Values and the sacred may seem to be strange bed-fellows with economics. This book shows that they are not only compatible, but essential elements of achieving immense economic productivity gains that can create a secure, abundant and caring future for all.
Advocates for community well-being, ecological health, and wiser patterns of living have long shied away from root issues of economics, because it seemed their ideas were insupportable by rigorous economic analysis. No more. Bender provides clear documentation that economics based on values, ecology, and the sacred out-performs conventional economics by an order of magnitude. In the process, our conventional economic tools such as "future discounting" and "present value accounting" are shown to be what they really are ways to conceal the real costs of policies that benefit special interests.
Factor Ten Economics, which Bender pioneered in the early 1970s, is already bringing ten-fold improvement in energy efficiency and resource productivity. It has become public policy of many nations, international development organizations and leading businesses. These gains have been well documented in Paul Hawken and Amory and L. Hunter Lovins' best-selling Natural Capitalism that is creating seismic waves in the business world. Bender's new book shows, however, that resource productivity is only one dimension of Factor Ten Economics. Equally immense improvements are simultaneously possible in institutional and financial performance, personal and social well-being, and in planetary health and goals. Surprisingly, values and the sacred are key.
Bender shows that new perceptions, not new technologies, are what is needed to achieve most of these gains. He provides the key tools to obtain them and perhaps most importantly, shows how totally different personal and community life is within this new economics.
Increasing violence and terrorist attacks have brought significant questioning of the direction our global culture has taken. Disparities of material wealth and poverty, questionable ethics used to maintain economic supremacy, and absence of spiritual dimensions in our culture appear to be central issues behind both religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Bender's latest work provides an unexpected path out of this quagmire. He makes it clear we have the resources to make the whole world a success erasing poverty, eliminating starvation, and ending battles over resources. It is time now for compassion and sharing, not greed. Wisely used, they can open a brighter world. This is vital reading for all.
Tom Bender is recipient of national and international awards for his seminal work in development of sustainable economics, communities and design. A former consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment, energy researcher for Oregon Governor Tom McCall, an editor of RAIN Magazine, and a practicing architect, his trailblazing work has spanned the gamut from technical tools such as solar design to the spiritual roots of our cultural problems.
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