What Matters?

What Matters? : Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth

4.26 (280 ratings by Goodreads)
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"The reasoned and insistent exhortations of a man with a cause who, rather than mellowing with age and wisdom, continues to grow in forcefulness and vision." --Booklist

Over the years, Wendell Berry has sought to understand and confront the financial structure of modern society and the impact of developing late capitalism on American culture. There is perhaps no more demanding or important critique available to contemporary citizens than Berry's writings -- just as there is no vocabulary more given to obfuscation than that of economics as practiced by professionals and academics. Berry has called upon us to return to the basics. He has traced how the clarity of our economic approach has eroded over time, as the financial asylum was overtaken by the inmates, and citizens were turned from consumers -- entertained and distracted -- to victims, threatened by a future of despair and disillusion.

For this collection, Berry offers essays from the last twenty-five years, alongside new essays about the recent economic collapse, including "Money Versus Goods" and "Faustian Economics," treatises of great alarm and courage. He offers advice and perspective as our society attempts to steer from its present chaos and recession to a future of hope and opportunity. With urgency and clarity, Berry asks us to look toward a true sustainable commonwealth, grounded in realistic Jeffersonian principles applied to our present day.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 14.48mm | 256g
  • Berkeley, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 1582436061
  • 9781582436067
  • 247,081

Review quote

Praise for What Matters? "The reasoned and insistent exhortations of a man with a cause who, rather than mellowing with age and wisdom, continues to grow in forcefulness and vision." --Booklist Praise for Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community "Read it with pencil in hand, make notes, and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here." --The New York Times Book Review "Berry once again carves out a unique position in American social debate: not liberal (he hates big government), not conservative (he hates big corporations), not libertarian (he would balance individual rights with those of the commonwealth), but always sharp-tongued and aglow with common sense." --Kirkus Reviews
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Rating details

280 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 46% (129)
4 39% (109)
3 11% (32)
2 2% (7)
1 1% (3)

Our customer reviews

Have you ever paused to wonder where the money economy is taking us? If so, just read this book. Agribusiness is holding farming to ransom, even though extracting money is a poor substitute for producing food. In his opening 2009 monograph Money Versus Goods, Mr Berry berates the ignorant destruction wreaked by a global industrial economy that is "out of control" and driving a wedge between people and the earth that supports life on this planet. His tone is remarkably restrained, given the importance of the message he delivers in perfectly polished prose. For decades now, Wendell Berry has been publishing monographs about farming, the environment and food production: indeed he coined the phrase: "...eating is an agricultural act." Even now, his economic analysis is not as well known to mainstream commentators as it deserves to be. Just read this book and judge for yourself.show more
by Peter Crosskey
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