Here are a few things to stimulate directional mentation and to awaken the inner authority.
by Zygmunt Bauman
"The real need of the moment," says Michael Lerner, "is for a fundamental rethinking of the way we are running our world. In this battle of fear against hope," he says, we need to "focus our energies on building trust, love, and goodness in the world.... We need to think hard about what it is in the way we are living, organizing our societies, and treating each other that makes violence seem plausible to so many people." A central step in this process, Lerner suggests, "is to reorganize ourselves as part of the Unity of All Being." One could hardly say it better.
After September 11, one can no longer go on pretending that the truth of our world has not been displayed for all to see. Although it has been unnoticed, ignored, or played down by most of us, the truth is that the world is full. The great dream of the West, the dream that there is always a new place to discover, a new land to colonize, has dissolved. The great hope that a nation could wall itself off from the others is likewise over. The era that started with the building of the Chinese or Hadrian Walls, proceeded through the Maginot Line, and ended with the Berlin Wall, is at an end. There is no empty place, if there ever was one. There is no society that can subsist apart from the rest of us. There is no sector off the
The French have a good way of putting this—"il n'y a pas hors du monde"—there is no"outside" to the world, no escape route or place to shelter, no alternative space to isolate and hide. And this phenomenon is not just geographic but social and psychological. When I say the world is full I mean that there is nowhere that one can say with any degree of certainty to be "chez soi." There is no place for oneself where one is free to follow one's own ways, pursue one's own goals and be oblivious to all the rest as irrelevant. Nowhere (however tightly sealed and heavily fortified that spot may be) where one can shut
oneself up in one's own affairs, oblivious to their effects on those left outside. The world is full.
You know that fullness from the inside. That fullness is not just another item of information.
You feel that fullness, you live it daily, and whatever you do or may yet do, that experience of fullness won't go away. Woe to those who try to forget it or feel conceited enough to trust their power to opt out. The awakening may be devastatingly cruel, just like that morning of September 11 was for those New Yorkers who might have believed that things that happened "out there," on the other side of the well- protected border, did not and would not affect their well-being, that all the pencils needed to draw the boundary between good and bad fortune could be found on this side of the border, and that soon the state-of-the-art anti-missile shield would make the sealing of that border complete and foolproof.
"Globalization" is the term commonly used to account for this uncanny experience of the "world filling up." With the velocity of transmission approaching its limit—the speed of light—the near-instantaneity of the cause-and-effect succession transforms even the largest of distances into proximity— and in the end for all practical purposes dissolves the cause-effect distinction itself ... we are all now in the close, indeed intimate, vicinity of each other.
Because it involves drawing speed to its limits and reducing distance to an ever more negligible factor in the calculation of action, globalization is unlike any other territorial expansion of the past. As Paul Virilio put it, "we live in a world no longer based on geographic expanse but on a temporal distance constantly being decreased by our transportation, transmission and tele-action capacities." "The new space is speed-space; it is no longer a time-space." Virilio suggests that speed is no more a means, but a
milieu; one may say that speed is a sort of ethereal substance that saturates the world and into which more and more of action (and particularly of actions that truly count) is transferred, acquiring in the process new qualities that only such substance makes possible—and inescapable. The new speed renders the action momentary and thus virtually unpreventable, but also potentially un-punishable. And the mirror reflection of the action's impunity is the potentially unbound and incurable vulnerability of its objects.
One of the most consequential effects of that new situation is the endemic porosity and frailty of all boundaries and the in-built futility, or at least the provisional nature and revocability, of all boundary drawing. All boundaries have become tenuous, frail and porous. Boundaries share in the new facility of disappearance; they are effaced as they are drawn, leaving behind—as the Cheshire cat its smile—only the (similarly volatile) memory of drawing. Geographical discontinuity matters no more, as speed-space, that envelops the totality of the globe's surface, brings each place into nearly the same speed-distance
from each other and makes all places mutually contiguous.
