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A New Story of Economy

Since economy is influencing many of our everyday interactions, the stories we hold about economy are essential for how we shape our future together.

Please watch this 3-minute YouTube video on New Story of Economy, which presents a different approach to meeting our human needs while protecting the climate.

Here’s a transcript of the video (courtesy of MettaCenter.org):

“The “economy.” It’s a big word. It describes the massive, globally entwined system involving over seven billion people, all living on the same planet.

And it’s not working. Not for most of us. And certainly not for the planet!

How did we get into this mess? To understand our current economy, we’ve got to rewind the clock on human history.

In the dawn of settled agriculture, our ancestors began accumulating food, tools, land, and other forms of wealth – sometimes for the benefit of the whole community; other times for personal gain and glory.

[In pursuit of more, some have crossed the line between accumulating and stealing… and to make a long story short, conquest took off running. We have had centuries of invasion, domination, colonization, extraction, exploitation, slavery, war, genocide and industrialization.]

The all too human need for recognition through wealth has been the red thread in the uglier sides of human history. It has shaped our economies since the age of empires all through to our present time of multi-national corporations.

As a result, today we live in a world in which a very small elite has amassed astronomical fortunes, while the rest of the world struggles to survive.

Also climate change and environmental destruction are teaching us that our economy needs to do more than simply take care of all the people. [It also has to respect the animals, plants, and ecosystems that keep us all alive.]

The old story we’ve been telling ourselves about our economy [bigger is better, might makes right, take as much as you can] isn’t working any more.

We need a New Story of Economy – a story based on who we really are (not just physical bodies who need to consume ever more stuff,) but body, mind, and spirit, seeking loving and meaningful relationships with all around us. One where our economic system satisfies human needs and our ecosystem.

Fortunately, people all around the world are already experimenting with economies based on need and not greed [rooted in compassion, connection, cooperation, and collaboration]. And they’re working!

We’re already “going local” and supporting shops, farms, and enterprises in our area. We are building worker cooperatives, buying cooperatives, tool co-ops, and more. Moving our money out of big banks and into local credit unions; away from greedy, destructive businesses into ones that affirm life. Sharing skills, tools, cars, resources, and time.

Rejecting consumer culture for ways of living that favor the natural world, creativity and the arts, local community, mentorship, contemplation, health, and relationships.

The New Story of Economy is one of real prosperity for everyone and it revers the sanctity of life. [It’s a story of cooperation, collaboration, diversity, and inclusion. It’s a story of how we care for our communities and share our resources. It’s a story in which we live simply and meaningfully—one where we increasingly weave democracy and participation into our businesses and economic decisions.]

As we shift from the old story to the New Story of Economy, we ourselves shift from being consumers, workers, or employers to who we truly are: human beings together, connected to one another and the Earth.

That’s the New Story we’re building together. Join us!”

There are an abundance of groups and organizations working with various aspects of “constructive program” and upgrading our economy to a system that works in harmony with all life. The MettaCenter.org has compiled some of these, which are listed below for your inspiration and further study:

  • Co-op movement: The cooperative movement began with the application of cooperative principles to business organization. Co-operative enterprises are now widespread, with one of the largest and most successful examples being the industrial Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in Spain.
  • Gift economy: A gift economy, gift culture, or gift exchange is a mode of exchange in which valuables are not traded or sold but given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Learn more in this piece for Tikkun .
  • Sharing Economy: Despite its name, the sharing economy is not always working under the premises of New Story of Economy. Shareable is a nonprofit news, action, and connection hub for an actual sharing economy.

Some groups are looking at overarching systems, including, but not limited to economy:

  • Public Banking Institute: an educational non-profit working to achieve the implementation of public banking at all levels of the American economy and government.
  • New Economy Coalition: a network of organizations imagining and building a future in which people, communities, and ecosystems thrive, 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.
  • Mutual Aid Network: a “time banking” project that developed out of restorative justice programs in a neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin. Now they are expanding to include alternative currencies as well as dollar gift economy exchanges. They are launching hubs across the nation and globe.
  • Slow Money: this nonprofit’s mission is to catalyze the flow of capital to local food systems, connecting investors to the places where they live and promoting new principles of fiduciary responsibility that “bring money back down to earth.”
  • Transition US: this initiative originated in the UK, from a perspective of sustainability and resilience, about a decade ago and has spread to numerous towns and cities in the US. Transition US offers training on various aspects of transitioning into a future that is sustainable for all.
  • The Next System Project: an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with systemic challenges in the US. Building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the Project’s goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.
  • Positive Money: as a London-based nonprofit, Positive Money looks at and explains the catastrophic effects of the debt economy. It also offers pragmatic suggestions for shifting to fair monetary policies.
  • Nonviolence Magazine – MettaCenter.org has a section on Economy.
  • YES! Magazine : a nonprofit, ad-free magazine that covers social justice, environmental sustainability, alternative economics, and peace.
  • Local Futures/Economics of Happiness – a nonprofit whose purpose is raising awareness about what it identifies the root causes of contemporary social, environmental and economic crises.

With current news dominated by Brexit and Trump isolationism and protectionism, we may lose sight that a New Story of Economy movement is growing. Perhaps the stark contrast and our current existential threats will wake us up from apathy and accelerate this process of positive change?

Just finishing reading David C. Korten’s book Change the Story: Change the Future – A Living Economy for a Living Earth. Recommended reading!