The Approaching Great Transformation is about the coming shift in how we act and think in the world economically as the era of cheap oil comes to an end. The purpose of this book is to provide inspiration for those seeking the ongoing global effort to move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and ceaseless growth, and towards a more sustainable, stable, and just system.
With vision and deliberate action communities around the world can break out of habitual ways of producing and consuming things and move optimistically toward something better. The Approaching Great Transformation provides a philosophical basis and guidelines for citizens who are working to develop new and very different economic institutions that are centered on self-reliance, ecological permanence, stability, and a celebration of human creativity. In time, these institutional developments will lead to the positive evolution of economic systems and human culture. This book documents examples and stories of this work that is already being done.
“[Former] U.S. presidential candidate John McCain acknowledged that he knew little about economics and said he would buy an economics text book. How lucky for us if he and other politicians happen to pick up “Mindful Economics” by Joel Magnuson. Magnuson lays out the basic concepts of Econ 101 so clearly that McCain is sure to ace the course. But Magnuson notes an irreconcilable conflict between capitalist financial growth and environmental sustainability. He finds hope, however, in a kind of evolutionary socialism that he calls Mindful Economics. If McCain and his fellow politicians can master that half of the book, they’ll not only pass the course, they may even help us save the planet.”
“Magnuson 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.”
“Joel Magnuson has written an excellent guide to one of the most deliberately mystified fields of human endeavor. If you ever wondered what all those words and concepts mean, this is the book to turn to. And though I don’t agree with all his prescriptions for making things better, they’re great spurs to both talk and action.”
“MINDFUL ECONOMICS is the most important new book in economics to be published in the last decade… This is a magnificent book that will confer enormous benefits on anyone who reads it…. I give this book my strongest possible endorsement and recommend it very, very highly to all of my colleagues in the academic economics profession.”
“Mindful Economics is a much needed book to understand economics and its power. Joel Magnuson’s approach to this science is innovative and engaging. Economics becomes a topic to discover and master at the same time. A must for everybody who wants to truly understand one of the mechanisms which rules our world.”
“Mindful Economics is a new and up-to-date statement of progressive economics. Mindful Economics is very much a classic of its kind. Indeed, it may well be among the most important works concerning economics ever written. Among the canon of books concerning values-centered economics, the unrivalled–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. Because of the comprehensiveness of Mindful Economics, if you only have time to read one of the recommendations here at our site, or want to know where best to begin, this is your book.”
“Mindful Economics is an excellent book for students and just about anybody who wants to understand, as Magnuson says, “the [cataclysmic] consequences of capitalism.” He does a wonderful job of providing the historical and institutional context of capitalism for students and in doing so, lays bare the myth of laissez faire and the wonders of the free market. Particularly outstanding are the chapters on financial market instability and causes of inequality in the U.S. economy. What is also nice about the book is that he also suggests concrete alternatives ‘community centered co-ops’ for students so they leave with a sense of hope and vision for the future.”
“I must say that I never thought I would enjoy reading an economics book, but one has come to my attention that is just that – an enjoyable and interesting read. The book is Mindful Economics by Joel Magnuson… If you want to learn more about the development and functioning of U.S. capitalism, and an interesting approach to a different economic focus and organizations, take the time to read “Mindful Economics.”
“[Magnuson] offers a systemic and historical view of economic development, unearthing the reasons why institutions have manifested in their current state, and thereby shedding acute and much-needed light on the problems of our current world, and how the capitalist system that has come to dominate it is reaching a crisis. I am not an economist, and this volume provided a valuable theoretical framework for understanding economic institutions and a fascinating story of the unfolding of human organisational activity. While the modest aim of Mindful Economics is ‘an educational resource for people concerned about these consequences of capitalism,’ the depth and implications of the analysis, and the underlying assumptions that he unearths with relentless acuity, provide both an educational tool for understanding modern economic institutions and their interplay, and a gentle challenge to the world view that upholds capitalism as the only economic alternative, that has come to dominate Western, if not global economic activity. The implications of this book have a disciplinary significance in the areas of ontology, ethics, philosophy, sociology, economics and business studies.”
“This is an invaluable resource for individuals and organizations wanting a comprehensive understanding of the way U.S. capitalist systems and institutions operate. Dr. Magnuson provides an extensive overview of some of the devastating consequences of capitalism (environmental degradation, economic inequality, and financial market instability) and offers suggestions for adopting a more mindful economics, one ‘rooted in democratic institutions, socially controlled by an active citizenry, and shaped the values of people in their communities.’ Magnuson admits that creating economic alternatives that challenge the status quo are extremely difficult yet acknowledges that the attempt is not impossible. This is a great guide for cooperatives, small businesses, and anyone dedicated to sound economic practices.”