More than two centuries ago, in 1784, Immanuel Kant, in his Idee zu einer allgemeinen
Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht, recorded a prophetic vision of the world to come: "die volkommene bürgerliche Vereinigung in der Menschengattung"—a "perfect unification of human species through common citizenship." That would be, Kant noted, the fulfillment of "was die Natur zur höchsten Absicht hat"—of "the supreme Nature's design." Unification must have been Nature's design from the start, thought Kant, since the globe we inhabit is a sphere. Because, on such a sphere, you cannot increase your distance without ultimately cancelling it, the surface of the globe on which we live bars "infinite dispersion." In the end, we must all be neighbors simply because we have nowhere else to go. The
surface of the Earth is our shared property; none of us has more "right" to occupy it than any other member of the human species.
Such a time must have finally arrived. Let's return to the time of Kant (and to the time of little
provincial towns like Kant's Königsberg), to catch a glimpse of how this happened. Kant's near contemporary, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote about the Ancient Regime that ruled France before the Revolution. This regime was a collection of localities—villages, townships, parishes. The ruling dynasty zealously creamed off of their surplus product, but otherwise expressed little interest in, and refrained from the running of, their daily affairs and seldom interfered with their self-propagating routines.
That regime was replaced after the French Revolution with a new kind of power that introduced a law uniform for all, replacing the variegated collection of burdens and privileges. This power intended to level up the differences between regional usages and standards of life, but above all interfered in the way the production and distribution of (now seen as national) wealth was conducted. We may say that the French Revolution initiated integration of society on a new supra-local level of the state, wielding or struggling to obtain a power that reached the parts which former powers could not and did not wish to
reach. That process took Europe at least a century to accomplish, and other continents a century more.
The effort started by the French Revolutionary governments was in response to the inability of municipalities, guilds, and other forms of local government to contain and control powerful economic forces that rose above the local level and moved beyond local control—the only control then in operation. Entrepreneurs of the time complained and fulminated against "silly local constraints" that cramped economic initiative and arrested progress—just as today's multinationals complain against "economically absurd" national attempts to keep watch on, monitor, and correct economic activity on their territory and to put brakes on some of the wilder side-effects of the unbridled pursuit of gain. To express their dissatisfaction these entrepreneurs of the eighteenth century used a vocabulary strikingly similar to that
known to us, both from the writings and speeches of the prophets and from today's advocates of the emancipation of global economic forces "of progress" from the "retrograde parochiality" of nation-states.
Just like then, our current institutions of democratic, political, and ethical control, territorially
confined and tied to the ground as they are, are no match for the increasingly extraterritorial and free-flowing forces of finance, capital, and trade. Just like then, our task now is to create such institutions of effective political action as could match the size and the power of the already global economic forces and bring them under political scrutiny and ethical supervision. The alternative is the continuing—and deepening—of the disastrous effects of venture capital: the growing inequality and polarization of the globe, massive destruction of livelihoods, impoverishment of entire lands and populations, and revival of tribal sentiments and animosities with all their murderous, often genocidal, consequences.
The first step in creating a political sphere sufficient to regulate these economic forces is to
realize that, in this globalized world of ours, we all live closer to each other than ever before. We share more aspects of our daily life than ever before. We have the opportunity to know more about each other's customs and preferences than ever before. And since our weapons have become ever more murderous and have reached already the power to destroy the planet—there is more than ever before reason, for all of us, to put talking to each other above fighting each other. Let us take up this unique chance that globalization itself offers.
But to engage in such a dialogue, we all need to feel secure, have our dignity recognized and our ways of life respected—looked upon seriously, with the attention they deserve. Above all, we need to feel that we are all given an equal chance in life and the equal possibility to enjoy the fruits of our shared achievements. Most of those conditions are either missing or suspected to be missing in that "new world disorder" that is emerging out of the "deregulated," one-sided process of globalization. And so there is a temptation to resort to violence rather than negotiation; to wage endless "reconnaissance wars" in order to
find out how far the "adversaries" can be pushed back, how much they can be forced to give away.
