Background - Economic
Why do we need to form a new organization on matters financial, called CREDIT to the PEOPLE, when there are already so many? A complete answer to this question may be found at several levels -- systemic, global, national and local.
This perspective crosscuts all that follow. The market system has overtaken all. With respect to the financial component, fundamental ethical values no longer provide the basis for actions in the marketplace. These are driven by the hunger for short-term gains, socio-economic elites who fancy themselves to be “the best and the brightest”, and governments who, corrupted by the latter, fail to provide even proper oversight, let alone judicious governance, of destructive forces in the marketplace, especially the built-in forces generating both economic and political inequality.
As a result, there is an increasing chorus of voices who say that “the system” has become unsustainable [e.g., Eisenstein and Lovelock]. Overlapping these are an increasing number of those who recognize that our money system is a fundamental part of the overall problem we need to face in order to generate a sustainable future. We are among them, determined to design and evaluate alternative currencies that would represent and protect values that the current system tends to destroy, as well as alternative banking institutions that would accept such currencies.
The global financial system both enriches and impoverishes. It enriches those most favored to take advantage of global opportunities and trends. Contrariwise for those positioned otherwise. Global currency and other financial speculations, for example, can quickly bring down economies at all levels, from national to local. Our work, therefore, aims to help those who wish to partially insulate their economies from the destructive forces of globalism.
The national financial system increasingly serves the wealthy and powerful classes in a political economy where money is power and power is money. We seek to find ways to offset these tendencies and to discover financial innovations that would promote national system decentralization and creative localism for sustainability. One initiative, for example, is our petition drive to reform the Federal Reserve system, beginning in this year of its 100th anniversary.
Community is one of those basic values that has been steadily depreciated and undermined by the market system. We aim to honor and restore those values, as expressed by a senses of place and places of grace. The political integrity of a democratic republic whose Constitution opens with “We the People” finds its only true expression in and through the interpersonal interactions and creative localism that build community in small places. Financially, we find these expressed by alternative currencies, sustainable development strategies and new ways of financing community development. We plan to assess and promote the best of such efforts.
Eisenstein, Charles (2103), SACRED ECONOMICS: Money, Gift & Society in the Age of Transition. Berkeley, CA: Evolver Editions; and Lovelock, James (2009), THE VANISHING FACE OF GAIA: A Final Warning. NEW YORK: Basic Books.
- PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., 10/30/13
Background – Cultural
One-Eighty, by Robert Leaver
Like it or not, you and I are in the process of bringing about a 180-degree change in the context of modern society. This change will occur as we correct our most basic assumptions about our socio-economic organization and institutions. Simply stated, we are going to end the world’s Market Economy, which is based on the assumptions that there are no limits; competition, exclusion, and exploitation are givens; and we can expect endless economic growth. In its place, we will create a Global or Resource Based Economy in which we will accept limits and operate collaboratively, inclusively and justly, with the priority of preservation and sustainability.
Since the agricultural revolution, 10,000 years ago, man has functioned under the context of divide and conquer. We broke down tasks, creating the division of labor, then we broke down into specialized groups. Over time, the groups began competing with one another. The competition led to hierarchical organizations, exclusion, competition for jobs, and the exploitation of resources and labor. Despite its drawbacks, this economic system led to a radical increase in effectiveness which in turn led to the creation of agricultural surpluses, vast wealth and the development of technologies. Unfortunately, it also led to the assumptions of unlimited production and consumption which have, over the past 100 years, proven unsustainable and thus invalid.
One key example of the rapid evolution of the Market Economy is information technology (IT). If we assume, as is generally accepted, that man initiated language 30-50,000 years ago and our origin as the genus Homo was about 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago, humans have been using the fundamental IT, language, for only about 2% of our existence.
During this relatively short span of time, the information conveyed by languages has grown exponentially. When language began, people communicated primarily by word of mouth. With the agricultural revolution, there developed the need to identify property and keep records. Around 3500 BC, a mere 5500 years ago, we began conveying simple stories with drawings and paintings, which led to pictographic writing. About 4000 years ago, pictographic writing evolved into a system in which symbols represented sounds instead of objects or ideas. Thus began written history, which was disseminated by messengers who carried letters, homing pigeons, ship captains, etc. By 400 AD, 1600 years ago, Christian scribes were producing books, though most people couldn't yet read. With the Renaissance, 1300 AD to 1600 AD, people became more literate, demand for books increased, and printing emerged. In 1811, 202 years ago, steam engines were refined to power printing presses, and printing became hundreds of times faster, leading to newspapers.
But still, news traveled only as fast as people could move. The first postal systems included the pony express. Steamships and locomotives increased news speed. In 1866, the first successful underwater trans-Atlantic cable was laid. That was a mere 148 years ago! Photography began in 1826; Daguerre, 1830s. In the late 1860s, 153 short years ago, the first Remington typewriter was sold. Bell's telephone came along in 1876. Motion pictures began in 1890, the phonograph came along in the early 1900s. The first radio stations were established in 1920, 93 years ago. Television, invented in 1939, began to be manufactured and sold in quantity in the 1950s, a mere sixty years ago.
