The ‘New Economy’ discussed here is not a proposition for radical discontinuity, and still less an artefact of wishful thinking.
Whatever the urgency of a transition to an economy that interacts healthily with the biosphere, no proposition for this transition can succeed that does not present as a beneficial ‘adjacent possible’ for some significant fraction of the billions of pragmatic economic choices that are made each day by people with perfectly reasonable desires for security, dignity, and agency.
Much ‘New Economy’ thinking is infected by ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’; these translate, crudely speaking, into moralising pressure and policy impositions. These are of course valid social mechanisms, and have their place, but when we look at the context of those daily billions of choices, we see that they are conditioned most immediately by the underlying protocols around how money works – both as a means-of-exchange and as a store-of-value.
Continue reading “Two Planks – and a Bridge – to the New Economy”
After an earlier post here on Transcender Economic Action was cross-posted to the Low Impact blog, I got a response questioning the capacity of Mutual Credit to scale and serve a global economy.
My response grew ‘like Topsy‘, to the point where it seemed most appropriate to post it here.
Indeed, the problem of scale is serious. Some people in the Low Impact community are all for a ‘de-scaled’ civilisation – one of small towns, small global population, low-tech, believing that living in this way would be more sustainable and harmonious with nature.
I am not one of these. Everything I can see about life, over its three and a half billion year history, is that it tends towards growth and increasing complexity: from a few cubic centimetres then to a global biosphere now, the domain of life has expanded by an order of at least 10^25.
The idea that ‘nature’ is ‘harmonious’ seems also indefensible. When blue-green algae evolved, they produced oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis. Oxygen is an extremely dangerous chemical, toxic to all previous life-forms. There was a global ecological crisis as oxygen levels rose relentlessly – an enormous disharmony, to the extent that one name for this period is “The Oxygen Holocaust“. Oxygen tolerant, then oxygen-breathing life evolved, but this didn’t make for harmony – instead it set the stage for life to invade the land, utterly transforming the planet.
Continue reading “Operationalised Trust”
This post relates to the wider ‘Transcender Manifesto for a World Beyond Capitalism‘ – more directly addressing the selection, requirements, design and operation of structures that could expand the world of transcender relations around value exchange – those that achieve viability through ‘earning their living’ in the economic sphere.
This is important because, despite the bad name economics has earned through the cruelties and negative impacts of the last few centuries of rampant expansionism, it seems clear that the messaging system facilitated by markets is fundamental to what we require from our civilisation – and that we cannot simply junk these without abandoning much that we value.
We have to accept that economic activity is at the core of our capacity to have a recognisable civilisation, at least until we can evolve further, to a gift economy of abundance.
In order to transcend capitalism, though, starting from where we are, we must fundamentally change the way that money, markets – and thus the implicit incentives that drive overall outcomes – work.
Continue reading “Economic Action – A Transcender approach.”