A first batch of my books for Christmas

Nipawin -Sunday, December 30, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


This Christmas with the collusion of my wife Sharon, I received some books, and some others are on their way. I hope I will have the time to read all of these books in their entirety, but if not I will still get beautiful ideas and carry on with my learning. I will write few lines on the books I have ordered and not yet received, in the meantime these are the books I have received.




I got two books by Donella Meadows, Global Citizen and Beyond The Limits; Donella (Dana) Meadows coauthored the latter book with Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers. A few years ago, as I appreciated the field of System Dynamics I came across the work of Donella Meadows and I felt her unlimited passion to change our way of living and thinking, from greed and mastery of nature to sufficiency and harmony with nature. The Global Citizen is a collection of newspaper columns Donella Meadows wrote in the late 80s. I read a number of more recent columns of this author through the Internet, and I felt saddened as Dana passed away early this year. I have not finished yet to read the Global Citizen but I have been struck by the freshness and social understanding of Dana's stories. For example, Dana says that the family farms are disappearing for the lack of proper governmental policies. The prices of agricultural products are what they are and in order to make a profit farmers have no choice but to expand, more family farms disappear, and the cycle of more expanding farms continue; in the end farmers fight against each other interest. Beyond The Limits deals with the destruction and depletion of our natural wealth and the authors provides different system dynamics models to show that we need radical systemic changes to sustain our economy and our environment, for instance changing the current policies supporting the extraction of natural energy to policies of conservation and renewable sources of energy.




Democracy at Risk by Jeff Gates. In this book Jeff Gates rejects the uncontrolled growth of capitalism which undermines our democracies, which concentrates wealth in the hands of fewer corporations and privileged people, which causes a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Jeff Gates proposes a new form of capitalism, a shared capitalism where people can be, in different degrees, at the same time capitalists, workers and entrepreneurs.




for the common good by Herman Daly and John Cobb Jr. In the 90s I wrestled with my understanding of economics and politics. I thought that economics was 'the rational allocation of resources' and I was at a loss when I realized that Saskatchewan health care was digging holes in the ground, and I was at a loss when former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow was saying "sometime you lose, sometime you win." I thought later that we entered the new economy, called also the eEconomy or the Internet Economy or the Information Economy. Then I came across the work of some ecological economists and I got confused in understanding what was the new economy, either the Information Economy or the Ecological Economy. It is very revealing that since the early 80s Herman Daly and John Cobb were advocating the redirection of the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future.


Economics: A New Introduction by Hugh Stretton. Our economic schools have been preaching the orthodoxy of neoclassical economics for too long and I shudder as I hear the ubiquitous economic tenets of the Chicago School of Economics. This is an encyclopedic work and a refreshing understanding that economics is embedded in our history and humanity. I am not going to read this book from page one on. This book is just a reminder that economics is not what is thought in today's schools.
  The Global Citizen, by Donella H. Meadows http://iisd1.iisd.ca/pcdf/meadows/default.htm
  BEYOND THE LIMITS, by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, & Jorgen Randers http://www.unh.edu/ipssr/Lab/BTL.html
  Democracy at Risk, by Jeff Gates http://www.sharedcapitalism.org/book.html
  For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, by Herman E. Daly & John B. Cobb, Jr. http://www.scottlondon.com/reviews/daly.html
  ECONOMICS: A NEW INTRODUCTION, by Hugh Stretton. A review by Anthony Housego, University of Sydney http://www.econ.usyd.edu.au/drawingboard/digest/0104/housego.html