Threshold

Threshold

The Crisis of Western Culture

Book - 2009
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An urgent look at our world's looming crises and what we must do to avert them

In Threshold , writer and Air America host Thom Hartmann looks at the deteriorating state of our planet, where the dynamics of environmental, economic, and population change are boiling over the limits within which society can function. In clear and impassioned prose, Hartmann busts the myths and ideologies of religious fundamentalism, capitalism run amok, male domination, and militarism that are draining our world of its natural and human resources and engendering the suffering of millions for the benefit of the few.

No mere jeremiad, Threshold examines cultures that have thrived, from the mother city of Caral, Peru, to modern Denmark, and targets five areas of policy-national, religious, economic, corporate, and environmental-for specific and immediate reform. Radical in its scope and boldness but simple in its commonsense logic, Threshold illustrates the mistakes we have made-as a culture, as a country, and as individuals-and provides the inspiration and motivation readers are looking for to build a better, more sustainable world for all. Part prophecy, part call to arms, part policy prescription, Threshold is, for readers of Jared Diamond, Thomas Friedman, and Paul Hawken, the wake-up call our society so badly needs.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009
ISBN: 9780670020911
0670020915
Branch Call Number: 909.09821
Characteristics: xviii, 268 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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Hartmann does a good job spelling out the thresholds that we are in danger of crossing. Namely the environment and our practice of using it like it's the last biscuit on the plate (grab it before someone else does), the economy and the fact that it has been made to serve our corporate oligarchy instead of the people on whom it draws its power, and the world's population which is expanding like a disease in a Petri dish past all hope of sustainability. He makes valid points on all of these issues and backs them up with historical examples that make reading easier. His path to recovery, however, reads like the Democratic playbook (Cap & Trade, Universal Health Care, Cut Defense spending). There are some good ideas in there, but it comes across too much like a campaign proposal instead of new academic ideas. We are past the tipping point on most of these issues and can no longer propose ideas that will make dollars for your cronies (Cap & Trade- How about just Cap?) or just build on the existing structure while offending the least amount of voters. Solutions are going to ruin some people's businesses and will be unpopular with many groups. A perfect example is the author. He proposes that population is using up our planet and that organized religion needs to stop dragging their feet on birth control all while cranking out 3 offspring of his own. These problems can be fixed, but it starts with individuals exercising self-control, not hoping government can bail us out.

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