About the book


The book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, was released on July 12, 2011, by Evolver Editions, an imprint of North Atlantic Books. It will eventually be available in a full on-line version and eb00k version as well. You can order the print edition on Amazon and other online vendors. Better yet, get it at your local independent bookstore. If you are looking for the other book by the same title, a wonderful though very different work by Eileen Workman, then visit her website.

Praise for Sacred Economics:

“I consider Charles Eisenstein one of the up-and-coming great minds of our time. Rarely have I met a person who combines such philosophical and spiritual depth with such practical insights into the cultural and institutional origins of the potential terminal dysfunctions of modern society, and the potential solutions.”
David Korten, Author of The Great Turning

“If you want a convincing account of just how deep the shift in our our new axial age is and must be, look no further than this brilliant book by Charles Eisenstein, one of the deepest integrative thinkers active today.”
Michel Bauwens, Founder, P2P Foundation

“With his breadth of knowledge, enthusiasm, commitment, diligent work and sensitivity, Charles has become a beacon of hope for others. Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book that shines with the wisdom and vision of crucial importance to our troubled world today.”
Kamran Mofid, Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative, PhD in Economics

“This brilliant and beautifully written book is an indispensable must-read for all those who believe are economic system is terminally sick and in need of radical, sacred rehaul. Charles Eisenstein has the great gift of making complex ideas n ot only available, but thrilling and inspiring. I hope this book begins a worldwide serious conversation on how we can reinvent our attitude to money.”
Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

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36 Responses to About the book

  1. Martin Morand says:

    Are there other reviews?

  2. Martin Morand says:

    I was intereted in reviews by progressive ECONOMISTS Amy?

  3. Martin Morand says:

    I was interested in REVIEWS by Progressive Economits

  4. Not that I know of, except for Kamran Mofid — he’s an economist, but that is just a blurb not a review. Also, the economist Indradeep Ghosh wrote the following, which I felt really good about. He has a masters from Cambridge and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. “In these tempestuous economic times, Sacred Economics delivers not only an acutely perceptive analysis of the problem at hand, but also a prescription for economic healing and recovery that we would be only too foolhardy to ignore. If money is at the heart of our troubles, it can also situate itself at the heart of our collective redemption. His arguments carry a unique blend of common sense and wisdom, and makes Sacred Economics a truly visionary document of human hope. It should be required reading for economists of all stripes, and especially for macroeconomists and monetary theorists, who will find hidden in its pages many ideas worth exploring further. As an educator, I am already thinking of creative ways to bring its message into the classroom.”
    I realize this isn’t what you are looking for either. If/when I find out about a real review, I’ll post it on the blog.

  5. Julie Norman says:

    Thank you for the incredible work you are doing. You have given a voice to the desire in my heart to share my own gifts in a way that supports and uplifts me and those who I serve. With your inspiration I can more deeply trust my own inner wisdom and boldly move my work into the world freely without attending to others comments that I must not feel “worthy” of making money if I practice sacred economics in my business dealings. Again, my deepest gratitude for YOUR sharing.
    Julie Norman
    Akron, OH

  6. Hi Charles,

    I met you at your inspiring talk at Transition Putney this summer. I have since been sharing insights from Sacred Economics (and the book itself) with my students at SIT Graduate Institute. I am thinking it would be wonderful if SIT students could hear you speak, and a few students have expressed interest in this. I don’t find anything about your speaking schedule on this site, so I don’t know what your current approach is to public speaking. Do you have any plans to be/speak anywhere near southern Vermont? Please e-mail me.

    In solidarity,
    Susal Stebbins Collins
    East Dummerston, Vermont

  7. sesameB says:

    excellent. Just excellent.
    barefootin’ in rural Arkansas

  8. Markkus says:

    I just would like to say that this is an amazing book, filled with so much that I have felt within myself, and even more of which has never occurred to me. I read as many books as I can, and always try to read what will be meaningful to me. But very few of them actually inspire me into taking significant action and making real life decisions as this one has. Thank you, Charles. You have definitely engendered gratitude within me.

