Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness
By John de Graaf and David K. Batker
Reposted from: Bloomsbury Press
Named Best Business Book for Fall 2011 by Publishers Weekly
Get your copy today!
The question no one ever bothered to ask about the economy: How can we make it work for us, instead of the other way around?In this funny, readable, and thought-provoking book based on the popular film of the same name, activists John de Graaf (coauthor of the bestselling Affluenza) and David Batker tackle thirteen economic issues, challenging the reader to consider the point of our economy. Emphasizing powerful American ideals, including teamwork, pragmatism, and equality, de Graaf and Batker set forth a simple goal for any economic system: The greatest good for the greatest number over the longest run. Drawing from history and current enterprises, we see how the good life is achieved when people and markets work together with an active government to create a more perfect economy-one that works for everyone.
Beginning by shattering our fetish for GDP, What's the Economy For, Anyway? offers a fresh perspective on quality of life, health, security, work-life balance, leisure, social justice, and perhaps most important, sustainability. This sparkling, message-driven book is exactly what those lost in the doldrums of partisan sniping and a sluggish economy need: a guide to what really matters, and a map to using America's resources to make the world a better place.
Advance Praise for What’s the Economy For, Anyway?:
“With our economy tattered and listing, it's an excellent moment to ask basic questions: what should we be aiming for as a society, and what's necessary to get there? Happily, other parts of the world provide many of the answers, as John de Graaf and David Batker show in this extremely valuable volume.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“Yes, What’s the Economy For, Anyway? is tremendously exciting, thought-provoking, and essential to thinking about our survival. But for me, it’s just plain fun to read! I’ve always been the hedonist of the Simplicity movement, so I know when something is truly enjoyable. And this book is. Read and enjoy!”—Cecile Andrews, author of Slow Is Beautiful, and Circle of Simplicity“
This book raises many fundamental questions that are rarely asked. Why should be people be unemployed when there is work to be done? Why do economists tend to view income as being more valuable than vacations and other forms of leisure? Our view of the economy tends to be far too narrow. What’s the Economy For, Anyway? will help broaden our perspective.”—Dean Baker, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
“By focusing on economic growth, we get misery in the USA. But the authors suggest another world is possible, one that would be better for all. We will all do better for following their advice to build a house of health and achieving the good life that lasts forever.”—Stephen Bezruchka, MD, University of Washington School of Public Health
“Economics professors are good at answering ‘how to’ questions, but not so good with ‘what for?’ or ‘so what?’ questions. This clearly and simply-written book strikes a powerful blow for economic sanity by asking the main ‘what for?’ questions, and giving cogent and specific answers. A wonderful voter’s guide on economic issues for the 2012 election and beyond!”—Herman E. Daly, professor emeritus, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
“The economy should be for us, but it’s not. This smart, lively, and lovable book explains how we could move it in a happier and more sustainable direction.”—Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, author of The Invisible Heart
“At a time when a lot of insane ideas are in danger of being enacted in Washington DC, including a frenzy of bills to fleece the middle-class and further pamper our economic elite, this book asks the most fundamental question of all: what in hell is the economy for, if not for a good and sustainable quality of life for all? And it offers some fresh ideas for economic progress based on common sense and the common good. Read, absorb, and take action!”—Jim Hightower, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner and author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow
“You get what you measure. De Graaf and Batker demonstrate clearly and powerfully that getting an economy that works for us begins with getting clear on we really want.”—David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth and When Corporations Rule the World
“This urgently-needed book—covering a range of ageless issues—asks one of the most fundamental questions surrounding the evolution of human societies and personal life: what should an economy most significantly do? To these authors, the answer for the United States is more clearly than ever not about facilitating more work days and more buying power. Rather, it is about creating more freedom and more time for its citizens to live their lives with basic security, balance, and richness. De Graaf and Batker seek to restore common sense and vision, and to provide worthy practical guidelines for changes in the U. S. socioeconomic system. Together they offer new and vital hope as hopelessness seems sadly on the rise.”—David Mick, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, University of Virginia
“What’s the Economy for, Anyway? informs, entertains and inspires while it explains the ‘dismal science’ so ordinary people like you and me can see what a “bill of goods” we’ve been sold about the economy. We’ve given allegiance to a false financial god that promised us prosperity, delivered for a while and then told us not to worry, to keep the faith as debt piled up, people lost their homes, the average work week ballooned far beyond forty hours (if you have a job), and the basics of the social safety net were threatened. This book not only shows what’s happened in broad terms, it offers specific, humane, common sense policies!”—Vicki Robin, coauthor, Your Money or Your Life
“Since the financial collapse of 2007, snake-oil peddlers have diverted the economic conversation into misguided answers and the wrong questions. Charlatans, beware! De Graaf and Batker have produced a powerful antidote. Their combined expertise on issues of happiness, time use, ecology and economic alternatives permeates the pages of this breezily-written, inspiring, and common-sense account of what really yields true economic well-being.”—Juliet B. Schor, author of True Wealth, Born to Buy and The Overworked American