3 out of 4 stars
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Many people living in the United States are concerned, if not fearful, about the state of division and unrest in the country. We wonder how things got so polarized so quickly. Political and economic theories abound as Americans attempt to make sense of it all. Onward, at Last (2017-2020): A Tome on Behalf of Our Progeny is the most recent in a series of offerings by author Kevin V. Howard. His commentaries, written in both prose and poetry, discuss the roots of America’s political, economic and spiritual challenges and offer his prescription for moving forward.
The author explains that the foundational American values of independence and self-interest have come to express themselves as greed and separation. Free-market capitalism works only in certain targeted circumstances, but when applied to whole societies, it eventually devolves into scarcity and division.
Drawing from the universal spiritual principle of oneness, Howard sees all humans as being innately connected. We can’t reach our potential as individuals or as a society if we deny or disregard this fact; yet, this is what has happened. Self-interest fueled by competitions has created a dangerous and unsustainable income disparity, and we are now feeling the side effects.
The author envisions a world where the measure of success is not our investment profile but rather our contribution to humanity as a whole. When the ability to be educated and gain marketable skills is available to only an elite group, the inevitable result is a dynamic where the under-skilled are perpetually dependent on the wealthy. The problem that the investment class resents the most is created and maintained by the model they perpetuate.
The way forward requires oneness, not separateness – interdependence, not independence. Our best chance to thrive as a species is through a shift in consciousness that eschews competition and supports every person in reaching their potential. Howard believes we still have a chance to create a sustainable society where the focus turns from personal wealth toward collective fulfillment.
I enjoyed this book on every level. Kevin Howard is a skilled writer. He communicates primarily in a pithy form of prose. In 72 pages, he covers a tremendous amount of territory, communicating complex concepts clearly and simply. For example, some readers may find it challenging to grasp the concept that our relationship to money is the crux of the problem. Howard describes money as a surrogate for our resources. Sustainable economies are based on resource management, and money prevents us from establishing a direct relationship with those resources. We fixate on accumulating money while we unconsciously deplete the resources that sustain us. Fulfillment is possible when all are free to make choices independently of the need for money.
Howard is a devout Christian. His religious and spiritual beliefs permeate his message like a golden thread, informing his view of the world without a need to preach. He doesn't think in terms of religious superiority and isn't afraid of self-reflection. He explores his choice of a career in banking – helping people retain and grow their wealth. He knows the accumulation of wealth feeds the inequality and inhumanity in the world. He is aware of his participation in the competitive model and acknowledges the dissonance that evokes.
The book does contain some editing errors, mostly in the form of missing hyphens. The errors preclude me from granting Onward at Last a perfect rating. I award this fine book 3 out of 4 stars for its clean writing, critical thinking and solution focus. In an era where deception and chaos have eclipsed truth and logic, Kevin Howard’s humility and clarity are a welcome respite. I think liberal-minded thinkers will be intrigued by this book. Anyone interested in economics, social justice or the fragility of democracy will benefit. I look forward to more commentary from Kevin Howard – maybe a road map with specific guideposts leading us down the long and winding road of lasting change.
Onward, At Last (2017-2020)
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