  9. Birgit says:

    When I first heard of the concept of gluon in the early 90’s, I thought of it as the invisible cosmic glue that held together subatomic particles. For some reason it got me to think about the invisible social glue that hold together communities of people especially traditional peoples, a kind of interdependence, and how money has sought to completely replace it. People were becoming so smug and I had nightmares of what would happen if money, the social gluon surrogate, suddenly lost all it’s value. I will be very interested to read your book if I can get my hands on it (I live out of the country). Thank you.

  10. I have just read your essay describing so eloquently what the Occupy Wall Street movement is really all about. You speak my heart!

    I too believe that we are in the process of birthing a both/and world from an either/or world. My own efforts are in the arena of healthcare. I have long believed that there are enough open-hearted healers of all kinds that if we had the organizational and technological resources to match them with people who have unmet needs, everyone would already have access to the healthcare they need. Like you, I have always treated people unconditionally in my psychology practice, which I have now merged with Balanced Heart Healing Center, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit I founded (www.balancedheart.org). We are leveraging this way of doing business as an act of love among a growing group of healers, beginning in the Pittsburgh, PA region.

    Thank you for leading the way into the world we want to live in!

    Blessings of gratitude,
    Katie McCorkle, Ph.D.
    Founder, Balanced Heart Healing Center

  11. Dear Charles, I am excited to have discovered your work. I heard about you through several channels, including Reality Sandwich, Transition, and Bill Kauth and Zoe (they were my next-door neighbors at Burning Man). Since reading their book, I was inspired to host a gift circle at my house for my birthday party on 10/2. Alpha Lo came down from Fairfax to facilitate. I was blown away by how much closer people seemed after the gift circle process. People stayed late talking with one another, stimulated by the hearing and sharing about their needs and gifts. Since then I have been mining your Ascent of Humanity website, and checking out more of your materials on-line. I’ve been telling a lot of people about you, and I would like to raise the visibility of your work here in Oakland and Berkeley. Please be in touch with me if there is any way that I can be of support to your work. I have more than 10 years of experience with Nonviolent Communication, the methodology developed by Marshall Rosenberg, for building connection, and I am part of a team of practitioners. We are integrating spirituality, social action and empathic communication. I would be thrilled if you would friend our page http://www.Facebook.com/connectionaction
    I am also on a special eating regimen that is the foundation of my daily practice. I have not yet read your Yoga of Eating book, but I thought I would mention this because I have a sense that we have something in common around food too.
    Thanks again for your service.
    Yours
    Judith Katz

    • Hi Judith. I am also a fan of NVC. A trip to the Bay Area is in the cards, not sure when. Could be late winter or early spring. Email is a better way to communicate. My first name at panenthea. Then the dot, the com….

      • no one talks about women’s seemingly natural way of sharing, we do it on a relationship basis and are denied it in public. why aren’t men apprciateing,studying and talking about what women have put out there. philosophers, feminist thought etc. must we always not be listened to? i find it frightening that the first great group to go was women; that was 5 thousand yrs. ago with the disappearence of female divinities etc.and the rest of our freedom. afterall the hunters and gatherers were probably women too…
        thankyou for your interest and deep thoughts…
        a giver,
        susanne santoro
        .

      • Dawne says:

        Hi Charles, Awesome book!!! I’d like to find out more about your speaking engagements. I’m in CO and organized the following Foodie Summit: http://www.aspenbusinessjournal.com/article/id/1047/sid/16. We’re planning a few more transition focused events this winter/early spring. If you’d be interested in joining us, I’d love to connect. My email is dawnevrabel at gmail dot com. Thank you! Dawne

  12. Aliff Basri says:

    Hi, Charles,
    I’m from Malaysia and currently reading your Sacred Economics. Its inspiring me to make a move forward in order to serve the community.

