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Book Review


Revolution or Renaissance

Revolution or Renaissance

by Paul Schafer

In Revolution or Renaissance, D. Paul Schafer subjects two of the most powerful forces in the world – economics and culture – to a detailed and historically sensitive analysis. He argues that the economic age has produced a great deal of wealth and unleashed tremendous productive power; however, it is not capable of coming to grips with the problems threatening human and non-human life on this planet. After tracing the evolution of the economic age from the publication of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in 1776 to the present, he turns his attention to culture, examining it both as a concept and as a reality. What emerges is a portrait of the world system of the future where culture is the central focus of development. According to Schafer, making the transition from an economic age to a cultural age is imperative if global harmony, environmental sustainability, economic viability, and human well-being are to be achieved.

D. Paul Schafer has worked in the cultural field for four decades and taught at York University and the University of Toronto. He is the author of many publications on culture and the arts, and is director of the World Culture Project.



Table of Contents

Preface I
Prologue I

Part I - THE AGE OF ECONOMICS
1. Origins of the Economic Age 9
   The Wealth of Nations 10
   The Industrial Revolution 23
   Religion and the Rise of Capitalism 27
   Genesis of the World System 31
2. Evolution of the Economic Age 37
   Classical Economics 39
   Marxian Economics 51
   Neoclassical Economics 58
   Keynesian Economics 72
   Development Economics 78
   Contemporary Economics 85
3. Mechanics of the Economic Age 93
   The Economic Worldview 93
   The Economic Model of Development 98
   Dominant Forces in Society 102
   The Modern World System 113
4. Assessment of the Economic Age 119
   Strengths of the Economic Age 120
   Shortcomings of the Economic Age 124
   A Balance Sheet on the Economic Age 130

Part II - THE AGE OF CULTURE
5. Signs of a Cultural Age 139
   The Holistic Transformation 140
   The Environmental Movement 143
   The Encounter with Human Needs 146
   The Quest for Quality of Life 149
   The Struggle for Equality 151
   The Necessity of Identity 153
   The Focus on Creativity 155
   Culture as a Crucial Force 156
6. Foundations for a Cultural Age 159
   The Nature of Culture 159
   The Character of Cultures 166
   The Cultural Interpretation of History 179
   The Great Cultural Tradition 184
7. Functioning of a Cultural Age 191
   A Cultural Worldview 191
   Development of Culture and Culture 193
   A Cultural Model of Development 195
   Key Cultural Conerns 200
   A Cultural World System 207
8. Priorities for a Cultural Age 215
   A New Environmental Reality 215
   Fulfilling Human Needs 218
   New Meanings of Wealth 221
   A New Corporate Ideology 223
   A New Political System 226
   A Cultural Approach to Citizenship 230
   A Breakthrough in Education 232
   Liveable and Sustainable Cities 234
   A United World 237
9. Flourishing of a Cultural Age 241
   A Cultural Renaissance 242
   The Cultural Heritage of Humankind 245
   World Culture and World Cultures 248
   A Global Federation of World Cultures 255
Epilogue 259
Bibliography 263






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