looks at her own intellectual tradition and realizes its impoverishment, she shouldn’t be to surprised by the fact that, having been spread over most of the planet in the form of policies and regulations, this impoverished tradition also causes poverty and inequality worldwide due to capitalism’s inability to distribute incomes well and to the market’s incapacity at taking everyone’s interests into account.”


  1. Arnsperger is also the co-author of a new book, Money and sustainability: The missing link. See his blog* for details. A few chapter headings caught my attention: III.1, The emergence of a 'global casino'; III.4, A solution: The privatisation of everything?; V.4, An unrelenting concentration of wealth: The poor v. the super-rich; V.5, The devaluation of social capital: Why competitive behavior CAN overpower cooperation.


  2. From the Foreward of Money and Sustainability:

    "We will never create sustainability while immersed in the present financial system....[it] is incompatible with sustainability in five ways: it causes boom and bust cycles in the economy; it produces short-term thinking; it requires unending growth; it concentrates wealth; it destroys social capital.... Informed observers of the 2008 crisis...believe that the causes of instability have not been changed. Indeed many of them have grown worse. There will certainly be another global financial disaster."


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