    Thank you very much.

  13. Hi Charles, Your book (and the online videos of you speaking that directed me to your work) is resonating with me profoundly. I’d love to send you a longer email and introduce myself to you. Can I contact you directly? My email is davidmheatley [at] gmail [dot] com.

  14. susanbrowne says:

    Beloveds,
    This is not new, Jesus Christ taught the same thing 2000 years ago and transformed the world. Do we need a revitalization of the agape’ one heart love he preached and practiced? Of course. Is defecating on someone else’s property: having public intercourse (sexual) the example of the transendent love which you preach?

    Those who go out to soul-deadening jobs everyday to provide (due to love) for their families, do they need to spend the rest of their time listening to those who want to pontificate about love, but would not spend a day, minute or hour to contribute something substantial for the sake of someone else, but would rather the person in the soul-deading job provide a living for them as well?

    Unless one is willing to join with all to make the world a better place we all dream is a possiblity, these are the rantings of a post-high school liberal utopianist who doesn’t want to join the rest of us in the often mind-numbing work it takes to put it all together. And the flower children came and went, with their message fadding with the flowers before them, and our friend Mr. Eisenstein hopes to live comfortably from the royalties from his book.

    Only Jesus, and the soilders in the front were willing to give their lives to bring the dream of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth to pass.

    Love,

    From an old Flower Child who found the true Prince of Peace.

    • I agree that Jesus taught the same thing 2000 years ago, but have we listened? Does the world today resemble anything like what Jesus taught?

      I have nothing against those who work hard at mind-numbing jobs to support their families. It is beautiful. What is unfair, though, is a world that necessitates so many mind-numbing jobs in the first place. What is unfair is that many people work mind-numbing jobs and still cannot support their families. One would think that after so many centuries of “labor-saving technology” we would have a world of abundance for all. We have all we need to live in a world of peace and prosperity for all. What this book is about is how the money system runs directly counter to spiritual teachings, such as those of Jesus, and how it drives the world toward intensifying inequality and degradation. I think anyone who takes the teachings of Jesus seriously will resonate deeply with this book, which in fact reaches back to the early Christian fathers for much of its inspiration.

  15. ltwinfl says:

    In your video, “Occupy Wall St – The Revolution Is Love”, you say, “An economist says ‘more for you is less for me.'” I don’t know any economist who would say such a thing, and most would take strong exception to that statement. How can you write a book called “Sacred Economics” if your knowledge of the existing field of economics is as limited as that statement suggests?

    • I am referring to the logic of the “economic transaction,” in which each party is assumed to be maximizing his or her rational self-interest. Economics assumes that in any transaction, each party desires to get the best possible deal, and that this is fundamental to human economic activity. The second basic assumption of economics is that of scarcity, which implies that if one person owns or controls more wealth, there is less remaining for anyone else.

      That said, I realize that economics maintains that the maximization of self-interest will lead to greater wealth through all, as each economic actor gravitates to those activities to which he/she is best suited (enjoys a “comparative advantage”). Therefore, the logic goes, everyone is better off because each actor is focusing on activity in which it is more productive. This specialization, moreover, leads to greater efficiency. Meanwhile, competition drives further improvements to efficiency through technical innovation. The result, says economics, is increasing wealth with decreasing labor. And that is why everyone on earth enjoys such happy, abundant, leisurely lives today! “Our happy new lives,” as Orwell put it.

      So to answer your question directly, “How can you write a book called “Sacred Economics” if your knowledge of the existing field of economics is as limited as that statement suggests?” I would submit that perhaps the ignorance the statement seems to suggest is not in fact ignorance. But here is the assessment of the book by Indradeep Ghosh, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T.:

      “In these tempestuous economic times, Sacred Economics delivers not only an acutely perceptive analysis of the problem at hand, but also a prescription for economic healing and recovery that we would be only too foolhardy to ignore. If money is at the heart of our troubles, it can also situate itself at the heart of our collective redemption. It is not a matter of doing away with money, but a matter of changing our orientation towards it that Charles passionately calls for in his book. His arguments carry a unique blend of common sense and wisdom, and makes Sacred Economics a truly visionary document of human hope. It should be required reading for economists of all stripes, and especially for macroeconomists and monetary theorists, who will find hidden in its pages many ideas worth exploring further. As an educator, I am already thinking of creative ways to bring its message into the classroom.”

