Philip Smith & Manfred Max-Neef
Economics Unmasked is the result of a long dialogue between an experimental physicist, Philip Bartlett Smith (1923-2005) – a Dutch-American who after his retirement, devoted himself to studying economics and its theories – and Manfred Max-Neef, a renowned Chilean-German economist and environmentalist who recieved a Right Livelihood Award (the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’) in 1983.
They propose that the economic system under which we live, not only forces the majority of humankind to live their lives in indignity and poverty, but also threatens all forms of life on Earth. It is their view that the merciless onslaught on the global eco-system of recent decades, brought about by the massive increase in the production of goods and the consequent depletion of nature’s reserves, is not a chance property of the economic system. It is the direct result of neo-liberal economic thinking, they say, which recognises value only in material things.
The authors believe that the obsession with economic growth is not a mistaken idea that mainstream economists can unlearn, but is inherent in their view of life. A socio-economic system based on this obsession can never be sustainable the book argues. Instead, it outlines the foundations of a new economics, where justice, human dignity, compassion and reverence for life must be the guiding values.
Economics Unmasked presents a cogent critique of the dominant economic system in order to help transform our society into one in which all forms of life will be protected.