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The Abundant Community

Book Description

This book is about a new possibility for us together to discover the real basis for a satisfying life. It is a life that becomes possible when we join our neighbors in creating a community that nurtures our family and makes us useful citizens.

We are besieged by messages from consumer society telling us that we are insufficient, that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We outsource our health care, child care, relationships, recreation, our safety, and our satisfaction. We are trained to become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. McKnight and Block take a thoughtful look at how this situation came about, what maintains it, and the crippling effect it has had on our families, our communities, and our environment.

Right in our neighborhood we have the capacity to address our human needs in ways that systems, which see us only as interchangeable units, as problems to be solved, never can. We all have gifts to offer, even the most seemingly marginal among us. It does not matter how rich or poor the neighborhood is. McKnight and Block suggest how to nurture voluntary, self-organizing structures that will reveal these gifts and allow them to be shared to the greatest mutual benefit. They recommend roles we can assume and actions we can take to reweave the social fabric that has been unraveled by consumerism and its belief that however much we have, it is not enough.

Each neighborhood has poeple with gifts and talents needed to provide for our prosperity and peace of mind -- this book offers practical ways to discover them. It gives voice to the ideas of an abundant community. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that when we join together with our neighbors, we are the architects of the future where we want to live.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Welcome
  7. Introduction
  8. The Elements of Satisfaction
  9. The Universal Properties
  10. PART I The Shift from Citizen to Consumer
    1. 1 The Limits of Consumption
      1. The Consumer Way: Lives of Scarcity and Consumption
      2. The Citizen Way: Lives of Abundance and Cooperation
      3. A Choice of Culture
      4. Neighborhood Necessities
      5. Community Possibilities
    2. 2 What Did We Lose and Where Did It Go?
      1. The Origin of Dissatisfaction
      2. The Growth of Systems and Their Managers
      3. Outsourcing Care to Professionals
      4. Seduction by the Promise of Satisfaction
    3. 3 The Effects of Living in a Consumer World
      1. Living by the Rules
      2. The Cost to Society
      3. The Cost to Neighborhoods
      4. The Wired Life
      5. The Heart of the Matter
  11. PART II Choosing a Satisfied Life
    1. 4 The Abundant Community
      1. The Structure of Abundance
      2. Gift-Mindedness
      3. Associational Life
      4. Hospitality
      5. The Invisible Structures of Community
    2. 5 Community Abundance in Action
      1. The Capacities of an Abundant Community
      2. The Culture of Abundance
      3. The Citizen Economy
      4. Policies That Support Abundant Community
      5. Democracy and the Abundant Community
  12. PART III Creating Abundance
    1. 6 Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
      1. Competence within Reach
      2. Community Abundance Is Its Gifts
      3. Connected Gifts Create Associations
    2. 7 The Power of Connectors
      1. The Vital Role of Connectors
      2. A Table for Connectors
      3. Welcoming Strangers
      4. Finding Our Own Way
      5. The Story of an Abundant Community
  13. Notes
  14. Resources
    1. Pioneers: People Who Are Creating Abundant Communities
    2. Website
    3. References
  15. Acknowledgments
  16. Index
  17. About the Authors