The Integral Leadership Review is publishing the series of dialogues that I have been having with Nish Dubashia inspired by David Bohm and J Krishnamurti’s dialogues. The full dialogues can also be found on our YouTube channel. Here is the first transcript in the December edition of the Integral Leadership Review.
Is it possible for climate change and the corona virus to both be real phenomena and there to be a powerful group of people intent on using these developments to maximise their own influence and wealth? Do climate change and corona denial have to go hand in hand with a radical critique of our current structures of governance and economics? Why do they so often seem to?Continue reading
I have recently been reading the dialogues between David Bohm and Krishnamurti and have been particularly intrigued by their interactions around time and thought. A key part of volution theory (www.volutiontheory.net) is that linear time as an experience and construct is an inadequate expression of how life works. The concept of evolution itself is part of that linear mindset, hence my proposal that volution – that integrates linear and cyclical in the spin-based toroidal image – is a more encompassing way to describe our individual and collective development.Continue reading
One of the positive things to come out of the pandemic is some radical questioning of our current economic system. Fundamental flaws have been exposed in terms of what is valued and how money is used. In the Why Work book I identified three main pillars in terms of policy that would set us on a course for a more sustainable economics: Eco-tax reform, Basic Citizen’s Income and Redistribution of Work.
At present it is more economically efficient for a producer to intensify energy use and cut back on human labour, due to the relative expense of the two. The present taxation system encourages the use of scarce natural resources and discourages the use of abundant human labour. Eco-tax reform aims to reverse that situation. It involves:
- the phasing out of taxes on incomes, profits and value added;
- taxing unsustainable energy at source;
- taxing the unimproved site value of land;
- taxing the use of other common resources (e.g. oceans).
Basic Citizen’s Income
The Citizen’s Income (also known as a Basic Income) is, in its purist form, an income, sufficient to meet basic needs, paid unconditionally to all individuals, independent of all other income and without any requirement to work.
The ideal Citizen’s Income would be unconditional, permanent and cumulative. In more detail, it would be:
- tax-free income paid by the state to every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship;
- unaffected by other income, wealth, work, gender or marital status;
- age-related (higher for adults than children, and higher for the elderly than those of “working age”);
- a replacement for all existing benefits and pensions, but would include additional supplements for people with disabilities and for housing for low-income families.
Redistribution of Work
Bertrand Russell illustrated clearly the ridiculous logic of the present system:
Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins as before. But the world does not need twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacture of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. … Half the men are idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a source of universal happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?
Sharing out the paid work that is available more widely would appear to be the more logical solution. A number of different methods could be stimulated to achieve this. They include:
- shorter working week/year;
- overtime restrictions;
- longer holidays;
- more part-time work;
- V-time (trading time for income in employee/employer negotiation);
- flexitime (employee fixes start and finish times);
- mid-career training;
- opportunities for earlier retirement.
For more on each of these areas see the Why Work book.
See my other post of the creation of a parallel economy focusing on what we can all do at the community level (as opposed to policy proposals like the above).
It has always puzzled me how we seem to accept our current economic system when it is clearly so fundamentally flawed. It only values those things that generate monetary exchange, diminishing the value of non-monetized activity carried out amongst family, friends or community. It externalises the negative impact of any of that monetized activity – such as the environmental or social cost of producing stuff – meaning that the real cost is not reflected in the actual price, and that other people and life on earth have to carry those costs. It has become such an abstract system – another part of the expertocracy – that people feel very little ownership of it. And in crises such as corona, it stops working.
The thing is, it is such a huge system, embedded in all kinds of governance and processes globally, that it feels impossible to change. That is why I think we need to build an alternative economy in parallel to the existing one that better meets our needs as people and planet, and will still function when the next crisis hits – which it will. It should be an economy that reflects true cost, which people have an understanding of and which is connected to our local needs and experiences.
When I wrote the Why Work book, I researched what the various parallel economic solutions were, and connected them up to provide a coherent picture of how each and every one of us could engage in creating an alternative on our doorstep. Here is the summary graphic. I will describe the different elements briefly below.
