Over the years, Wendell Berry has sought to understand and confront the financial structure of modern society and the impact of developing Late Capitalism on American culture. There is perhaps no more demanding or important critique available to contemporary citizens than Berry’s writings—just as there is no vocabulary more given to obfuscation than that of economics as practiced by professionals and academics. Berry has called upon us to return to the basics. He has traced how the clarity of our economic approach has eroded over time, as the financial asylum was overtaken by the inmates, and citizens were turned from consumers—entertained and distracted—to victims, threatened by a future of despair and disillusion.
For this collection, Berry offers essays from over the last twenty-five years, alongside new essays about the recent economic collapse, including “Money Versus Goods” and “Faustian Economics,” treatises of great alarm and courage. He offers advice and perspective that should be heeded by all concerned as our society attempts to steer from its present chaos and recession to a future of hope and opportunity. With urgency and clarity, Berry asks us to look toward a true sustainable commonwealth, grounded in realistic Jeffersonian principles applied to our present day.