Technology and Human Responsibility

Issue # 174            December 22, 2008
A Publication of The Nature Institute
Editor: Stephen L. Talbott (

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Editor's Note
      A Course for Farmers and Gardeners
      On the Global Economic Crisis
A Taste for Number Magic (Stephen L. Talbott)
      Why don't economists take the market more seriously?
About this newsletter


A Course for Farmers and Gardeners

The Nature Institute is offering, for the first-time, a winter course for farmers and gardeners: "Cultivating Perception and Imagination". It will take place from February 25 to March 1, 2009. For more information, see the Nature Institute calendar.

On the Global Economic Crisis

Between November 1997 and March 1998 I published three articles in NetFuture under the title, "Beyond the Dreams of Avarice", where I commented on certain destructive misunderstandings of capitalism. I subsequently conflated those three articles into a single chapter of my recent book, Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines (O'Reilly Media, 2007). While streamlining and condensing the presentation, I found no need to alter the text substantively. And, in the current economic crisis, that text now seems to me at least as relevant as when I first wrote it over ten years ago. So I've decided to offer the book chapter here, by kind permission of the publisher. (You'll find ordering information at the end of the article.)

Given that our elected representatives in Washington, all the way up to the president and president-elect, seem to have little choice but to follow the direction of their esoterically educated economic advisers, and given that economists themselves — more and more by their own admission — have grossly failed in their understanding of what is happening to us, it might seem presumptuous for people like you and me to weigh in on