We live in an Age of Endarkenment. Our economic, social and political systems have failed us. Modern economics has not done what it promised. It has widened the gap between rich and poor. It has not allocated the world's resources fairly. It has brought the West to the brink of financial ruin. It has valued short-term gain more than long-term progress. It has made us focus on the individual, not society.
The social consequences are easy to see. Much of the world is laden with debt. Our planet is being scraped clean of the resources needed by future generations. Science and technology are exploited for profit, not social advancement. The cult of celebrity, rise in global greed and belief that information is knowledge are limiting our imaginations.
We are ill-equipped to respond to these challenges. We have been dumbed-down. Our politicians have become self-serving. They play on our fears, monitor us without justification and promote conflicts for their own interests. China's rise will make these problems worse.
Without a rethink, we face many unwelcome changes. Poverty will grow. Standards of health will decline. Resource shortages will change our way of life. Tensions between peoples will grow.
During the Age of Enlightenment our societies flourished, propelled by the wonder of new discoveries, radical ideas for economic and social development and a sense that we all had a responsibility to improve our world. We need to step back from the Age of Endarkenment. We need to examine our values. We need to work out what humankind really wants. If it is not just about just money and Twitter and Oprah, what is it?
In this thought-provoking, lively and entertaining book, Graeme Maxton looks at what brought us to this state and what we can do about it.
Keywords: General & Introductory Economics