Thanks to Michael Strong's post on the FLOWidealism listserve for the link to Howard Bloom's new book, Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul In The Machine. Even of you do not have time to read the book, I recommend checking out the web site (www.howardbloom.net/reinventing_capitalism) for the description. It beautifully articulates the inexorable link between invention, innovation, passion and prosperity - not in a mechanistic, limited way of seeing capitalism, but through a soul-centered, integrative, fully human lens. Here are a few excerpts from the review on the web page:
Reinventing Capitalism lets you in on a secret Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and today’s mainstream economists, eco-critics, and business pundits never dreamed—forget greed and dedicate yourself to your own passions, to your ideals, and to others’ needs and you’ll unleash the power hidden in our civilization, a power that can make you a shaper of meaning, a maker of warmth, a creator of new wonders and abilities, and can offer you a new way to succeed.
...what lessons can we learn, what can we invent, what can we upgrade and create? What new twists of culture, of technology, of insight and technique will help us leapfrog over our assailants and carry us forward toward new ways of being? How can we take the values of our Founding Fathers to even higher peaks? How can we loft the best that’s in us into the next two centuries?
The answer lies in giving capitalism a heart and a soul. More specifically it lies in giving all of us something only saints have previously been required to possess—something Bloom calls “tuned empathy.”
...There’s a new form of capitalism struggling to be born among us. In reality it’s been here all along, but we’ve failed to see it. It’s Emotional Capitalism, a capitalism vibrant with the power of something that has to seize the heart of every boardroom meeting—the power to care, the power to feel the emotions of the people you serve, and the power to feel your own emotions in new ways
...The true businessman is a seer and servant. He is not trafficking in inanimate goods sold to anonymous “consumers.” He nourishes human souls. When he helps those souls catch fire, money flows. Those who look deep into their passions can anticipate the needs of others. A bone-deep love for others’ needs is the secret to personal growth, to profits, and to prosperity.
...It’s time for all of us—for those in our offices and our homes, and for culture-leaders in boardrooms, universities, and editorial headquarters--to wake up and see that humans are nourished by perception, nourished by passion, nourished by feeling. It’s time for us to see the emotional substance in what we’ve mistakenly labeled with a dehumanized vocabulary, the language of clods, lumps, stones, and numbers—the language of “materialism,” “commodification,” “consumerism,” “derivatives,” “transfer agents,” “utility maximization,” “quarterly profits,” “products,” “markets,” and “supply and demand.”
...We desperately need a reinvention and a re-perception of the system that has given Western Civilization its long-term strength and its recent weaknesses. We need the Capitalism of Passion.
...Capital is stored imagination. Capital is stored stress, stored vision, stored diligence to persist, and stored ability to inspire others to complete a task that seems impossible or frivolous. Capital is stored passion!
...There is a soul, a passion, inside of the economic machine. Our most personal desires and schemes sometimes scare us with their strangeness, with their lunacy. But some dare make them public—just as the first stone-chipper, the first stone-wall builder, the first brick-maker, and the first brick-city-planner did....Some risk looking foolish with the tales, the songs, and the fantasies they share. Others stare with wonder—they see their own unspoken feelings, their chaotic longings, echoed in a mirror there. Then we and our allies recruit, we proselytize. We make the masses see what we have seen. We organize believers to throw themselves with idealism, passion, commitment, and deep faith, into creating something that this cosmos has never previously seen. We organize others so they can make a reality of what is now shared fantasy, shared lunacy, acommunal and a corporate dream.