Currency: clearly there needs to be a means of exchange that enables more flexibility than direct barter (although that can of course play a role). What is important is that the money that is generated keeps circulating as much as possible locally, and isn’t siphoned off to companies elsewhere who have no interest in the community’s well-being. Examples already abound of systems that can be used for this: community banks, credit unions, local currencies and Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS). The Blockchain of course offers possibilities here too.
Business: for our resilience and sense of ownership, we need to meet as many of our core needs as locally as possible. Food, energy and housing would be good examples. All of these can be run through community businesses that make sure the interest of the community is at the heart of the business. The cooperative structure enables that to happen. There can be an overarching community cooperative to focus on the local interests. Community Supported Agriculture where people subscribe to a weekly package of locally grown food supports local farmers and makes us less dependent on decisions taken by large food corporations whose primary driver is to increase the financial return to their shareholders.
Land: who owns the land determines what can be done on the land and at what price. Often land is owned by speculators whose interest is to make as much money off it as possible. Community Land Trusts enable the community to own and govern the land in the interests of the community – be it for housing, recreation or agriculture.
As you can imagine, there are many other areas in which we can reclaim local ownership of currently outsourced domains – e.g. education, healthcare. The three main aspects outlined above and the graphic lay the foundations.
During Humanity Rising our team have become inspired by the Parallel Polity strategy, that emerged with Vaclav Havel and the Charter 77 movement in the transition of Czechoslovakia. The idea is to just get on and build the alternative in parallel to the current system, enabling people to choose which they want to adopt. Once mature enough, the old system that everyone knows is breaking anyway is able to let go. People can withdraw their consent from the old system and channel their resources and energy into the new. This gives us some ideas on how to do that with the economy. Proceed until apprehended!
I wrote this after watching the Bohemian Rhapsody film. For some reason it really grounded me in the essence, and I needed to write something down to remind myself of priorities. When I read it out last night, just as text, people commented afterwards on how much they liked the “poem”, so maybe it’s a poem! And a New Year’s resolution…
(Alex Grey, Galactic Resonance)
The Core (written to myself as much as to anyone else)
We are on the edge of extinction ourselves and are co-responsible for the extinction of thousands of other species.
We have forgotten who we are, what our heritage is, where we are from.
We are born of this Earth, we are this Earth, expressing itself in human form.
This is the Earth talking to itself and listening to itself.
The only thing we should be focusing on is are we, is each of us, doing what we can do to help life on Earth survive and thrive, and enable this great experiment of life as a self-conscious human being to continue?
Are we proud of ourselves, of the human race?
Do we believe we are worth it?
Or have we given up,
choosing to forget,
as remembering is too painful
and asks too much of us?
Nothing is too much, if we truly remember.
We need to remember who we are.
Incredible, creative beings of this mother earth,
with the ability to think, feel, be conscious,
make amazing things,
come up with creative solutions together that no one of us could have come up with on our own.
Are you worried about giving up your old ways,
your job and lifestyle that is part of a dying world?
Are you worried that you might not be able to make a living doing the thing only you can do best to contribute to life?
Isn’t that ridiculous?!
You are life and life is you!
When you act to support life, life supports you.
When you act from trust and compassion you are repaid through unconditional love and support.
Life loves you.
This Earth loves you.
Why would it abandon you if you remembered you were part of it and acted as such?
It is a time to be bold.
Shake off the skin of the deadening world we call normal and come alive!
Believe in yourself!
Believe in life!
Do what needs to be done, now and every moment of your life.
That on your death bed you may look back and know you have lived this life given to you to the highest of your potential.
That your children and grandchildren will draw from your energy and example when they think about you.
There is no other time than now.
Here and now.
The future is forged and the past re-defined by the choices we make in each present moment,
to serve life with all our being,
full of passion and compassion,
wildness and humility,
vision and presence.
Nothing else will suffice.
Our earth mother and cosmic father are testing us now.
Do we believe we are worth it?
Are we going to pick up the gauntlet?
Or just fade away in the annals of history as the generations who chose not to see,
who chose not to feel,
and who chose not to act?
The choice is ours.
Ultimately life will find a way forward, whatever happens.
But shame on us if we don’t put into practice now the millions of years of evolution that have gone into making us who we are.
Shame on us.
And blessings on us if we choose to show up as the great beings we are and bring heaven and earth together in this miracle of life.
Blessings on us.
We can do this – if we choose to.
Culemborg, January 6th 2019