David Batker, organizer of the 2005 USSEE Conference and co-founder of Earth Economics, has just released a book with John de Graaf entitled What’s the Economy For, Anyway? Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness (Bloomsbury Press, $25). Based on the 2010 film of the same name, this highly accessible and humorous book is intended for university students, professors, lay audiences and policy makers alike. It has already received a number of positive reviews! The book is available for purchase through booksellers listed on this page (and only $15.88 though Amazon for a limited time!).
Americans are working longer hours for lower pay, fewer benefits, less time for loved ones and no vacation. We’re postponing retirement or ditching it altogether. We’re told the best thing we can do for the economy is to work, borrow, spend and consume. Corporations keep raking in record profits; the one percent keep getting richer. You’re working for the economy – it’s not working for you. How did we get into this mess? How do we get out of it?
John De Graaf and Dave Batker provide fresh and convincing answers. This one-of-a-kind economics book is not only a fun read, it makes a compelling case for new economic goals, measures, and policies, and provides solutions at the scale of the problem.
De Graaf, a writer and filmmaker, and Batker, an economist and environmentalist, take on our wrong-headed obsession with growth at all costs. They show how our chief economic measure, Gross Domestic Product, is an outdated tool. It counts cigarettes and lung cancer costs as positive. It recorded the sale of toxic mortgages that sank banks and picked taxpayers’ pockets as an economic boon. It does not count the value of nature, of good health, of friends and family or that most important measure of success, happiness.
WTEFA? began as a film. De Graaf and Batker are funny, insightful and much-sought-after public speakers. They teamed up to make a 40-minute film that could be described as Econ 101 meets Jon Stewart. The film has been viewed online thousands of times, and on DVD has proved particularly popular in college classrooms, so they expanded its ideas into a book.
“It’s time for a solidarity economy, one that recognizes we’re all in this together,” they write. “You could call it capitalism with a human face.” What’s the Economy For, Anyway? succeeds brilliantly at putting a human face on the most pressing issue of our time.
More information about the book and its authors can be found in the official Press Release.