A historically informed and logical economic blueprint with the practicality of a hand-tool, and a vision guided by the...

PARECON

LIFE AFTER CAPITALISM

If not capitalism, what then? asks journalist and activist Albert as he proffers this dogged, humanist alternative to private enterprise.

Let's admit, suggests Albert (a founder of Z Magazine and South End Press), that capitalism has its downside: the zero-sum me-first logic, the downplaying of public good and prioritizing of private good, the decline of diversity as globalization swamps quality with quantity, not to mention antisocial investment, toxic individualism, ecological decay, and absurd income disparities. Albert rejects capitalism, but he also rejects the typical alternatives, such as market socialism and green bioregionalism; instead, he offers, in detail and with examples, participatory economics, or “parecon.” It's an ugly name for a surprisingly elegant economic system owned in equal part by all citizens. Those most affected have the most say in specific decisions. All jobs include “some rote work and some creative work” to eliminate disproportionate power and status. Within limits, pay reflects effort, “the only factor influencing performance over which an individual has any control.” The participatory planning process “utilizes cooperative communication of mutually informed preferences via a variety of simple communicative and organizing principles and means.” Albert’s design is remarkable for its applicability, for weighing social opportunity costs in pursuing a general equilibrium of allocation (“if we produce peanuts, how much of other things will we have to give up?”), and in its admission of imperfection and elements that will need special attention, like its busybody economics and its dictatorship of the sociable. Despite invocation of such romantic figures as Spanish anarchists and French communards, this is still the dismal science, complete with lots of repetition and phrases like “consumption calculated according to the IFB-generated indicative prices and adjusted for MLK's above-average collective consumption request.” But it’s also a science that could possibly generate widespread gratification in everyday economic life.

A historically informed and logical economic blueprint with the practicality of a hand-tool, and a vision guided by the desire to find nobility in work.

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-85984-698-X

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Verso

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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