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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Manifesto

Manifesto for a New Mind and Morality

The Global Political Economy is failing. The dominant arrangements of doing business, creating and maintaining wealth, and providing the means of livelihood are now threatening humanity by threatening the very conditions of human life. 

The signs of this threat are:
  • The growing gap between the extremely poor and the extremely rich and a dwindling middle class.
  • The numerous popping bubblesof boom and bust stressing families and neighborhoods.
  • The reliance for profit on disasters including war and ecological adversity.
  • The depletion of earth, social, and political resources.
  • The rapid warming of the earth and change of climate threatening future generations.
  • The growing volatility within and among nations and groups.
  • The frequent resort to violence and militarism.
  • The loss of localism in business and commerce; and the increasing concentration of power in transnational corporations with little allegiance to the community or nation of origin.
  • The separation of owners, workers, communities, and the earth.
  • The dependency on massive financial institutions that control the supply and value of money.
  • The ideological clashes irresolvable because of the contradictions in the fundamental premises of the old global economy.
While the effects of this economy are already devastating to the extremely poor, the devastation to the human species as a whole is not that far away.  This argues for a sense of urgency to change our behavior profoundly and quickly. The rising appreciation of the destructiveness of the present global economy presents an opportunity to consider a different political economy, a sustainable or post-capitalism, by which humans would act more in concert with themselves, their neighbors and communities, and the earth, which is the primary condition of their life. 

Such a political economy would:
  1. Maintain the relationship between economy and ecology
  2. Support all the capitals of human being, not just financial assets, to build true wealth holistically.
  3. Represent an inside-out strategy that builds wealth on local, earth-based and community assets.
  4. Base itself on an ethic of integrity, which is neither relativist nor absolutist, but holds creative tension in all dimensions of human being.
  5. Nourish a politics of inclusion through interacting voluntary associations or publics to build a wealth in which all people profit.
  6. Use measures of success that relate to maintaining and growing true wealth and the personal and public happiness of persons rather than the accumulated capacity to use up or consume.
  7. Allow all persons options for livelihoods that are risky, creative, instructive, and satisfying of their deepest aspirations without the necessity of sacrificing the basic needs and conditions of life.
The highway to a new economy is neither incidental reform nor absolutist revolution. Reform that keeps the present arrangements and institutions or Revolution that brings in a utopian new order through force will not lead to a sustainable economy.  Acting for a living, humane economy must be systemic and holistic, i.e. an economy constructed on entirely new principles and consisting in totally new arrangements in the way we do business with one another, yet building on and with our present communities and institutions. It will come not from a powerful and enlightened elite the top, nor from radically dejected victims at the bottom.  It will develop from the inside out, within local communities, demonstrating the link of gaining livelihood and fostering the life processes of the earth in accords with the basic integrity of human existence and nature.

While the move to a new economy is urgent, it seems at times to be impossible.  There are overpowering delusions that are holding us back. These delusions include the myth of the invisible hand,some transcendent intelligence that arises out of and guides individuals working for their own selfish interests without interference from others or the community. Another is the collectivist utopiaunder the authority of some religious or governmental leader or party. Still another delusion is absolute truth,revealed by a World Spirit or Omniscient Entity, written in a holy book or constitution or philosophy that removes the human spirit from the responsibility of dealing with the messiness of matter.

More formidable are the institutions in which we have encased ourselves for our own survival that perpetuate the present economy: religious, educational, and cultural institutions, transnational corporations, and separate states whose officials are plutocrats or in the employ of oligarchs.

But this is not a time for the self-fulfilling prophesies of despair. It is the time for action out of hope in the regenerative ability of humanity.

A renewed political economy requires a new mind and a new morality that is happily revealing itself now in actual actions and events throughout the world. These acts of transformation are already transitioning our behavior towards a sustainable politics and economy.

These acts of transformation include:
  • New ventures in earth friendlymanufacturing and agriculture.
  • Renewable energy enterprises to displace carbon-emitting producers.
  • Urban planning and development for sustainable communities and agriculture.
  • Government agencies partnering with local communities and cities to develop green energy and transportation infrastructure, universally accessible internet, and public education accessible to all.
  • Private investment in community-building economic ventures.
  • Community-oriented businesses and cooperatives. Corporations accountable to workers and community stakeholders over shareholder profit.
  • Policies for security in meeting all basic life needs including nourishment, education, health, mobility, and shelter for all human beings.
  • Experiments in liberating education that fosters innovation in science and art, creative earth-friendly technology, entrepreneurship in producing the means of livelihood, and shaping a personal and communal path to knowledge that is not measured by financial accumulation.
  • Organization and development of voluntary organizations that promote a new, living economy and hold public and private institutions accountable.
Through these activities seeded, planted, and nourished in local communities, fostered by public and private investment and support, and exemplifying a new mind and morality, economic arrangements and institutions are organizing themselves that will replace the present unsustainable economy.

The mind and morality of the sustainable economy is founded on an emerging new image of human transcendence and a renewed ethic of integrity.  Our task is to promote these acts of transformation through personal engagement and public policy (including investment and taxation). Our task is also to contemplate and disseminate the new emerging image of human transcendence and the ethic of integrity.


Our task is urgent and daunting. There is no time or place for cynicism. We need to engage in and promote thousands of transformational acts, large and small, and build a movement through which we are in communication with each other to nourish the emerging mind and morality of the new sustainable economy. 

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