Sooner or later, served daily with the evidence of our interdependence, we will have to realize that no one can claim the Earth, or any part of the Earth, as one's own indivisible property. In view of our interdependence, "solidarity of fate" is not a matter of choice. What does depend on our choice is whether that shared fate will end up in mutual destruction, or generate solidarity of feelings, purposes, and action. Regardless of our diverse, often sharply distinct and sometimes hotly antagonistic political or religious creeds, we all wish to live in dignity, to not be humiliated, to be free from fear, and to be allowed to pursue happiness. This is a wide and solid enough common ground on which to start building solidarity of thought and action.
Reforging solidarity of fate into solidarity of purpose and action is one case in which the verdict "there is no alternative," so often abused in the case of other choices, can be legitimately pronounced. Either we draw the proper conclusions from our global interdependence and turn it to the benefit of all, or it will turn itself, with our overt or tacit support, into a catastrophe after which few if any people will be around to count the merits and demerits of any one of the conflicting ways of life. The choice is, as Hannah Arendt warned already forty years ago, between solidarity of common humanity and solidarity of
mutual destruction. No rhetoric and labeling exercise will chase that choice away.
On this planet, we are all dependent on each other, and nothing that we do or refrain from doing is indifferent to the fate of everyone else. From the ethical point of view, this makes us all responsible for each other. Responsibility "is there," put firmly in place by the global network of interdependency— whether we recognize its presence or not and whether we take it up or not. Whenever we deny its presence we assume the attitude of "bystanders"—people who see evil and hear evil (as we all, courtesy of the world wide web and worldwide television network, do now—and do in real time), sometimes speak of evil, but do nothing at all or not enough to arrest it, to thwart, and to frustrate it. But in the new frontier-land of the full planet, evil—any instance of evil, wherever it is gestated and whoever may be its
intended or "collateral" victim—affects us all.
A global world is a place where, for once, the desideratum of moral responsibility and survival coincide and blend. Globalization is, among other things (perhaps above all) an ethical challenge. It is now up to us—all of us—to take this challenge up; to take, one may say, responsibility for our responsibility. And the greater power we have, the mightier our weapons and our resources, the fuller our warehouses and the more efficient our factories—the greater the responsibility we need to carry. For once, the ethical duty of care for the other and the survival instict point in the same direction and suggest the same action. To quote Michael Lerner once more: "If we really want to protect ourselves, we need to
create a world which no longer dehumanizes others, no longer tolerates oppression, no longer imagines that we can live our own private lives and find our own private solutions while closing our ears to the suffering of others."
It is not just a question of insuring ourselves against the vengeance of the disinherited and
humiliated others. It is also a question of defending ourselves against the endemic frailty of our own civilization, of keeping alive and re-asserting the values which that civilization which we cherish and are proud of is meant to embody....
...War on terrorism, to bring any lasting and secure effects, cannot be reduced to the war on
terrorists; it needs to cut at the roots of the sinister meeting of desperation with the most modern and murderous weapons. That approach would require much more than sending bombers and launching missiles against terrorists already discovered and recorded.
Yes—ours is a divided, quarrelsome world of "gated communities," a world in which petrified stereotypes, ossified prejudices, and seething animosities bar clarity of thinking, a world in which barriers tend to erected and frontlines drawn in every corner of the globe and with accelerating speed. You may say that this is not a good point to start, if dialogue and mutual comprehension is the destination. So let me remind you of a wise Irish joke. To a driver's question "How to get from here to Dublin?", a passerby answers: "If I wished to go to Dublin, I would not start from here." I can sympathise with all those who would prefer to start on the way to the "Unity of All Being" from a world different from the one we
inherited and helped to shape. But there is no other world except this sphere on whose surface we all jostle, rubbing each other's shoulders. For once, the all-too-often abused ein breira—"there is no alternative"—argument sounds all too credible. We can ignore it solely at our own, and everybody else's, peril.
