Readings

Click on the titles below to access each book’s overview and chapters’ summaries.

Doughnut Economics, by Kate Raworth.

Democracy Incorporated, by Sheldon S. Wolin.


DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Readings
First publication: 02/23/2017

“Faced with a multifaceted crisis – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do.

The most they tend to offer is more economic growth: the fairy dust supposed to make all the bad stuff disappear. Never mind that it drives ecological destruction; that it has failed to relieve structural unemployment or soaring inequality; that, in some recent years, almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that’s left.

(…) We cannot hope to address our predicament without a new worldview. We cannot use the models that caused our crises to solve them. We need to reframe the problem. This is what the most inspiring book published so far this year has done.” (Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut. George Monbiot, The Guardian, Wed 12 Apr 2017)

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INTRODUCTION: Who Wants to Be an Economist?

Ch. 1: CHANGE THE GOAL – From GDP to the Doughnut

Ch. 2: SEE THE BIG PICTURE – From self-contained market to embedded economy

Ch. 3: NURTURE HUMAN NATURE – From rational economic man to social adaptable humans

Ch. 4: GET SAVVY WITH SYSTEMS – From mechanical equilibrium to dynamic complexity

Ch. 5: DESIGN TO DISTRIBUTE – From “growth will even it up again” to distributive by design

Ch. 6: CREATE TO REGENERATE – From “growth will clean it up again” to regenerative by design

Ch. 7: BE AGNOSTIC ABOUT GROWTH – From growth addicted to growth agnostic


DEMOCRACY INCORPORATED

Readings
First publication: 04/27/2008

“Democracy is struggling in America — by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms “inverted totalitarianism”?

Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive — and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a “managed democracy” where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today’s America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today’s politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy’s best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level.” (Overview. Princeton University Press)

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Preface and Introduction

Ch. 1: Myth in the Making

Ch. 2: Beginnings of the Imaginary of a Permanent Global War

Ch. 3: Democracy’s Perversion

Ch. 4: The New World of Terror

Ch. 5: The Utopian Theory of Superpower: The Official Version

Ch. 6: The Dynamics of Transformation

Ch. 7: The Dynamics of the Archaic

Ch. 8: The Politics of Superpower: Managed Democracy

Ch. 9: Intellectual Elites against Democracy

Ch. 10: Domestic Politics in the Era of Superpower and Empire

Ch. 11: Inverted Totalitarianism: Antecedents and Precedents

Ch. 12: Demotic Moments

Ch. 13: Democracy’s Prospects: Looking Backwards