SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBALIZATION: Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval
Ira Rifkin, . . SkyLight Paths, $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-893361-57-7
Globalization as we know it emerged in a 1944 plan for post-war economic recovery, starting with the World Bank. This first institution and indicator has multiplied in many ways over the last half-decade, and globalization has become a contentious international issue. One of the lessons of September 11 is that the time for spiritual provincialism is clearly over. Religion journalist Rifkin produces a highly readable, quick study that begins to come to terms with the global religious agendas arising within and outside our borders. The book's interesting personal narratives, sprinkled throughout, reflect a true pluralism and enliven what could be a dry, doctrinaire approach. Rifkin examines Roman Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, the Bahá'í faith, tribal and earth-based religions, and Protestantism for evidence of how they view the economic, cultural and personal aspects of globalization. Writing with balanced appraisal and astute depth, Rifkin provides readers with a sense of how the major tenets of each tradition give rise to individual perceptions and actions on globalization. His understandings of the social constructs that arise out of belief are fascinating and essential reading. Avoiding a jargon-laden treatise, Rifkin keeps the writing light and clear, using eminent support from the likes of Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong. For anyone who has asked why terrorism has come to American shores, Rifkin supplies some well-informed and quite broad answers.
Reviewed on: 01/13/2003