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This book is terrific! And narration is excellent.
It's about economic co-operatives in which the workers own the enterprise. It's starts with a description of a longstanding co-operative created by sex workers in Calcutta, India. By forming a co-operative, the women have been able to develop self-respect, improve their healthcare, their protection from HIV, and raise their economic situation and their literacy rates. The Calcutta co-operative has inspired similar co-operatives of sex workers in India and other countries.
Then, the book describes worker ownership of failed factories in Argentina which otherwise would have shut down. These two examples provide concrete understanding of how co-operatives are formed and operate.
The rest of the book discusses the role of cooperatives in dealing with problems that globalism is creating--the unfettered power of multinational corporations, the loss of U.S. manufacturing, and growing income inequality in the West. The author, John Restakis, has a wide-ranging understanding of the current economic and political situation that Capitalist countries are experiencing. When he wrote it, in 2009, he could see that our trends would end us up where we are today, with someone like Trump as President.
While Restakis doesn't note the reductions in world poverty since the 1980's that global Capitalism is responsible for, for the most part, he's not dogmatic. As he says at the end of the book, he sees important roles for many different types of economic organizations --co-operatives, corporations, government agencies, and NGO's.
The book is easy-listening (if you're not put off by the sex worker section) and enjoyable. At the same time, it's packed with new information and new ideas. My appetite has been whetted for more about co-operatives. I see it as an approach very much needed to deal with many of our American social, political, and economic problems.
Interestingly, today, upon finishing the book, I pretty much randomly started watching a 2009 romantic comedy called "New in Town." Turns out it's about a factory in Minnesota about to be roboticized by a big corporation. It gets into the worker-related issues of "Humanizing the Economy." Could the screenplay writer have read the book? Stars Renee Zellwegger and Harry Connick, Jr. Light fare and a little corny, but quite enjoyable, and with a focus on the cultural conflicts that are so much part of American politics right now. I recommend the movie for the light version of "Humanizing the Economy." But mostly, I highly recommend reading (or listening to the audiobook of) "Humanizing the Economy."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A very dense but informative and thought-provoking work. A well-written analysis of the co-operative model with a succinct yet substantive analysis of the challenges, successes and practical implications. The author makes a compelling case for the viability of the co-operative model in today's capital market.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Humanizing the Economy?
This book has changed the way I see the world. Its rich exploration of cooperatives across the globe is handled with an accessible and always deeply human perspective. It is balanced and thorough but never closes its eyes to the fact that these stories are about real people and their experiences. It travels across continents with its rigorous and thorough analysis of each case explored and gives a clear history of the ideas building into cooperative economies and suggests limitations and possibilities to be explored in the future.
Despite being totally new to economics, I found this book fully accessible; wise and insightful without being preachy.Thanks John Restakis, you've given me new eyes. This is a discussion of economics with a soul.
Who was your favorite character and why?
What about David M. Adams’s performance did you like?
The performance was clear, strong and easy to follow.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Bit too heavy for only one sitting, but a book I was keen to tear through.