Zygmunt Bauman is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Modernity and the Holocaust (1989), Modernity and Ambivalence (1991), Postmodern Ethics (1993), and Postmodernity and Its Discontents (1997). This article is reprinted with permission from TIKKUN: A bimonthly Jewish critique of politics, culture and society. www.tikkun.org
Please find below a link to a continued and evolving dialogue that I had on the recent Full Moon with some friends from Body Collective. We can each talk about these issues in our homes, in our communities, with our family and our friends. These discussions aren't so much to argue about the 'right' way but to stimulate and generate an aura of group thought and to circulate the ideas gathered into this beautiful world of ours.
Also please find below a list of links to organizations that are working along these same lines. Given that this conversation is so centered around resources and that a 'global solidarity' requires an even distribution of resources throughout all aspects of the 'tribe' resources have been chosen that illuminate 'New Initiatives in Finance & Economics.' Check them out there are some great resources here -
From my heart to yours
Bernard Lietaer, author of The Future of Money (translated in 18 languages), was an international expert in the design and implementation of currency systems. He studied and worked in the field of money for more than 30 years in an unusually broad range of capacities including as a Central Banker, a fund manager, a university professor, and a consultant to governments in numerous countries, multinational corporations, and community organizations. He co-designed and implemented the convergence mechanism to the single European currency system (the Euro) and served as president of the Electronic Payment System at the National Bank of Belgium (the Belgian Central Bank). He co-founded and managed GaiaCorp, a top performing currency fund whose profits funded investments in environmental projects. A former professor of International Finance at the University of Louvain, he also taught at Sonoma State University and Naropa University and was a Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Resources of the University of California at Berkeley. He was also a member of the Club of Rome, a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, the World Business Academy, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Bernard Lietaer wrote numerous books and articles about money systems, including Of Human Wealth (forthcoming, 2011), Monnaies Régionales (2008), and The Mystery of Money (2000).
Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
5101 S. 11th Street
Arlington, VA 22204
The mission of CASSE is to advance the steady state economy, with stabilized population and consumption, as a policy goal with widespread public support. This is accomplished by:
educating citizens, organizations, and policy makers on the conflict between economic
growth and (1) environmental protection, (2) ecological and economic sustainability, and
(3) national security and international stability; promoting the steady state economy as a desirable alternative to economic growth; studying the means to establish a steady state economy.
Centre for Associative Economics
42010 High Street
Folkestone, Kent CT20 1RN
“Associative economics” refers to the shift from competitive, national economies to the inherent dynamics of a single global economy. The aim of the Centre is to contribute to an understanding of how and why this shift can and needs to be made today if the underlying causes of the world’s growing inequities are to be addressed.
Established in 2001 as a focus for associative economics in the English-speaking world, the
Centre provides opportunities for a worldwide collaboration. Coordinated jointly by Dr.
Christopher Houghton Budd and Arthur Edwards, its activities are both conceptual and practical in scope, including promotion of the Quality Guarantee Mark, a unique scheme to facilitate adoption of an associative approach to economic life.
Center for Effective Altruism
Effective altruism is a growing social movement founded on the desire to make the world as good a place as it can be, the use of evidence and reason to find out how to do so, and the audacity to actually try.
Author of The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on a partnership between
producers and traders, businesses and consumers. The international Fairtrade system—made up of Fairtrade International and its member organizations—represents the world’s largest and most recognized fair trade system.
The Future of Finance
The Future of Finance is a blog that grapples with the critical challenges faced as humanity seeks to transform the economy and financial system in ways that bring into being a more just society and a truly sustainable way of living on this earth.
Global Alliance for Tax Justice
The Global Alliance for Tax Justice is a growing movement of civil society organisations and
activists, including trade unions, united in campaigning for greater transparency, democratic
oversight and redistribution of wealth in national and global tax systems. We comprise the five regional networks of Africa, Latin America, Asia-Australia, North America and Europe, which collectively represent hundreds of organisations.
