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I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been I = M - S Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what ...


The Gandhian economics of natural farming was given to us most beautifully by the great Japanese philosopher-farmer Fukuoka in his 1978 classic The One Straw Revolution. This is what he has to say:

I believe that Gandhi's way, a methodless method, acting with a non-winning, non-opposing state of mind, is akin to natural farming. When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. 


Nothing in life is free say those who believe in modern economics. And this statement is so obviously false that it makes our work easy. The best things in life are free I say. Love is free and also the most effective way of freeing us from the entanglement of modern life based on modern economics.

One way to move towards a free economy is to look at the structure of capital.

What is capital? Capital is stuff! It is as simple as that. We all need stuff to live, to grow, to prosper, to engage, to build, to harmonize and to give. Interest is the reciprocal flow per period of time for capital. Now it is important to understand that interest is flowing at all times. It does not simply come into being when you lend me money or I borrow a sack of brown rice from you. It is always and everywhere ever flowing. So if you choose to keep your sack of rice for instance you are receiving the services of the rice and hence are continually receiving interest.

Ok, to recap capital is stuff and interest is ever flowing. Now let us consider an interesting proposition: Throughout history humans have been very ambivalent about interest. Think of usury, laws that prevented interest being charged, the whole moral angle on interest. More recently, since at least the 19th Century there has been a movement to reduce interest down to zero. These efforts did not work because they all focused on the wrongness of interest. They tried to show in their own way, depending on the period and place in history and geographically, that interest was not a legitimate flow, that no such thing really existed and that the charging of interest was thus wrong.

It is no wonder that these approaches did not work! All it took was a thinking person to demonstrate over and over in each society that interest was flowing on capital as a reciprocal flow. To approach zero interest by saying that interest must not exist because it is wrong, that no such flow exists naturally and is the scheme of capitalists and robbers is frankly quite stupid. So in every society over time interest was accepted, demanded and paid.

So why is that significant? Well, the maldistribution of capital is the principal cause of human suffering. There are a few people who have a lot of capital and others who have very little. We all need capital to live and survive so interest flows from the poor to the rich, year after year, impoverishing the poor further and making the rich even richer.

My solution to this problem is very simple. Since interest is in fact ever flowing we firstly acknowledge the legitimacy of this flow. It is very real whether capital changes hands or not. Secondly, I am asking rich people to voluntarily contribute a substantial part of their fortunes, their capital, to create a Dignity Bank, a large depository of capital. This capital will be lent out to the poor of the world for productive purposes and personal purposes. Productive loans will carry an interest of 5% simple interest. Personal loans will carry no interest at all. In each case interest will be flowing but in the latter case the interest will be borne by the Dignity Bank.

This simple scheme could change the world as we know it in just a few years. Really, together we can do it!


In the words of the great philosopher J. Krishnamurti, "Self-knowledge is the beginning of understanding; without self-knowledge, contradiction and conflict will continue. To know the whole process, the totality of oneself, does not require any expert, any authority. The pursuit of authority only breeds fear. No expert, no specialist, can show us how to understand the process of the self. One has to study it for oneself. You and I can help each other by talking about it, but none can unfold it for us, no specialist, no teacher, can explore it for us. We can be aware of it only in our relationship--in our relationship to things, to property, to people and to ideas." (The First and Last Freedom, New York: Harper, 1954, p. 75)

So self-awareness can only come out of relationship to property, people and ideas and without experts interpreting things for us. We must each become humanistic economists and explore for ourselves then reflect and share with others.

This is the purpose of approaching economics through creative performance workshops. This is what I do.


Gandhian economics is not a thing. It is structure without content. Each of us has to fill in the content for ourselves.

If it were content then it would be calcified. It would be rigid, incapable of change. The nature of reality is constant and unpredictable change. Such an economics would thus be of little use.

What is the purpose of an economics? Why have an economics, of any kind?

Is it not to effect understanding and through that understanding effect change?

How can we understand what is constantly shifting, what is change itself? We need a flexible yet durable structure that allows a wonderful and magical exploration of life in its infinite forms and varieties.

So I am trying to create a simple structure that will allow each of us to discover our own economics. I do that by engaging willing participants in performative play.

My performance workshops allow participants to engage, contemplate, express, and develop short performance pieces that explore within simple structures.

Through performative play we develop, together, our own understanding of Gandhian economics. At least that what I have to offer and that's what I believe.


Working with groups of workshop participants in four continents I came to realize that individuals in more traditional and rural societies, facing tremendous challenges, can sometimes be more whole and far less split than their modern, urban contemporaries. At other times I found urban, affluent groups that were very rooted in their cultures and in that wholeness were open to explorations of new ways of thinking.

I found that working with these groups I was learning, this was my schooling, and that as workshop leader I was engaged in a profound dialogue about wholeness.

I approach my explorations in the form of performance workshops because I am interested in people coming together in groups to explore for themselves, both as individuals and as a group, ideas of wholeness in how they live and how they work. Performance is seen and experienced as play. This allows my workshop participants to engage fully, increasingly leave their inhibitions aside and explore.

I use brief performance lectures as a preamble to my performance workshops. These create a playful and safe structure within which the performance exercises can be done. Participants can see that I am just an ordinary person like them who has many unusual ways of thinking about things and who is willing to engage others in his memories, observations, obsessions, and other distracted thoughts.