Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis
Essay: Dan Hind on the Financial Crisis
Many explanations have been offered for the current economic crisis – regulatory failure did it, or President Carter, or sub-prime lending, or Alan Greenspan. Maybe we all did it. Dan Hind, author of The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It, points out the problems with the stories most often offered by journalists, politicians and broadcasters. And he offers an alternative reading of the crisis that draws on the work of Richard Wolff, Graham Turner, Richard Stiglitz and others to provide the best brief account yet of what has really been going on in the global economy. It’s 10,000 words long, and it is sensitively entitled Jump! You Fuckers!
You can download it from the Verso website here: http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/h-titles/hind_d_threat_reason.shtml
NEW IN PAPERBACK
The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It
“Fine, lucid and sharp … well written and worth reading before the next wave of western tanks crosses a border, somewhere in the Middle East” Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article2028138.ece
“In this thoughtful polemic Dan Hind argues that we are being misled by a debased “Folk Enlightenment” which has little in common with the Enlightenment initiated by Bacon and championed by Voltaire, Hume and Kant” – Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c538a9e0-3fe6-11dc-ad26-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1
“Since September 11 2002, the idea of Enlightenment has been ripped from university textbooks and airlifted into battle between the West and its irrational enemies. In this elegant polemical essay, Dan Hind rightly quibbles with this supposedly Manichean tussle between the guarantors of Enlightenment in the West and everyone else. Hind wants to rescue the idea of Enlightenment from its usurpers, while pressing it into the service of something better.” James Harkin, The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-threat-to-reason-by-dan-hind-460030.html
Nick Lezard’s paperback choice in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jun/14/saturdayreviewsfeatres.guardianreview19
“In the tradition of those great works that ask big and fundamental, yet curiously unexamined, questions. A profound and much-needed contribution … In the spirit of Enlightenment thinkers, he both reveals the contradictions and hypocrisies of contemporary politics, and also points a way forward” – Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation.
From Dan Hind:
“A few years ago I started to notice that the word ‘Enlightenment’ was cropping up a good deal in political and cultural debate. For example influential commentators and journalists regularly described the ‘War on Terror’ in terms of a wider struggle between ‘Enlightenment values’ and their irrational enemies. Secular liberals complained that Christian fundamentalists were undermining America ’s enlightened inheritance. The defenders of conventional medicine squared off against New Age healers and mystics. On campus avowedly anti-Enlightenment post-modernists were supposedly undermining traditional scholarship. According to writers like Richard Dawkins, Francis Wheen, and Dick Taverne a rising tide of mumbo-jumbo was threatening to overwhelm us.
I wanted to see whether it made sense to think of the Enlightenment in these terms, as something to be defended against external, self-declared enemies. And I wanted to look again at what it might mean to be enlightened in the present day. Was it enough to quote a bit of Voltaire and fret about the rising tide of unreason? Or do the ideas of the historical Enlightenment have a more interesting role to play?
I am convinced, and here try to show, that our understanding of the Enlightenment has become far too narrow and that often the ideas associated with it are being used to mystify the public and to protect unaccountable power.
So, what was the Enlightenment? And what might it be now? The Threat to Reason is an attempt to answer these two questions.”
AUTHOR: Dan Hind has worked in publishing since 1998. He is currently editorial director of Bodley Head. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New Scientist and the Times Literary Supplement. The Threat to Reason is his first book. He lives in London
• Publication: 13th June 2008
• Binding: Paperback
• ISBN: 978-1-84467-253-0
• Price: £7.99 / $15.95
• Extent: 192 pages
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