Written for anyone with an interest in religion, ecology or global politics, this book traces the ecological crisis back to the victory of merchants over the Church, the enclosure of common land and the collapse of feudalism. The author argues that the integration achieved in the Christian civilization of Europe between humanity and nature was destroyed by the rise of capitalism and the development of modern technology; that loss of faith in God and reverence for nature went hand in hand, until now, when we are faced with the threat of the final victory of machine over man - the manipulation of the human genetic code by computer. Rifkin discusses the rise of "mechanistic consciousness" and sets against it the "therapeutic consciousness" of the 21st century. He predicts the end of the nation state and the multinational corporation, and suggests new ways of living in a global community which reflects the principles of spiritual ecology.
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Rifkin, the controversial critic of technology and culture ( Entropy , LJ 9/1/80), uses the metaphor of "enclosure" here to trace the development of contemporary culture and its flawed relationship to the biosphere. As such, this well-written book is often interesting--chapters on changes in the family unit, the concept of ownership, and the notion of privacy are all good summaries of social history--but his argument leans on the historically weak reed of humankind recognizing the error of its ways and correcting them. The "politics" of the title only come through in the last section and involve the usual suspects of removing international borders, working together to dismantle multinational corporations, preserving natural resources, etc. In light of the recent Gulf war and its aftermath, Rifkin's thesis, which seeks to unite democratic principles, environmental consciousness, and New Age spiritualism, seems at least anachronistic, if not downright quaint.
-Mark L. Shelton, Athens, Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins/STL, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110005993164