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There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

There is only one goal. That is to be whole again. How human beings live and work determines whether they remain whole or are split. ...

10/27/14

Upcoming Travel, Teaching and Workshops

I will be in Brazil during the month of November 2014, in Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, traveling with a group of economics undergraduate and graduate students.
If we define economics as the study of maximizing the satisfaction gained from our limited resources we are headed for trouble. We can see that already. The world is in the midst of the crisis of climate change. We have been maximizing for over 200 years and we are now faced with extinction. This is not fanciful thinking. It is fact. We are close to destroying the viability of our survival on our once-beautiful planet.

If we define economics as the study of nurturing of our selves, each other and our resources we may have a chance of survival. We may, through peaceful, thoughtful and complementary means achieve a peaceful society of the future.

Gandhiji told us a long time ago that means and ends are always interchangeable terms. We have thus far used violent, greedy means but seem surprised that we have created a violent, greedy world. But

means = ends

so everything we see around us is a result of decisions made a long time ago. We have been taught to exploit resources, compete with our brothers and sisters and get ahead as if life were a race. These means have resulted in most of humanity being left behind. Suffering has increased rather than decreased over time.

If we are willing to think of economics as cooperation, as the nonviolent participation of all in society, as the powerful means and ends of sharing and above all love, then and only then can humanity survive and truly prosper.

10/25/14

We have some very wealthy people where we live. There are also many very poor people. Many who are homeless, destitute. The rich own money, own property, own assets. What does that wealth all amount to? Does it make them immortal? Of course not! Are they any wiser or better in any way from the poor? I don't think so.

And yet they are rich. What does that mean? How are they set apart from the poor? How is this couple who own a two million dollar home up the hill from where we live different from the dozen or so homeless people who live down our street? The one difference is of course that the rich have a particularly thick skin. Enjoying their lives even as others suffer.

But on a more fundamental level, the economic level, the rich have wealth and the poor do not. Now what is wealth? Let us say, to keep our analysis simple, that all of it is in the form of money. Let us say our rich couple living up the street has a million dollars. Now why is that significant? Isn't it only significant because the million dollars represent a lack amongst someone else, needs unfulfilled exactly to the tune of a million dollars?

If there were not people in the world who truly needed even a small portion of that million dollars to fulfill their own needs, no one would care that the rich couple had a million dollars. The couple wouldn't be able to do anything with the million dollars if the world was full of people whose needs were being met and who were satisfied with their lives.

The only reason why the million dollars means anything is precisely because there is a negative wealth, a need for exactly a million dollars, that is left unfulfilled in the world. That is what gives money wealth its power. Without the misery, without the lack, money wealth would be worth nothing at all.

So all money wealth implies a negative wealth of the same amount. Wealth is held by a few and negative wealth to the same total amount is held by the very many.

It is absurd to talk about a wealthy society when we think of wealth in terms of money. For each person with wealth in the society there are others carrying negative wealth. A wealthy society is thus an impossibility as long as we think of wealth in terms of what we own: money, property, or assets.

John Ruskin said a long time ago, "Wealth is life," and that is the only definition of wealth that makes any sense to me.

10/6/14

The object of economics is to see to the production and distribution of objects for use by people. We are not so interested in the objects themselves as the pleasure people get from using them. 

If that is so then it is clear to me that people can only get pleasure from objects that were made with pleasure. Work is as natural as play. Both are pleasurable. 

When we are whole we are profoundly connected to our lives, our families, our neighbors and our work. When we are whole we create objects that are whole. Whoever receives the fruit of our work enjoys it immensely. We in turn enjoy the fruits of the work of others done in pleasure.

The economy is like a children's playground. Have you noticed how little kids get immense pleasure from playing with each other in smaller and larger groups, many games going on simultaneously on one playground. When children play they are whole. Adult work should be just like play.

When we are whole we will create things with great enthusiasm and pride, receiving pleasure just as we did as children engaged in play. When we are whole we will create things that are whole and anyone who obtains our products will enjoy their wholeness. We in turn will enjoy not only making things but also enjoy things others have made in their wholeness.

If the very material basis of our society is whole our relationships will be whole. We will have whole families, whole communities, whole societies that treat themselves, each other and mother earth with kindness, consideration and love. 

That is the only economics I am interested in. Would you join me in this? How about your family? Your neighbors? 

Together we can bring about a complete change in our lives, our families, our neighbors, our society. We can do it. 

But we need to start now

10/2/14

Today

On Gandhiji's birthday

Let us love and not hate

Let us accept with big hearts

Let us be nonresistant to evil.


Let us not choose

Let us follow

Instead

The right path and take

Right action.



Economics is not about

Greed and profit

Fear and lust for more

Economics is about

Creatively using

Our God-given resources

To celebrate

Life.


Let us remember

Today

That Gandhiji taught us

We are one

One.


So we must

Love ourselves

And love our neighbors

Like brothers and sisters.


We must create

New economies

With our neighbors

Our land our animals

Our lives.


In the words

Of John Ruskin

Wealth is Life.