Hans Dirk van Hoogstraten

Deep Economy: Caring for Ecology, Humanity and Religion

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A wide-ranging analysis of the economic world order and its ecological and theological dimensions, this unique and challenging work confronts us with the necessity of rethinking conceptions of life and death, sex and birth, wealth and work.

About this Book

Both true and false notions of connection exist in society and in the human imagination. In this work, economic and ecological claims of supposed connectedness are compared on a profound level. Starting with an historical analysis of the ethical and economic thought of Aristotle and Adam Smith, the two main representatives of the first and second waves of Enlightenment, this discussion clarifies the value of the term 'deep economy'. Concern about current ecological problems often confronts us with the history, theories, and experiences of natural and spiritual connectedness. This book adds an indispensable factor. It urges us to take into serious account the actual state of economic affairs.

Discussion of the clash between ecology and economy has long been avoided, due to the paralysis it threatens. Dr. Van Hoogstraten, however, searched for a paramount view, and found it in religion. In his in-depth discussion of the character of both ecology and economy, the hidden religious pretensions of both fields are uncovered. A merely moral approach to the economy's devastating effects is deemed ineffective: the author offers readers a perspective beyond good and evil. The adoption of this Nietzschean approach he calls 'facing the fate'.

Exposing unexplored, forgotten treasures in Jewish wisdom, Deep Economy lays out a possible way to proceed towards a new connectedness. He confronts us with the necessity of rethinking conceptions of life and death, sex and birth, wealth and work. He convincingly questions and explores hidden places, both in society as a whole and in human imagination, where basic decisions concerning living together are made.

Unlike established economic thought, Deep Economy leads us through global economy's aspects of exclusion and enrichment, of curse and blessing, to the author's unique world-view presented in this book. Call it a provoking textbook for class discussion, a talking piece for politicians and political scientists, a philosophical work for economists, an interpretative study for theologians and philosophers to work with - or call it Deep Economy.

Reactions to Deep Economy

John B. Cobb, Claremont, California, author, a.o., of Process Theology:

Van Hoogstraten grasps, as few have, the religious depth and power of the political economy that shapes and governs our lives. He uncovers the cultural history through which this has came to be through analysis of the Greek and modern Enlightenments. To unmask the false claims of this new religion, he calls for a third wave of enlightenment as transformative as the two earlier ones. May his call be heeded!

Larry Rasmussen, New York, author of, a.o., Earth Community, Earth Ethics:

Van Hoogstraten's is a bold analysis and proposal. It works just where we need help: at the intersection of the powerful forces of economy, the environment, and religion. There it offers an historically grounded, illuminating analysis of our present troubles and the conditions for a needed new 'wave of Enlightenment'. Van Hoogstraten is not predictable. Rather, he is provocative in the best sense and grand in the sweep of his analysis. I have learned much from this discussion and I happily commend it, not least at a time when theological imagination needs to probe and help recast both 'deep economy' and 'deep ecology'.

Ulrich Duchrow, Heidelberg, author of, a.o., God or Mammon?:

Deep Economy is a 'must-read' for all who try to change the present lethal development of Western civilisation, dominated by globalised capital accumulation, nature and future generations. It brilliantly analyses the history and mechanisms of the present system in order to liberate attitudes and personal/collective practices towards a life-sustaining new paradigm informed by biblical traditions.