Is global capitalism on its last legs? Is the era of American leadership over? Has the West begun a decline into a new Dark Age? Does American civilization deserve to survive? These are the unnerving questions raised by the Great Crash of 2009. This book resents a radically new answer, insisting that global society has only begun to realize its full potential. Bloom argues that there’s a hidden mandate beneath the surface of capitalism: "It’s struggling to whisper and rumble its message to you and me. That hidden imperative can lift us from economic crisis, can make us a leader in the next-generation economy, and can dramatically upgrade our ability to empower our fellow human beings." Bloom sees crisis as opportunity, opportunity for the whole human race. In more than eighty short, fast chapters, insights appear suddenly, like the quick bursts of flashbulbs, taking the reader on a sweeping tour of human history, from the Stone Age to the present. Every chapter conveys a radically new way to see the astonishing mechanism we call "Western Civilization." Author Howard Bloom marvels at how humans have turned toxic waste into food and fuel, trash into treasure, and garbage into gold. He shows how we've produced material miracles based on immaterial things—passion, persistence, and fantasy. He shows that what many regard as the end is just the beginning. The beginning of something you've never before imagined. The author explains why the secret to capitalism’s next great leap does not lie in new financial tricks, but in tapping things right under our noses in radically new ways—that is, tapping our imagination, our desire to feel useful, our desire to help others, and our desire to be recognized for contributing to the welfare of humanity. The key to next-generation capitalism lies in a big-picture view that's utterly unlike anything you've previously perceived. A big-picture view that will startle you. A big-picture view with which you can ignite the world, get a new handle on your life, and help transform society. This brilliant, inspirational work of daring ideas and breath-taking research offers more than hope. It offers unseen levels of understanding. Understanding that can literally redefine what it means to be a human being.