  16. Peter Maurin, co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker, in one of his easy essays wrote: “Everybody would be better off if everybody stopped trying to be better off.” I just discovered your web site and your book after Frank Cordaro at the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, IA sent out the video about Occupy Wall Street, A Revolution of Love. I am getting ready to read your genergous online postings of your book. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  17. Thank you so very much for bringing your message of gifting, separation,& love together with economics and our transforming societal fabric. Almost in the blink of an eye, I see and hear all around me the awakening of so many who finally realize that they deserve better and your language and eventually the movie too will assist with our transformation–giving words and actions to people who want to shift inwardly & outwardly to love and community.

  18. Nick Galasso says:

    Charles:
    The link to chapter 2 is incorrect. It points the reader to the first chapter. Separately, I am enjoying your book immensely. Right now I am preparing to teach a political economy course for the University of Delaware in January, and I may introduce a few of your ideas to my students. Particularly your conception of money; which is a hairy topic for most folks to conceptualize.

  19. Katie says:

    Charles,
    I havent read the book yet, I do plan to in the next few months. I thank you in advance for writing something that many I know should read, including me. Secondly I want to thank you for the words you spoke in the excerpt of the documentary I saw this evening called “Occupy Love.” I wept and then said thank goodness, I am not alone! You put into words what I could not. You have no idea the depth of feeling I have in knowing I am not all by my lonesome in this crazy world. Thank you from the bottom, top, sides and infiniteness of my heart!

  20. Raj-MIT says:

    Haven’t read the book Charles. Saw the video of note on LinkTV earlier today and was touched. If it isn’t already at the forefront of your psyche, Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH) is an idea that Bhutan, a princely Himalayan state, realizes in this ever-dynamic ever-materialistic world order. Here is a charming little link: http://balloonsofbhutan.org/

    Peace.

  21. wattywatty says:

    Hi Charles
    I am currently re-reading your very interesting book, Sacred Economics: trying to get my head around lots of stuff. I have a couple of questions for you. I am not an economist. I came by you via Mark Boyle’s website.

    Do profits exist in the sacred economy? How would they come about? What would people do with those profits: what would be the point of those profits? (p190)

    Correct me if I am wrong: I take it you still advocate formal governments (representative democracy) at all levels: local, regional, national? I take it you don’t trust people to self-organise (anarchy?) which appears to contradict your faith in people?

    Do you support inheritance including financial inheritance?

    You claim that wealthy are afraid of scarcity (p22) and that is why they crave more and more money but you don’t really mention power and I wonder why that is?

    As I am re-reading your book, I may have more questions for you if that is OK?

    wattywatty

    • Hi Wattywatty…

      OK, so, let me answer some of these, since you are not the only person to voice these questions.

      1. Would profits exist in a sacred economy? Yes, why not? The important thing isn’t whether there are profits; it is how they are earned and what people do with them. Ultimately, money should be something that guides us toward the fulfillment of society’s and the planet’s needs, like a signaling chemical in the body. Those who do that well, would make a lot of profit. However, the shift of mindset that is part of this transition will mean that people are not doing it “for the money”; profit would be secondary, a side effect of giving your gifts. However, even if you are motivated purely by self-interest, in a system where profit is aligned with the common good, it wouldn’t matter what your motivations are. It may take a long time for everyone to fully occupy the spirit of the gift. That is why we need systems and institutions that nudge us into that way of being.

