… seemingly technical economic questions have crowded out questions of justice and the common good. I think there is a growing sense, in many societies, that G.D.P. and market values do not by themselves produce happiness, or a good society.
– Michael J. Sandel
in Thomas Friedman, “Justice Goes Global,” New York Times, June 16, 2011
Since the experts seem not to have a clue, it’s anyone’s guess, and fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Without any background or training in economics and little facility for figures, i venture to offer these musings on a possible scenario. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki maintains that being unburdened with expertise, offers a distinct advantage — in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. Bearing in mind also the dictum attributed to Einstein that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler, let us strip matters down to their essence and go from there.
It takes imagination to conceive of a better future. This system is idealistic and utopian calling for social engineering and reform on a hitherto unprecedented scale. The thinking behind it couldn’t be any simpler but we have been too embroiled and entranced by the present monetary system to question it much less to consider supplanting it with something else. I cannot help but be inspired by the resolute efforts of the people of Tahrir Square and the Middle East, and latterly of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What they are doing makes me believe it can be done and this is time to do it. The status is no longer quo.
These are some rough notes which i share so that others more qualified may take some or other of the ideas and work them into a viable alternative to the mess that now obtains. Economics, the management of the planetary household is the bedrock on which our survival depends. There is not much time. I invite your feedback and input and hope that through our interactions a team will emerge to make this vision a reality.
A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.
– Wendell Berry