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The Virtue of Prosperity : Finding Values In An Age Of Techno-Affluence


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Publisher:Free Press, 2000



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About the book:

We live in an era of unprecedented prosperity. The United States has created the first mass affluent class in world history, and most of us are more successful than we ever dreamed we could be. New technologies have given us extraordinary abilities to communicate and share information, and also godlike power over nature and ourselves. Yet, individually and collectively, we are divided about the new economy. Its champions embrace the power of technological capitalism and the wealth it creates -- they believe it will feed and heal and liberate the world. Its detractors warn that techno-capitalism creates enormous inequalities, undermines families and communities, and destroys our most cherished values. How can we heal this division that runs deep in our society, and in our hearts? How can we learn to be happy with our success?

"In The Virtue of Prosperity," former White House policy analyst Dinesh D'Souza offers the first in-depth analysis of the spiritual and social crisis that has been spawned by the new economy and new technologies. Drawing upon original reporting, including more than a hundred interviews with leading entrepreneurs, scholars, social and religious activists, and tech tycoons, D'Souza brings to life the heated debate over how we are all affected by the massive changes under way.

D'Souza creates an unforgettable portrait of some of the movers and visionaries in today's economy: Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, George Gilder, T. J. Rodgers, and Ted Turner. But he also digs deep to understand what people who are not in the new economy vanguard -- scholars, pundits, clergy, ordinary workers -- think and feel about our new prosperity. He reveals the surprising ways inwhich old political allegiances have blurred and elements of the left and the right are uniting in resistance to the new world celebrated by the techno-utopians.

D'Souza poses the tough questions: By what right does a Web entrepreneur who can't show a profit accumulate wealth equal to the gross national product of a small country, while the average person struggles to make ends meet? What do we risk if, using the power of technology, we extend our life span, select the traits we want in our children, and control the evolution of our species into the "post-human"? From the unique perspective of an immigrant, D'Souza explores the premise of the American dream -- that prosperity will better the human condition. He welcomes the liberation from necessity and drudgery that technology and affluence bring, but he argues that they cannot solve the basic human question: What is the significance of my life?

D'Souza will surprise readers across the political spectrum with his original vision of how we can actually do well while doing good, and succeed while making society better.He shows how to preserve nature, strengthen our families and communities, and expand our intellectual horizons in a techno-capitalist world. Ultimately, D'Souza reveals how we can harness the power of technology and affluence to promote individual fulfillment and the common good.

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