Book Review of The Real Wealth of Nations
un article par David Adams
The new book by Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations, is an important contribution to a culture of peace. Eisler is best known for her earlier book The Chalice and the Blade, which is more explicit about cultures associated with war and peace. She also has previously published a book entitled Educating for a Culture of Peace. The new book, however, does not explicitly deal with culture of war or culture of peace.
Eisler contributes by promoting a "new economics" and by recognizing the recent efforts by a number of economists to include measures of household work as an important part of a nation's economic output. She convincingly shows that the ignoring of household work by the "old economists" was part and parcel of the sexist double standard of our societies which values the work of men but not the work of women.
She calls for a "caring revolution." An especially valuable contribution is the book's collection of evidence showing that it is profitable for private corporations to provide day-care, flex-time and other arrangements that value household work.
In my opinion, however, there is a serious omission in Eisler's "new economics." Military spending by governments is treated like other spending. Instead, it should be treated as a net loss, draining from the economy labor and materiel that could otherwise be engaged in production of useful goods and services. This approach has been effectively used by the economist Lloyd J. Dumas in his 1986 book The Overburdened Economy and it explains why the the Soviet empire collapsed. By failing to consider this, the Eisler book fails to consider the likelihood that the American empire is headed for a similar prolonged decline and possible eventual collapse.
Eisler's conclusion, that we need to move from "dominator systems" to "partnership systems" has many points of similarity to the United Nations analysis of the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace. A further comparison of these two analytic approaches would be useful.
The Real Wealth of Nations is published by Berret-Koehler Publishers of San Francisco.
Question(s) liée(s) à cet article:
Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?,
How can we get to a sustainable, peaceful economy?,
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Commentaire le plus récent:
I think it was Marx who said that military spending is like throwing money into the sea, since it does not produce anything of value for people.
We could saw this previously in the case of the Soviet Union that was driven into bankruptcy by the arms race, which was a deliberate and successful strategy of NATO.
But now, if we look clearly, we can see it is now the case for the United States which produces very little for export and imports enormously (especially from China), while it spends most of its wealth on arms production.
Arms production is hidden in the official government budget of the United States. First, the government adds in social security which does not come from taxes, but which is simply a form of saving by those who pay into the system. Then it hides much of military spending in other budgets (for example nuclear production is hidden under energy). And finally, it fails to mention that most of the enormous budget item of debt payment is actually the payment for previous wars and arms production.
According to the careful research of the War Resisters League (available at their website, almost half of the federal budget of the United States is for present and past military expenses. This amounts to over 1.3 trillion dollars a year!
Cet article a été mis en ligne le July 15, 2007.
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