The Gods In Whom They Trusted – The Disintegrative Effects of Capitalism: A Foundation for Transitioning to a New Social World

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The Gods In Whom They Trusted – The Disintegrative Effects of Capitalism: A Foundation for Transitioning to a New Social World
Author: Arnold De Graaff
ISBN: 978-0-9570961-8-9
Publication Date: October, 2016
Pages: 942
Format: Soft Cover
Price: £29.99 (GBP), $35.99 (USD)

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In this broad ranging study the three themes of ecology, economics and ethics are closely interrelated. It is a ‘three books in one’ volume written in a very accessible style. As such it serves as an invaluable foundation and guide for all those who seek to develop an alternative vision and a way of living. The book is based on extensive multi-disciplinary research, scientific reports, journal articles, documentaries, case studies, and first-hand accounts by many peoples.

Present-day ecological decline and disintegration is the inevitable result of global capitalism with its free market ideology, unlimited growth and accumulation of wealth by the few at the expense of the many. At each point De Graaff challenges neoliberal capitalist ideology, which functions as a secular religion, hence the title, The Gods In Whom They Trusted. Throughout he presents workable and practical alternatives. The on-going violation of nature’s and society’s thresholds has resulted in the degradation of land, water, air, oceans, and has created untold human suffering, social injustice, corruption, violence, inequality, dispossession, enslavement, and millions of climate, food, water, and war refugees.

In view of this existential global crisis De Graaff presents a radical alternative way of relating to nature, of ecologically sustainable economic practices, and ethical guidelines or touchstones that are built into the very fabric of life that can lead to healing and the flourishing of our communities.

Table of Contents


  1. I) Time for a Radical Change xvii
  2. II) Overview xxi

Chapter 1 –

1.1 The Urgency of Our Situation 1
1.2 The Climate Change ‘Deniers’ 4
1.3 The Environmental and Social ‘Externalities’ 7

Chapter 2

Environmental Degradation and the Global Economy

2.1 An Integral Ecological Approach. 16

2.2 Ecological Decline and Disintegration: A Summary of Key Areas  23
1) Climate Change and Global Warming 23
2) Changing Air and Ocean Currents: Unpredictable Weather Patterns  46
3) Changes in the Seasons and Migration of Many Creatures 58
4) The Decline of the Oceans 63
5) The Global Water Supply 97
6) The Decline of the Soil and the Land 131
7) The Loss and Decline of the Global Forests 145
8) The Loss and Decline of Species: Biodiversity and Climate Change  159

Chapter 3

The human factor: The Violation of Nature’s and Society’s Thresholds

3.1 Introduction 169

3.2 Mining practices 170
1) Excluding the ‘Externalities’ in Mining 170
2) Mining Practices and Climate Change 178
3) Nigeria – The Setting 180
4) Peru – The Setting 205
5) Canada: Coal Mining in British Columbia 218
6) Ecologically Sustainable and Socially Just Mining? 238
7) Other Aspects of the Mining Industry 244
8) Governing and the Mining Industry 252
9) Peoples Movements: International Summits and Forums 256

3.3 Agricultural Practices 260
1) Introduction 260
2) Corporate Power in the Food Industry 268
3) The Industrialization of Agriculture 285
4) Climate change, Agriculture, The Environment and Food Supply  325
5) Agriculture in Mozambique 354
5) Alternatives 386

3.4 Forestry Practices 394

3.5 Corporate Fishing Practices 408
1) Introduction to Corporate Fishing Practices 408
2) Industrial Aquaculture 416
3) Fishing Subsidies 421
4) Overfishing and the Decline of the Oceans’ Biodiversity 424
5) Voluntary Guidelines 429
6) Corporate Fishing Practices: Mauritania – An Example 435
7) Marine Reserves: Canada – An Example 443

3.6 Population Increase, Poverty and Agricultural Policies 451
1) Population Increase 451
2) Urban Over-Population and Rural De-Population 453
3) Poverty, High Birth-Rates and Agricultural Policies 454