      2. Government. I resonate with various forms of direct democracy and P2P bottom-up governance. Representative, majority-rule democracy as practiced today suffers severe flaws. I think the role of government will recede, but more importantly, the boundary between government and self-governance, such as informal community-based governance, will blur. The more community dissolves, the more people need to appeal to an external authority and codified laws. Informal mechanisms of self-governance only work in the presence of community.

      3. Inheritance. I like to create systemic parameters that make it unnecessary to outlaw or regulate things like inheritance. In this case, negative interest completely changes the whole conversation about this issue. In the context of negative interest, I think that no inheritance tax of any sort would be necessary. Let’s keep things simple. No income tax, no sales tax, no inheritance tax, and none of the burdensome regulatory apparatus, paperwork, and surveillance surrounding them. Instead, demurrage and taxes on pollution, resource extraction, and the use of the commons.

      4. Power. Yes, even though objectively speaking the wealthy do not live in scarcity, nonetheless subjectively they do. They are always worrying about their investments and their financial security. (I realize I’m generalizing here.) That may be why they give a lot less to charity (as a proportion of their income) than middle class people do. I’m not sure exactly what you mean about not mentioning power. Certainly money and power are closely aligned, and people pursue power for many of the same reasons they pursue money. Many of the same dynamics hold as well, for example that no amount is ever “enough”.

      Other questions are welcome.

      Charles

      • wattywatty says:

        Hi Charles

        Thanks for your responses. I also asked you what would be the point of making a profit if the mindset was changed to “the common good?” Surely, profiteering would wither away as what would be the need for it as people would singing from the same hymm sheet unless some people want to hoard more “good” than others etc (the irony) or could profiteering for the common good may be an insurance against anyone with other ideas of pure accumulation for its own sake and to oppress others including the ecology?

        Throughout your book, I feel your emphasis is on money as an end whereas there is little overt content where power is concerned.

        Wattywatty

  22. wattywatty says:

    Hi Charles

    I have read that you sometimes set up classes where you only charge for the set up costs and it is up to those who attend if they wish to pay anything extra (a gift). The group can only really “work” if those who attend put the effort (gifts) in and so do you ever feel like paying anything extra to those who attend?

    Wattywatty

  23. Hi Charles,

    I first want to thank you for your cogent and thoughtful analysis in Sacred Economics (I’ve only just gotten started but have read many of your other articles on reality sandwich, an e-zine I have only been introduced to a few months ago which already feels like a lifetime ago). It’s great to see integration of different areas of thought that are accessible and intuitive for readers to tap into.

    I was recently watching a presentation by Chris Hedges at Princeton that he did a couple weeks ago via TruthDig, and at just around the 37 minute mark he mentions a book by Hungarian economist, Karl Polyani, called the Great Transformation. Hedges goes on to say:

    “It’s a look at the force of unregulated capitalism. How unregulated capitalism commodifies everything. It commodifies human beings. It commodifies the natural world and exploits them until exhaustion or collapse. Of course this is why the environmental crisis is twined with the economic crisis. And Polyani, although he is an economist, uses the word sacred. When a society loses the capacity for the sacred, when there is nothing sacred about human life, when there is nothing sacred about the natural world, it commits self-annihilation. It cannibalizes itself until it dies.”

    I felt a bit shocked to hear him use similar terminology in a similar vein to what I had just been reading in your book. Anyway, I recommend the talk by Hedges:

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/_20111219/#c448534

    Food for thought!

    Stella

  24. Thank you Charles for writing this book! I just clicked on a link in a newsletter from John L. Petersen. I look forward to read your ideas for a new economy system that will benefit people and planet. By watching the video I can feel you have a beautiful depth and spiritual insight.
    I would like to invite you to create a free profile on http://www.TheFairPages.com – a directory for companies, organizations and people making a difference for a more FAIR world. You will get listed among many different green, fair-minded, cause-related and holistic brands and can market your book to our many conscious consumers.
    All the best,
    Liselotte Østerby

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