The Institute of Public Policy Research
IPPR is a registered charity and the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. Their purpose is to promote research, publication, and education in the economic, social and political sciences and in science and technology, the voluntary sector and social enterprise, public services, and industry and commerce. They also seek to advance the voluntary sector and the efficiency of public services which serve (or further) a charitable purpose. IPPR works to advance physical and mental health; relieve poverty, unemployment, or those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship, or other disadvantage; advance environmental protection or improvement and sustainable development; advance the arts, culture, heritage or science; and advance such other exclusively charitable purposes as the Trustees in their absolute discretion determine. IPPR engages with the public, with opinion formers, and policymakers and politicians of all parties and none.
IRTA (International Reciprocal Trade Association)
524 Middle Street
Portsmouth, Virginia 23704
The International Reciprocal Trade Association, IRTA, is a non-profit organization committed to promoting just and equitable standards of practice and operation within the modern trade and barter and alternative capital systems Industry and raising the awareness and value of these processes to the entire Worldwide Community.
The mission of IRTA is to provide to all Industry Members with an ethically based global
organization dedicated to the advancement of Modern Trade and Barter and other alternative capital systems, through the use of education, self regulation, high standards and government relations.
Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University. He is the author of The New Religions, a pioneering study of the new American spirituality, The Wisdom of Love, and Money and the Meaning of Life, among other books.
James Robertson is a writer and thinker on a wide range of issues, including the key idea of
monetary reform. He was involved in the foundation of the new economics foundation.
The new economic story is rooted in the incontrovertible reality of interdependence—social,
ecological, and spiritual. At the same time, the new story honors cultural freedom and equality in matters political.
Kate Raworth – Exploring Doughnut Economics
Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to
healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.
The Metacurrency Project
According to those involved in the Metacurrency Project, there are phase changes in social
evolution that are driven by the advent of new technologies. Thus, the invention of writing
enabled the jump from small scale tribal society to large scale urban civilizations. The invention of the printing press enabled the jump from monarchic to democratic society. In each of these cases, the technology solved particular problems of the era, but then become a platform for a much larger context of development. It is therefore the intention of those involved in the Metacurrency Project to build new kinds of social structures that design away the problem of the current era, and similarly become a platform for new emergence.
Michael Edwards is an independent writer and activist based in upstate New York who is
affiliated with the New York-based think-tank Demos, and the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University in the UK. His writings have helped to shape a more critical appreciation of the global role of philanthropy and civil society, and to break down barriers between researchers and activists across the world.
The New Economics Foundation
10 Salamanca Place
NEF (the new economics foundation) is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and
demonstrates real economic well-being. It aims to improve quality of life by promoting
innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. It works in partnership and puts people and the planet first.
NEF was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) which forced issues such as international debt onto the agenda of the G7 and G8 summits. NEF works with all sections of society in the UK and internationally - civil society, government, individuals, businesses and academia - to create more understanding and strategies for change.
New Economy Coalition
PO Box 390503
Cambridge, MA 02139-9998
The New Economy Coalition (NEC) is a network of organizations imagining and building a
future where people, communities, and ecosystems thrive. Together, we are creating deep change in our economy and politics—placing power in the hands of people and uprooting legacies of harm—so that a fundamentally new system can take root.
New Economy Network Australia (NENA)
The New Economy Network Australia (NENA) is a network of individuals and organisations
working to transform Australia’s economic system so that achieving ecological health and social justice are the foundational principles and primary objectives of the economic system.
NENA works to facilitate connections, showcase and promote innovative projects, build peer-to-peer learning and use collective strategies to create and advocate for change, so that we can build a strong movement of people demanding, creating and benefiting from a ‘new’ economy.
http://www.reinventingmoney.com & https://beyondmoney.net
Thomas H. (Tom) Greco, Jr. is a community and monetary economist, writer, networker, and
consultant, who, for almost three decades, has been working at the leading edge of
transformational restructuring. A former college professor, he is currently Director of the non-
profit Community Information Resource Center, a networking hub, which provides information access and administrative support for efforts in community improvement, social justice, and sustainability.
