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Synopsis

Economics is essential in today’s world, and yet mainstream economists are increasingly under criticism for not taking into account sufficiently many dimensions of real life, such as political and moral values, human development, spirituality, and people’s widely shared aspiration to live more liberated lives. This book offers a critical assessment of contemporary mainstream economics by showing that the discipline has become much too narrow and misses out on the full spectrum of human existence.

The book presents a careful, detailed analysis of the limitations of neoclassical economics and of its post-neoclassical successors: behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, and experimental economics. It offers a deconstruction rooted in the "Integral" philosophy developed over the past three decades by the contemporary American thinker Ken Wilber. Distinguishing between exterior and interior dimensions of human existence, it suggests that economics could be made into a more inclusive and more emancipatory science if it started to truly honor the genuinely interior aspects of individuals and communities. Instead of remaining stuck in the limitations of post-neoclassical theory, we should make the move toward a new paradigm that, in the name of science, promotes objectivity as well as subjectivity, and material causality as well as existential awareness.

The result is a highly expanded sense of relevance for economists, sociologists, and social scientists in general. Combining methodologies from systems science, brain science, ethno-methodology, and existentialism as well as from the great spiritual traditions of humanity, Christian Arnsperger delineates the requirements of a genuinely integral economics beyond today’s crippling reductionism.

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