Long before the financial meltdown and the red alert on climate change, some far-sighted innovators diagnosed the fatal flaws in an economic system driven by greed and fear. Across the global North and South, diverse people - financial wizards, economists, business people and social activists - have been challenging the "free market" orthodoxy. They seek to recover the virtues of bazaars from the tyranny of a market model that emerged about two centuries ago. This widely praised book is a chronicle of their achievements.
From Wall Street icon George Soros and VISA card designer Dee Hock we get an insider critique of the malaise. Creators of community currencies and others, like the father of microfinance, Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus, explore how money can work differently. The doctrine of self-interest is re-examined by looking more closely at Adam Smith through the eyes of Amartya Sen. Mahatma Gandhi's concept of 'Trusteeship' gathers strength as the socially responsible investing phenomenon challenges the power of capital. Pioneers of the open source and free software movement thrive on cooperation to drive innovation. The Dalai Lama and Ela Bhatt demonstrate that it is possible to compete compassionately and to nurture a more mindful market culture.
This sweeping narrative takes you from the ancient Greek agora, Indian choupal, and Native American gift culture, on to present-day Wall Street to illuminate ideas, subversive and prudent, about how the market can serve society rather than being its master. In a world exhausted by dogma, Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom is an open quest for possible futures.
This fully updated and revised UK version of the 2009 Vodafone Crossword Book Award winner for non-fiction is a rare and epic narrative about those who have been quietly forging solutions and demonstrating that a more compassionate market culture is both possible and desirable.
Table of Contents
Prelude: A walk down Wall Street 1. The need to gather: rescuing bazaars from Goddess TINA 2. Self-interest and market failure: in search of a post-autistic economics 3. Can money work differently? community-created currencies 4. Competing compassionately: the freedom to cooperate 5. Cosmopolitan localism: Wall Street, Main Street and beyond 6. Who cares ... wins! Challenging the divine right of capital 7. Nature bats last: Earth as home or marketplace