The last chapter of this book should be required reading in the upcoming holiday weeks. Atwood does a marvelous job of distilling the human predicament into something that even the most systems-challenged among us can understand -- and hopefully act upon. Those who wish to do so can listen to the lecture series featuring Atwood reading the book's five chapters -- one each in five cities across Canada. If you only have time to listen to (or read) one chapter, I recommend the last. Please note that the download is free until December 19th. After that, it will be available from iTunes for a fee.
It was with some amusement that I read the review of this book by The Economist magazine. The first sentence of the review: "Without debt there would be no capitalism; mankind would be living in caves and eating whatever it killed." Somehow I missed the part in the book where it said that primitivism was the route that civilization should have followed. Writers at The Economist should read more broadly. In doing so, they may discover that they are ideologically guarding the sh*thouse and not the crown jewels. It is hard to make the case that the dominant economic system of the past 200 years or so has given us -- and I mean all of us -- much freedom. As Atwood so refreshingly describes in her Scrooge Nouveau tale in the last chapter, any freedom we had is rapidly being sucked from us due to the way we have conducted ourselves the last few hundred years.