The Wellbeing Economy vs The Vampire Economy
How much longer can the mantra of neoliberalism remain stubbornly in place? Whilst governments, mainstream media and millions of people still see it as normal, natural, rational and inevitable, millions more are waking up to the fact that it is none of the above. They are recognising that symbiosis requires real benefits for the host if a relationship with a non-productive parasite is to persist – especially if host has conscious agency. Populism is a symptom of the recognition that the sacred contract between people, power and nature is broken. The question is whether a renewed sacred contract can be restored in a Vampire Economy that turns Life into cash, feeding off our lives rather than supporting them.
One of the potent myths of the Vampire Economy is that the purpose of the economy is (private) ‘wealth creation’. But systemic legitimacy requires the creation of shared value and common wealth
Is Liberalism The Dead Body in the Doorway To A New Future?
When –isms become –ists they are on their way to becoming –wasms
If Liberalism is not quite dead, then it is certainly rapidly heading past its sell by date. In the UK liberal culture has become mainstream. As well as becoming the unquestionable mantra of the BBC, liberalism for many has become a conventional identity – and like nationalism in 1930’s Germany – it increasingly demands conformity and brooks no divergence from its political correctness.
As Rowan Williams has observed “What we are now refusing to grasp is that “liberalism” in fact undermines democracy, ethics, human respect, social justice, scientific creativity and pretty well everything else.”
Few recognise we are at the end of the neoliberal era
The media and political class are well behind the curve in this regard.
Old assumptions still dominate the BBC and the right wing press which in this regard are hardly distinguishable. But it’s not only New Labour that is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. It is the whole horizontal separatist left –right political spectrum. Life – in the sense that human and natural value are not left wing as the Greens and Labour still believe.
The new political spectrum is between Love and Extractive Power not between left and right
Power must be contained by the forces of Love which is not self serving but us at the same time generative and self-limiting. And the societal equivalent of Love is Civil Society – whose values of fairness, respect, responsibility and reciprocity are all self- limiting. These values need to be legally integrated into new institutions so we are no longer dependent on the frail ethics of individuals in power. Until the Liberalist and Conservatist philosophies can embrace their respective shadows of Entitlement – the shadow of claiming rights without responsibilities- whether we are in the business of making money or creating a new society, we will remain in an impasse that has no way forward. We need a civil society alliance committed to building a space that is free from the mafia-like domination and dependence on either market or state. This requires a new way of resourcing communities such as the Commons Equity Society www.commonssociety.org Read more
Ethical solutions and social enterprise are a necessary but insufficient basis for systemic economic change
Joshua Malkin describes a Commons Equity Society – a new model of ownership, finance and distribution – that institutionalises ‘indirect reciprocity’ within the market through a systemic structure that reconnects wealth creation with the common good and bestows sovereignty upon communities. April 2016
Words like ‘systemic,’ are not easily comprehended from within our mechanistic culture.
The work of architect Christopher Alexander suggests that without the right language we cannot “see” the existing design of a system or envision a new design of how it might be. His thesis implies that if we cannot name it, we cannot know what we are looking for. In this sense, normal economic activity that automatically and naturally works for the common good is almost unimaginable today because we have no name for it. In part this is because we are so embedded within the current system it is difficult to imagine anything else and hence a different way of doing things remains invisible to us. Even when we think we are imagining something new, it often turns out to be a version of the same system in different guise.
Civil Society Is The Ground That Is Necessary for Wellbeing to Flourish
Civil society is much more than social and economic justice or a label for voluntary or not for profit organizations.Civil society is an abundant, generative culture based upon deep values of respect, reciprocity, responsibility, collaboration and the protection of the shared value found in the human and natural commons. It is an evolved cultural lens that allows new capability, relatedness and creativity ( including enterprise) to generate and emerge. It allows difference to be valued and be framed within values that allow individuality to become sociable and serve and celebrate the whole as well as itself.
It also represents a systemic, self-limiting ‘ecological’ approach to social and economic systems that focuses on stability and distribution as well as production and expansion.
In this sense, civil society is the societal equivalent to the love found in a functional family
Consequently civil society is an essential part of ‘the new story’ because it is the soil in which collective human wellbeing can flourish.
The New Compass
Earth Economics and the vertical political spectrum
Diagram – ‘Wellbeing As A Compass’ © by J.P. Malkin from ‘A Political Economy of Life”
Taking Sustainability To The Next Level
Earth is the only planet that has self replenishing systems that generate, maintain and support life. Developing an economic system that does the same is part of humanity’s evolutionary destiny and we are at a threshold of awareness of this possibility. In stark contrast our current primitive economic system based on the ‘free’ market, extracts value from people place and planet, in the process degrading or corrupting human and natural value. Life Affirming Economics is part of the new compass – an ancient-new political economy of Life.
The fundamental problems we face today are systemic. We are experiencing a systems breakdown across the board both nationally and globally to which there are no answers from within the outdated political and economic thinking of right or left or centre. In the UK, banking, government, housing, energy, education, justice, media and politics have become increasingly ineffective, risk averse, bureaucratized, certificated, literal, dehumanized and dysfunctional.
In short, the way we organize society and its institutions is part of an obsolete way of thinking that is coming up against the limits of its own linear logic and an ancient new holistic paradigm is emerging. Perhaps the key underlying societal problem we face is that wealth creation has become disconnected from wellbeing and the common good.
A Selection of Videos about the values of interdependence
Civil Society is a collaborative perspective that not only values what we have in common as much as our differences but is a values based perspective that supports awareness of what constitutes real value – economically, culturally and environmentally. Inherently it is therefore an ethical and relational approach to society and the world.
This precludes and over rides radical separatism and extreme self-interest (whether economic, cultural, religious, institutional or professional) from having sway over the interests of the whole. At the same time it is a perspective that not only allows for, but encourages, ethical and socially responsible initiative and creativity to contribute to and replenish both the parts and the whole. Civil Society therefore honours both diversity and unity.