Book Review: Howard Bloom's The Genius of the Beast
The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism
Putting Soul in the Machine
Howard Bloom has produced a classic to elevate our thinking from traditional perspectives on economics to offering us a multi-lens view that encompasses the entire genomic ecosystem. His worldview can be characterized as a unified field theory that operationalizes a concept that he describes as “repurposing” which explains the transformation point in life cycles that result in elevated levels of evolutionary advancement in economic development. The boundaries to his theory include on one extreme what might be described as “orgasmic cosmology” to the opposite extreme that might be described as the “social intelligence” of bacteria. In between these extremes he draws out a steady stream of indicators that support his theory.
The book is slow reading, but in a good way. Each chapter is like a small treasure chest of entertaining, but meaningful information. For the reader it is like defrosting those frozen pockets of interest that were meant for later deeper study, but were never returned to. Each of these pockets adds support to Howard Bloom’s “Pendulum of Repurposing”. They describe the nature of emotional and creative capitalism that ranges from monkeys learning to accept rocks as rewards resulting in developing a sense of “fairness”; from ancients learning to mix straw with mud to build structures thereby enhancing their quality of life; to the creativity of geniuses like Werner von Braun and Walt Disney who inspired others around them to higher levels of achievement. These types of creative activities were the impetus for recycling human race to higher levels of achievement and economic prosperity.
A parallel to Howard Bloom’s research can be seen in the studies of Joseph Schumpeter over 50 years ago. Schumpeter’s voluminous and seminal work into the subjects of capitalism, socialism and democracy examined the economic cycles theorized by Marx and Schumpeter referred to these cycles as the cause for “creative destruction”. Schumpeter predicted that the U.S. would certainly fall from capitalism into socialism. It would be the “intellectuals” at the time who would be the drivers of this downward transformation.
But Schumpeter was wrong and probably for the very reasons that Howard Bloom is right today. The cycles of “repurposing”, or what might be called “destructive technology”, create the competitive cycles that drive our economy to higher levels of productivity. It was entrepreneurial creativity, combined with globalization that drove us out of the depression 50 years ago and into the greatest economic era in U.S. history.
Today we are tested again just as 50 years ago where today’s self-selected “intelligencia” are taking advantage of a serious recession in an attempt to drive us into socialism in what they term as “redistribution of wealth”. Attention to Howard Bloom’s “Pendulum of Repurposing” should reenergize our spirits, giving us a “new sense of meaning” and “putting our soul” into re-igniting the engines of capitalism to avoid the black hole of socialism from which there may be no escape.
Robert L. Frantz, CEO
Kepler Space University