Sacred Economics – Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition, by Charles Einsenstein – Audible Book / PDF reviewed by Celine
Published by: Evolver Editions
Date of publication: 2011
Genres: Non-fiction, spiritual, philosophy, sociology, economics
Before I discovered that I could read this book directly online via Charles’ website, link above, I thought that I could try listening to the audio version while I wasn’t feeling well ….. it wouldn’t take up as much energy listening, compared to reading, I thought.
So I signed up for a 30 day free trial with Audible (an Amazon company) and clicked somewhere to put this audio book into my Library or somewhere. I didn’t want to download or save the book to my ipad nor to my computer, so I merely clicked on the title, once I had signed up for the free trial and got the book free (for 30 days) – and the book began speaking from the Audible “clouds”.
“Beaut” I thought to myself, as I intended to listen to it while connected to the internet. No energy this time around to save or download my free audio book and to get the “app” so that I could listen to it off-line. Well I’m glad that I dabbled into Audio books, and yes this is the FIRST Audio book that I have listened to.
As you can see, the Audible company details show the listening duration of the whole book and specifies who the reader is. I found the actual audio very pleasant and easy to listen to ( I LOVE the voice of this reader ) and found there are settings available, such as speeding up the narration speed and bookmarking sections. One can rewind or fast forward by 30 seconds also, which I think is great, and can click on the arrow to the left or right to skip to the next Section (not chapter). Note that clicking on Chapters does not to go to the chapter numbers or titles as in the printed book, but rather to goes to what are called Sections in the Audio book.
I found that one Section does not correspond to one Chapter. Upon finishing reading Chapter 12 (equivalent to the print version), I discovered that I was listening to Section 15. What does this mean? Well I think that it means the Sections are smaller than the chapters, unless my maths is wrong.
Anyhow, I’m pleased to report that Charles Eisenstein is a philosopher and a philanthropist, just to mention 2 of many “labels” to describe this amazing talented man. Where has he been all my Life? In the spirit of “the common use” Mr Eisenstein has made his books freely available and to my astonishment I even found this book “Sacred Economics” available as a PDF document.
Click here for the PDF version of Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein.
Now I am NOT advocating that you desperately seek out FREE PDF or other free electronic format copies of books that you would like to read, quite the reverse because some of those websites with alluring links to free electronic books may actually be spurious. You may find a nasty computer virus downloaded to your computer or may have to do something that only a really gullible person would do – sign up and maybe even provide some payment details – before you can download your supposedly free (but really “pirated”) copy of a book you would love to read.
The Book – Sacred Economics
It is definitely quicker for me to read the printed word than to listen to a book. I love to take notes for myself, and as such I stopped the audio quite a lot of times, to type something that really meant a lot to me into my computer. Hey, I also sometimes scribble notes into a hard copy Note book while reading a printed book.
I think that it would depend upon the book subject and complexity that one is listening to, as to how much of what one hears that one remembers. Sorry but in this case, there is little that I can remember from listening to this audio book, in terms of specifics, but there are many broad concepts that I did absorb from listening.
I am sure that part of this is due to my not being very economically minded. Therefore the economic principles that I listened to were a little difficult for me to grasp, but luckily I have the PDF version to read and to study. The first 2 things that really took me by surprise were these:
Now I’m a simple girl, meaning I’ve not been to Oxford or Harvard Uni nor have I worked for NASA, but that doesn’t bother me. It was a real eye-opener to me when Charles explained that we live in the “Age of usury”. I am one of those in modern-day peonage debt to the banks for my house, and I can truthfully say that sometimes I have wondered unhappily to myself “why is this happening” (i.e. my working in a job that I don’t like, for money: and my paying the bank probably until I’m 77 years old to pay off my mortgage), and “what’s this all about?”
Some may say “Don’t worry, you’ll pay of your house eventually” and I think to myself I thank “my lucky stars” (or something) that I’m in the position to do so, BUT it doesn’t sit well with me, or I don’t feel comfortable about it. Charles’ book explains how far humanity as a collective has drifted from a reciprocal and gift giving society to becoming unhealthily dependent upon “economic growth”, a construct which has become the means and the end, but which is not self-sustaining.
Economics is the study of human behaviour under conditions of scarcity – page 30
Charles explains why the “age of leisure” has not arrived under the current money system, and how usury drives an endemic scarcity and drives the world-devouring engine of perpetual growth. He suggests that “demurrage” or subjecting money to a negative interest rate is a way to moving toward a social economy, where our needs and wants are met and nobody lives in bondage.
I’m aware that the Audible Company has software called WhisperSync which means that a person can buy both an Audio book and an e-book of the same title and read along as they listen along. Well I don’t require any software whispering to me. I just read along from the PDF book as I listened to the Audio book.
Now a little philosophising on my own part here. I’ve always thought of money as a means of exchange, but Charles’ book has shown me that it also is a unit of account and a store of value, and has explained to me reading the book and listening to the audio version, what these mean to society.
To me what’s important is that we all around the world, human and otherwise, look after our resources and have our needs met while living in comfort with creative and leisure activities. Too much to ask for? Charles says a resounding NO and talks about the perception of scarcity and shows how coinage came after barter and was a token of appreciation and trust. Thus from mostly reciprocal living, coinage began to be used for convenience BUT also it initially symbolised something profound. Charles’ book excels in elaborating upon this – he gets to the fact that a spirituality IS underlying everything that we do, including beginning to use coinage.
If YOU reading this are at all interested in the evolution of money and how a soul-less money economy has kept us divided, root-less without community, lonely and discontent amidst our huge opportunities, explorations and technical skills, then please read this book Sacred Economics, as well as Charles’ other books, such as The Ascent of Humanity. This latter book is available in hard copy through Amazon, or you can read it online via Charles’ website ( link provided at the beginning of this review ).
I think that I will need to discuss Sacred Economics with others who are more cognisant of the economic principles in this book, but I did get the gist that a new economics is possible. Reading / listening to this book has given me hope that human beings may not eternally be enslaved by a money economy that props up those who want the most for themselves only. Charles states that the current system has reached its limits of use, and that the time is right now for major change to be discussed or to be planned, and not just by those in authority, as the people have power when their voices or other actions are made.
I saved snapshots from the PDF book as I read and listened, which were outstanding to me, which I’ll share here. These may give the reader more of an overview of what the book is about. The print book from Amazon is 498 pages and the PDF version which I have read is 314 pages long.
Here are the Sections of the Audible audio book and their durations. The PDF book has 23 Chapters and the Audio book has 29 Sections. When listening to the audio book and you click on Chapters in the bottom left (see the screenshot at the top of this page), this will take you to Sections (rather than chapters per se) as shown below.
Here are some screenshots from the book that I took as I read through to the end.
On this note, I will say that reading books like those written and offered freely by Charles Einsenstein is something that I wish all school students did, and for that matter, the more who read this one at least, Sacred Economics, the more of us will be aware that there are other ways to work with money. We can thus prepare ourselves to go down the new paths, if we want – to sacred economics – where everyone is equally valued.
Thank you Charles!
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