ISSN: (Online) 2321 -4155
ISSN: (Print) 2320 -7000


THE HUMAN ECONOMY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE EDITORS: Keith Hart, Jean-Louis Laville and Antonio David Cattani Publisher: Polity Press, Cambridge, UK. 2010, pp.xvi + 371 Price: $84.95 Hardcover


“Neoliberalism has been wounded, but it is not yet defeated.” “Economics, which ought to be a science for human emancipation, has become a dehumanized expert ideology remote from people’s practical concerns and from their ability to understand what to do.” “The project of economics needs to be rescued from the economists.” “It is time for the people to have their say in economic matters.” “Humanity is and always will be inspired by visions of a future fit for us all to live in.” “In order to be human, the economy must be at least four things: 1. It is made and remade by people; economics should be of practical use to us all in our daily lives. 2. It should address a great variety of particular situations in all their institutional complexity. 3. It must be based on a more holistic conception of everyone’s needs and interests. 4. It has to address humanity as a whole and the world society we are making.” These are some representative signature statements of the editors of this book under review. Brought out by way of 32 contributions from 35 authors—13 unconventional economists, six anthropologists, 13 sociologists and three political scientists—hailing from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States—this book exposes the reader to a not well-known vision of a better world that is possible to achieve out of a dialogue between successful social experiments in many parts of the world and theoretical reflections on them. As the editors say, this book “is the first expression in English of a project that began…at the first World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Brazil, as part of a strong counter-movement that took root in Latin America and Europe.” They want “to bring to the attention of English readers some currents of economic theory and practice that have flourished in non-Anglophone countries over the last two decades, particularly in France, Brazil, Hispanic America and Scandinavia.” To these they have added significant work by English-speaking authors that was sidelined during neoliberalism’s heyday which now deserves to find a wider audience.