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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 ...

2/14/15

The Ancient Egyptians imagined that the world was made up of pyramidical building-blocks. I think that this view of the nature of reality is more powerful than the one we have inherited from the Ancient Greeks -- that the world is made up of points, lines and planes. To the Ancient Egyptians a point was simply the pointy tip of the pyramid, a line one of its edges and a plane one of its sides.

Seeing economics in the light of the Ancient Egyptians we see the basic building block of economics as a pyramid of evolving consciousness divided into three parts.

The bottom of the pyramid, the largest part in volume and the lowest part in consciousness is self-interest. The middle part of the pyramid is other-interest with less volume than the first part but a higher level of consciousness. The last part of the pyramid, at the very top is one-interest represented by very small volume but at the highest point of consciousness.

Let us understand the three terms self-interest, other-interest and one-interest.

Self-interest means looking out for the well-being of only yourself and your family. Your entire motivation for action in this stage is guided by the idea of attaining for yourself and your family as much as you possibly can.

Other-interest means that you look out only for the interest of others -- the less fortunate, the misguided, the much neglected earth, the defenseless animals. Most religious and charity organizations are involved in this stage of evolution.

At the highest stage of evolution, the very top of the pyramid, is one-interest, where there is clear awareness that self-interest and other-interest are one, that there is no conflict between the two, that personal desire is simply a reflection of the desire to merge with life.

So how does the system work?

Most people are engaged in and live in the stage of self-interest. So they think only of gratifying their own wants and caring for themselves and their families. Self-interest by itself is not a problem. But when it is all there is it creates an imbalance. And we can see that imbalance worldwide as suffering, environmental destruction and the breakdown of human societies.

A smaller number of people in the world are engaged in other-interest. These are the selfless soldiers of love who help others, wipe off the tears of those who suffer and fight to save our wilderness,our earth and all that it contains. Other-interest requires a big jump in consciousness and on our pyramid is the middle level, above the self-interest stage. We owe so much to the individuals, organizations and religions of the world that have eased suffering and put others first to save humanity and our planet from total and certain destruction. However, other-interest by itself is also unbalancing. If one only thinks of others and does not fully take care of oneself and one's family one creates a tremendous imbalance. It is not healthy to devote oneself to a cause, even a worthwhile one, without first taking care of one's own business. So other-interest by itself is also unbalancing.

The highest stage of economic consciousness is that of one-interest. This is at the very top of our pyramid. Very few have reached this point. One-interest means that you see no conflict between self-interest and other-interest, that that duality has merged for you and that you take care for yourself, your family and the rest of the world in a balanced way.

Gandhian economics is the journey along the pyramid of evolving consciousness from self-interest to other-interest to one-interest. It is as simple as that.