Agenda for a New Economy, by David C. Korten is a must read. While this site maintains a focus on the need for a good education, we have also touched on things like income and wealth.
Mr. Korten makes the case that our current economic system is troubled and in fact should be replaced. "Our economic system has failed in every dimension: financial, environmental, and social. And the current financial collapse provides an incontestable demonstration that is has failed even on its own terms. He believes we have misdirected trillions of dollars. He goes on to say "The more intelligent course is to acknowledge the failure and to set about redesigning our economic system from the bottom up to align with the realities and opportunities of the twenty-first century."
A key point the book makes is the difference between what the author calls "Phantom Wealth" vs. "Real Wealth."For example Phantom Wealth includes "...money created by accounting entries or the inflation of asset bubbles unrelated to the creation of anything of real value or utility."
On the other hand Real Wealth may be characterized by things that you can't put a price on. For example "...things of intrinsic artistic, spiritual, or utilitarian value essential to maintaining the various forms of living wealth. "They include healthful food, fertile land, pure water, clean air, caring relationships and loving parents, education, health care, fulfilling opportunities for service, and time for meditation and spiritual reflection."
The current economic crisis has no doubt touched every American in some personal way. A good informed conversation on the reasons why we are here and how to avoid a repeat of this in the future seems very appropriate.
Mr. Korten provides extensive references for those seeking additional information and perspective on this issue. For instance the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies http://www.livingeconomies.org and the American Independent Business Alliance http://www.amiba.net. Others are also listed in the book.
I like this work. Korten makes sense and it is recommended that you take a look at this issue as well. Good reading!