And on into the recent past with the pell-mell development of magnetic tape, digital audio tape (DATs), CDs, VCRs, communications satellites, computerized editing and typesetting, fiber optics, cell phones, faxes, and finally, with the internet, the information highway.
Each of these technologies led to numerous other technologies, which in turn led to the origination and development of countless institutions, exclusion, competition, exploitation, and vast wealth. Most fundamentally, this occurred because of our pathological drive for power. This drive resulted from man’s anxiety over our vulnerability. This perception of vulnerability, in turn, evolved with language, i.e. the way we communicate and think. Because, unfortunately, the way we communicate and think is linear, reductionist and exclusionary. “I”, “you”, “we”, “they”, “good” versus “evil”, “right” versus “wrong”, “black” versus “white”, and “life” versus “death”. Language, and the way it causes us to think, has caused us to refute and forget that, as the Ancients understood back before language became so reductionist and exclusionary, “we are not two.”
The problem we now face is that the traditional assumptions and context no longer serve our circumstances or interests. Ten thousand years ago, 5,000,000-10,000,000 people had unlimited space and resources. Today, nearly 7 billion people are confronted by increasingly limited space, diminishing resources, and the pollution resulting from their over utilization and consumption.
Today, the existing context, that of the Market Economy, has penetrated and colonized every institution in modern society, from religion to education, healthcare to warfare, capitalism to political systems and the conduct of statecraft. Consider the fact that the NSA and its commercial subcontractors now listen to anyone and anything they want to and use the information to control and manipulate what we think, do and buy. It’s called autophagy when an organism begins consuming itself. For a social or economic system, it functions like cancer, and with the same result. The context of the Market Economy has been a great ride, but we’ve come to the end of the line.
What is Emerging
This is surely one of the most exciting times to be alive in all human history. The future of civilization and all life on earth depends on the choices we humans make over the next few years. And with the help of the world-wide-web, people are catching on to the importance of their – and our - choices. Ever more people are taking responsibility for their faith in themselves, the faith that enables us to self-create, and thus on the selves and social structures they do create. Will we choose to allow the continuing destruction of our biosphere? Or will we, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin predicted, choose to have the Internet evolve into a species-wide proto-telepathy that will extend to all humanity and lead to the single mind and consciousness that can save us?
The word anamnesis means a recollection or recalling to consciousness of some knowledge or understanding. It appears that man is about to experience a mass anamnesis of, or re-awakening to, the memory of our inner-connectedness, our oneness with all.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Buckminster Fuller
Our circumstances have changed 180 degrees. If we are to adapt to the new circumstances, we must create a new context which is the opposite of the existing context. In place of the context of specialization, inflexibility, hierarchical organization, exclusion, competition and exploitation, we must create a new context of role flexibility, bottom-up organization, limited hierarchies, inclusion, cooperation and nurturance.
The authority for the choices about how society functions has always rested with the leaders of the society, the “one percent,” and responsibility for their choices with the other 99%. We must return the authority to those with the responsibility. We must return the authority to the people.
The sequence of steps by which a critical mass will create and impose the new context on modern societies will in all likelihood be as follows: First, individuals will acknowledge and take responsibility for their faith in themselves. This will lead to the choice to make the journey within, develop genuine self-understanding, and, through that self-understanding, achieve inner consensus or personal integration.
This personal integration will lead to ever greater awareness, clarity and effectiveness. These qualities will then lead to a deeper appreciation of the world, the critical need for the new context, and how the new context can best be achieved. Individuals will then begin working with their loved ones, groups and communities to realize the necessary changes they see. Those communities and groups will gradually adopt the new context and together, the individuals, groups and communities will help ever larger and more recalcitrant groups and institutions to adopt the new context.
The transformation starts within each of us, but we will not achieve a critical mass until individuals coalesce into groups, which groups then coalesce into other groups, etc. Psychologically, individuals must get in touch with their Higher or Spiritual Selves in order to introduce the transcendent perspective which is the cornerstone of inner consensus. In the same way, groups must access the same shared transcendent perspective in order to bring about group consensus. And as the individual must become personally integrated in order to achieve increased personal effectiveness, so groups must become integrated in order to achieve increased group effectiveness.
Again, the existing context is pervasive. Neither individuals nor groups will be able to identify all incidents of it, much less respond to all incidents simultaneously. Both individuals and groups will have to become increasingly more aware of the manifestations of the old context and how the new can best replace the old. They'll have to choose where and how to allocate their limited time and energy. Groups such as ours should choose those activities which provide the greatest return in terms of presenting the new context to the greatest number of people in the most persuasive ways. Activities that react to or resist the old context will fail. The most effective activities will be those that pro-actively create the best alternatives to the content of the old context. KISS.
"We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace." - THE EARTH CHARTER