Eisenstein 3/19

Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics provides a unique historical analysis of the role of money and the destructive institutions that control, regulate, and grow its influence society as a whole specifically from a community and general well-being of mankind perspective. I thought his viewpoints in general were very radical but backed by very logical reasoning and common sense; it is hard to for me personally rationally process his viewpoints from an unbiased arbitrary perspective because of the capitalist heavy laissez faire economic system preached in our culture and the struggle of undergraduate students to amass enough financial security in the form of money or promise of money for independent survival. Lastly, as an economics major who has studied the theories of money and the institutions in place to back its validity, it is very apparent that Eisenstein downplays the huge benefits of money, specifically money not backed by minerals or commodities but rather faith in its viability, which range from its ease of counting value to its ease of transporting to its durability over time. These benefits greatly overshadow the suspected harms to society that Eisenstein details in his book.

Despite being a bit turned off by some of his more radical viewpoints on money, I found Chapter 23 (A New Materialism) of his book, which shied away from his descriptions of historical events negatively shaped by the existence of money and focused instead more on the things humans create and others use in everyday life. A unique observation he makes is that when analyzing beauty, it doesn’t matter if something is modern or ancient, practical or purely for aesthetics, etc. Things that are sacred are infinite, while the spirit-matter divide causes us to care less and less about things. This lack of caring about material possessions because of the easy affordability of new items makes us more wasteful, less appreciative, and forever unable to satisfy their wants. Eisenstein argues that these things collectively add to the turmoil of our existence, which ultimately flaws the very core of our society.

In my own perspective, I look at this as an effect of industrialization and mass production, not because of the existence of money. While it is true that money and greed can motivate us to the extent of obsession and disregard for humanity, it also pushes us to improve the living standards of our generation and those ahead of us through means of medical research and technological advancements. Like Eisenstein, I agree that the beauty of life is experienced constantly and spontaneously since part of the effect is sensing things you have never sensed before.

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