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This book uses Figueroa’s unified theory of capitalism to explain how economic growth has led to a new epoch, the Anthropocene, and it presents a new set of economic principles that are needed in this new age. The policies presented in the book are derived from an empirically corroborated scientific theory. Therefore, this book is unique in its discussion of public policy as the result of scientific knowledge, rather than based on ideology or private interests. In the new epoch we have entered, man is now the main factor in the fate of the Earth, and in social terms, the Anthropocene age also implies a period of high and persistent income inequality in the capitalist system, with the consequence of social disorder. Figueroa considers these conditions and addresses fundamental problems of our time, such as the ideal organization of production and distribution, and the functionality of a zero-growth society. Standard economics would approach these problems under the assumption that we still live in the Holocene age, but in this book, Figueroa both explains and develops new economic principles for this new context.



Chapter 1. Economic Growth with Social Maladies

This chapter presents the basic empirical regularities of the capitalist economic growth process of the last decades. Then, the chapter summarizes the explanation given for the interrelations between income growth, income inequality, and biophysical degradation by the unified theory. This is done by presenting an evolutionary model of unified theory. The reader will thus learn not only about the structure of the unified theory, but also about how it explains reality, which will facilitate understanding of the next chapters. This chapter intends to make the whole book self-contained.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 2. Power Structure and Democracy

Market and democracy constitute the fundamental institutions of capitalism. Therefore, economic growth with social maladies found earlier as the outcomes of the economic process corresponds to democratic capitalism. This is certainly a paradox, which needs a scientific explanation. This chapter intends to supply such an explanation. To be sure, this chapter is not a philosophical or doctrinaire discussion of democracy (which is abundant), but a scientific one (which is scarce). It is not about what democracy ought to be; it is rather about what democracy is.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 3. Evolutionary Human Behavior

According to unified theory, human selfish behavior has generated the Anthropocene age. Are people in the capitalist system becoming more concerned with the fate of human society; that is, are they becoming more altruists and less egotists in their behavior in the economic growth process? Is the risk of collapse of human society a force for changes in human behavior? This chapter seeks to answer these questions.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 4. Consumerism in the Economic Growth Process

Is the selfish behavior of individuals leading them to attain their supreme objective of individual well-being? This question may seem useless. If people seek their own interests, there is no reason to expect that the final outcome could be damaging them. Even more precisely, the question is whether selfish behavior could lead the individual to bad results for his or her well-being. This chapter seeks to answer it by analyzing consumption behavior. Forget for a moment about the common good. It will come later on in the book.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 5. Individual Freedom and the Common Good

Capitalism is usually presented as the realm of individual freedom. In light of the unified theory, however, capitalism operates with power relations and individual freedom is subject to intrusions through its fundamental institutions, markets, and electoral democracy. Under this particular context, what is the relation between individual freedom and the common good? This is possibly the most fundamental question in the social sciences of our time. The chapter seeks to provide a scientific answer to this question.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 6. Anthropocene Age Economics

In this chapter, the book presents the public policy implications of the unified theory. What choices does human society have in the Anthropocene age? In order to answer this question, this chapter constructs a final and policy-oriented evolutionary model (IV). It is also testable. Public policies will be derived from this empirically validated model; hence, they will be science-based policies.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 7. New Economic Principles for the Anthropocene Age

Since the end of World War II, the capitalist system has experienced rapid economic growth. Current generations only know a growing economy. A no-growth society is unknown. The arrival of the Anthropocene implies the end of the economic growth age. One of the new economic principles for the new age is zero-growth society. How would such a society function? The aim of this chapter is to present the new economic principles under which capitalism would function in the Anthropocene age.

Adolfo Figueroa

Chapter 8. Epilogue

According to unified theory, the current democratic capitalism is not a self-regulated system. It needs to be transformed into a self-regulated system to deal with the new context of the Anthropocene age. How to do this? Institutional innovations, such as dethroning electoral democracy and replacing it with any form of workers’ democracy, need to be designed by the collaborative work of scientists (from both the natural and the social sciences), thinkers, and social innovators. This is a challenge to human intelligence, to Homo sapiens. The economics of the Anthropocene age developed in this book may be useful in such endeavor. This is, hopefully, the expected contribution of the book.

Adolfo Figueroa


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