3.7 Other Aspects of Economic Practices 461

Chapter 4 –

The Global Economic System

4.1 The Core Structure of the Economic System 462

4.2 The Logic of the System 476

Chapter 5

The Neoliberal Ideology

5.1 Introduction 484

5.2 Visions of Life or Worldviews 486

5.3 Congruity between Our Way of Life and Our Ultimate Convictions  491

5.4 The Tradition of Liberalism 499

5.5 The Absolutization of the Economic Sphere of Life 508

Chapter 6

An Alternative View of Economic Activities

6.1 Another Way is Possible 515

6.2 It’s the Direction that Counts 518

6.3 Economic Life in its Interconnectedness: A Multi-Dimensional Approach  520

6.4 An Economic Guideline: ‘Providing Rightly’ 523

6.5 Non-Economic Enterprises: An Example 524

Chapter 7

An Alternative View of Science, Technology and Governing

7.1 An Alternative to Western Rationalism and Scientism 528

7.2 The Integral Unity of Experience, Knowledge and Worldviews: Some Examples  530

7.3 A Holistic View of Human Knowing 548

7.4 A Phenomenological Ethics 565

7.5 Technology that Serves All of Life: An Alternative to Technicism   573

7.6 Administering Justice: A Radical Alternative to Economic Domination  575

7.7 Human Nature 580

7.8 The Meaning of Human History: The Future is Now 583

Chapter 8

Existential Anxiety and Existential Trust 

8.1 The Search for Ultimate Security and the Ideologies 585

8.2 Existential Anxiety 591

8.3 Existential Trust in Life 595

8.4 Morality and Ethics 598

Chapter 9

A Guideline for Ultimate Convictions: Believing Rightly

9.1 Introduction 603

9.2 An Alternative Worldview Beckons 605

9.3 Religious and Non-Religious Worldviews 606

9.4 The Nature of Religious Writings, Including the Hebrew Scriptures  610

9.5 Actualizing a Religious Guideline 615

9.6 The New Emerging Understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures 618

9.7 The Vision of the Hebrew Scriptures: A Fundamental Directive  625

Chapter 10

The Radical Witness of the Religions to the Neoliberal Ideology

10.1 The Christian Religious Critique of Neoliberal Economic Policies  637
1) The Roman Catholic Witness 640
2) The Protestant Witness 647
3) The Witness of the World Council of Churches 652
4) The Witness of the Laity from India at the WCC 659
5) The Actions and Witness of Kairos 664
6) The Testimony of the Indigenous People at the WCC 666
7) The WCC’s Statement on Ecological Debt 670
8) The Divisions of the Christian Church 676
9) A Local Example and the Faith-Based Groups in Malawi 681

10.2 The Work and Witness of the World Religions: Faith-Based Organizations  714
1) The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) Initiatives  718
2) Faith-Based Organizations Worldwide 723

Chapter 11

A Radical Alternative Way of Living

11.1 Introduction 732

11.2 The Fundamental Direction and the Many Guideposts 734

11.3 Alternative Directions: Summary of Key Areas 746
1) Alternative Sources and Uses of Energy 746
2) Ecological Agriculture and Agroforestry: Soil Restoration and Water Conservation  777
3) Ecological Sustainable Forestry: Community Forestry 799
4) Ecologically Sustainable Fisheries 816
5) Transformative and Sustainable Communities 836

Postscript 844

Bibliography  869

Arnold De Graaff

Arnold De Graaff

Arnold De Graaff writes mainly in the fields of Psychotherapy, Education, Theology and Existential-Phenomenology, dealing with such issues as educational alternatives, radical psychology, integrated psychotherapy and the meaning of faith. Having originally studied in Philosophy, Sociology, English Literature and Greek, Arnold switched his focus to both psychology and education at the Free University in Amsterdam. In 1966 he received his doctoral degree in Practical Theology. For the next fourteen years Arnold taught psychology and education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Chicago and Toronto. During that time he taught summer courses for teachers and started the Curriculum Development Centre in Toronto, of which he was the director for four years. Arnold was also advisor to an alternative high school in Toronto and for three years the coordinator of an Outdoor Learning Project near Orangeville, Ontario. Wanting to work more practically, Arnold enrolled in an intensive psychotherapy training program in 1974. Since 1980 he has been a full-time therapist both in Toronto and Orangeville, Canada developing what is known as a more integrated form of psychotherapy, which takes into account both the integral unity of the person and the person’s social context. He has written a number of papers on psychology (Psychology: Sensitive Openness and Appropriate Reactions); on education (Backwards into the Future); and psychotherapy (A Critical Essay: An Evaluation of James H. Olthuis’ The Beautiful Risk: A New Psychology of Loving and Being Loved); as well as many others. The last number of years Arnold has been working on a timely manuscript dealing with a radical, alternative approach to theology and the question of faith, and the role people’s deepest convictions play in the course of their lives.