A larger economy

Our economy could be based upon meeting every need, rather than some withholding from some.

It appears to me that our economy is based upon Have-nots being willing to part with cash or debt (is this enslavement?) in exchange for what the Haves have: toys, fine clothes, houses and cars, even food and care for our elders. I have it, so I can extract money from you, money which I in turn use to obtain from someone who has something I need or want.

If instead I see my role as meeting a need and someone else meeting mine (not something I buy, for that proves we are not equal), we have a caring- and giving-based economy.

This is not Utopian, for it requires not the elimination of currency nor commerce. What it does require is an utter reversal of thinking: from I take mine first, to we give first. Selfishness is not the first rule of commerce, as Adam Smith supposes, but meeting needs is. Needs run ahead of selfishness, even in the selfish person.

What it leads to is this picture: we look for more needs to fulfill, rather than what we have to sell. We use our imagination and creativity in the service of more people and a wider world.

As we devise new ways to meet needs, we find that new needs ever arise to call to us. The world spirals up faster than if we are crabbily grasping what little we have, trying to protect and secure more. We commonly say about crooks: “If only they’d used all that ingenuity to work with, not against society….” Yet that finger we are pointing points to us: If only we would use our ingenuity to work with not against our fellows, our earth….

The world is about giving our lives in service to something larger than ourselves. The news is presently full of the outcries of the poor charities and needy, as well as the rich and famous, from whom monumental amounts of money have been taken by one man. The man may go to jail, but the larger punishment is to know that his life came to this: nothing. He was a small ball of greed, growing ever smaller, and he could have been larger, could have embraced the world.

So what of us? Will we rise to the challenge and make an economy—laws of the household—or even an ecology—wisdom of the household—that acknowledges we are a household? Will we give—as creatively and ingeniously as we are able? Will we make the world larger?

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on February 23rd, 2009 | No Comments »

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