He is regarded as one of the leading experts in monetary theory and history, credit clearing
systems, complementary currencies, and community economic development, He is a patron and contributor to Fourth World Review and has written for a wide range of other journals including, The Whole Earth Review, World Business Academy Perspectives, At Work, Earth Island Journal, The Catholic Worker, The Permaculture Activist, Permaculture Drylands Journal, Green Revolution, and other publications.
RSF Social Finance
1002A O’Reilly Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94129
RSF Social Finance (RSF) is a pioneering non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. In partnership with a community of investors and donors, RSF provides capital to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises addressing key issues in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship. RSF was founded in 1936 as the Rudolf Steiner Foundation.
Sarvodaya Development Finance
http://www.sarvodayafinance.lk/ & https://www.facebook.com/SarvodayaDevelopmentFinance/
The Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF) evolved from deep rooted commitment to nation-building and development along the ‘grass roots upwards’ model of its parent, the Sarvodaya Movement.
Sarvodaya Development Finance is the pioneer in microfinance in Sri Lanka and the majority of their profits go to the development of most rural communities. Sarvodaya provides finance to micro, SME and leasing in the country.
Schumacher Center for New Economics
140 Jug End Rd.
Great Barrington, MA 01230 USA
Our mission is to educate the public about an economics that supports both people and the planet. We believe that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that citizens working for the common interest can build systems to achieve it. We recognize that the environmental and equity crises we now face have their roots in the current economic system. We combine theoretical research on economics with practical application, deliberately focusing on transformative systems and the principles that guide them.
Slow Money catalyzes the flow of capital to local food enterprises and organic farms, connecting investors to the places where they live and “bringing money back down to earth.”
STO (Social Trade Organization)
The purpose of the Social Trade Network of projects is: "To develop and promote sustainable economic models for a world full of development opportunities, high quality of life, cultural and environmental diversity, based on sustainable production and consumption.”
The Soul of Money Institute
#3 Fifth Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118
Founded in 2003 by Lynne Twist, the Soul of Money Institute is a center for exploring and
sharing the best practices, theories, and attitudes that enable people to relate to money and the money culture with greater freedom, power, and effectiveness.
Sustainable Development Goal 10
Inequality within and among nations continues to be a significant concern despite progress in and efforts at narrowing disparities of opportunity, income and power. Income inequality continues to rise in many parts of the world, even as the bottom 40 per cent of the population in many countries has experienced positive growth rates. Greater emphasis will need to be placed on reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on other factors. Additional efforts are needed to increase zero-tariff access for exports from least
developed countries and developing countries, and assistance to least developed countries and small island developing States.
Sustainable Development Goal 12
Worldwide material consumption has expanded rapidly, as has material footprint per capita, seriously jeopardizing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 12 and the Goals more broadly. Urgent action is needed to ensure that current material needs do not lead to the overextraction of resources or to the degradation of environmental resources, and should include policies that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy.
Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005. It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local. By coming together, they are able to crowd-source solutions. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, both as groups or as wider communities.
In practice, they are reclaiming the economy, sparking entrepreneurship, reimagining work,
reskilling themselves and weaving webs of connection and support. It’s an approach that has
spread now to over 50 countries, in thousands of groups: in towns, villages, cities, Universities, schools.
Triodos Bank is in business to help create a society that protects and promotes the quality of life of all its members, and that has human dignity at its core. Since 1980, it has enabled individuals, organisations and businesses to use their money in ways that benefit people and the environment. They promote sustainable development by offering their customers sustainable financial products.
World Happiness Report
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. 2019’s World Happiness Report focuses on happiness and the community: how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years, with a focus on the technologies, social norms, conflicts and government policies that have driven those changes.