Whether we explore the microcosm, the mesocosm or the macrocosm we find the same economic relationships hold true for the economic system.
In what I call the economy of use the microcosm consists of whole individuals living whole lives as parts of whole families and whole societies. Gandhiji said that a group of people did not make a society. A group of people by themselves are what he called 'the masses'. It was when people had interrelationships that a society was created. Interrelationships are impossible without wholeness. The modern split is fundamental because it precludes society by negating wholeness.
Such a whole microcosm is reflected in the mesocosm. The village is not just a source for labor or raw materials or markets. It is all these and much more. It is itself a society by which I mean that there are interrelationships that are fundamental to the well-being of the village society. Production is with local materials, found within a five mile radius around the village, using local labor and enterprise and for local use in the village and neighboring villages. The city is not just a center of production, drawing resources in from far and wide. In fact the city, just like the village, uses local resources, local labor and produces for local use.
In the macrocosm the entire country produces not for export but for use. It produces not at the cheapest cost but at the appropriate cost that would sustain the local economies. Imports are largely unnecessary because the micro- and meso- components of the macrocosm are self-sustaining and self-reliant.
Friends, once again: As above so below. As in the small so in the medium and so in the large. So when we examine our present economic system or what I call the economy of more more more, we find at all levels the basic disconnect, the splitting that is at the heart of modern life.
In the microcosm of the economy of more more more is the split individual struggling to juggle relationships, keep up with paying her bills, working at a job at a company owned by unknown entities, generally directed by someone far away. It is a struggle to know who exactly one is, once stripped away from one's labels: what schools did you go to, what recognitions did you receive, how much are you worth? Just as the individual is fragile so are her relationships, especially vulnerable being the family. Work keeps piling up, debt keeps piling up, the kids are disrespectful, friends unreliable, the pressure is always on. There is no time to sit around and tell stories, to work together, the laugh together, to tend to the garden together, to hug trees.
I hope I have not lost you by now dear reader. Perhaps you are thinking, what nonsense! This ain't economics! Well hold on. This all is decidedly economics, just not the economics that you were drilled in. You will have to step outside your schooling to see what I am talking about. Let us continue. In the mesocosm the village is seen simply as a source of three things: raw materials, labor and markets. Thus in country after country rural areas have seen food production replaced by so-called cash crops. Good land that could sustain millions of families on the whole grains is used to grow sugar cane for the sweet-loving city folks, corn to feed animals who live their entire lives in cages, cotton to make billions of items of cheaply made cloth such a T-shirts that are used for a little while and thrown away and so on. In village after village young people leave looking for work. They head to the cities and leave behind clean air and water, the beautiful land itself to live in slums to make money to send home to their families. And finally the crap produced in giant factories in cities far away are shipped back to the villages for sale. Traveling in my ancestral lands in India I found that the red rice that I grew up on was no longer available where it once originated from. The hand-pounded rice, nutty and brown of my childhood is also not available. Bajri, Juwar and the other grains of my childhood are available only in the cities! In the villages themselves, where they once grew all these things locally, the only grains that you can buy is white polished rice and wheat, both of which come from the cities in branded form. And what about the economy of the city? Overpopulated to the point that it is difficult even to walk around such as in my city of birth. There are people everywhere! They have flooded in from the villages and keep flooding in every day. People working so hard that in many families I talked to children were sent away to live with grandparents because with husbands and wives working twelve hour days, commuting for another two to four hours a day, six days a week, there is no time for family life. Overpopulated, incredibly polluted and filthy are our cities as they keep pumping the economy of more more more.
And what about the macrocosm of the economy of more more more? The history of the world since the Industrial Revolution should make that very clear. When the system creates an appetite that can never be satisfied, what modern economics calls 'unlimited wants', there is a need for ever larger sources of raw materials, an ever larger source of labor and ever larger markets. Since this is in fact impossible, since the earth is only one and life itself is limited, it only means one thing: war. The macrocosm involves constant battles big and small for more more more. More raw materials, more command over labor, more markets. When every country starts doing that someone's got to get hurt. That someone is the innocent who bleeds to death in the economy of more more more.
Let us wake up to this madness. Let us spend more time with ourselves in thought and contemplation. Let us spend time with our children. Stop buying them things and start buying them time. Time to do projects together. Time to simply sit and laugh. Let us examine our work and let our work sustain us. Let us let go of two things in our lives that make us slaves to the economy of more more more: fear and greed. Letting go of fear allows us to be ourselves instead of being judged by our degrees and job titles and how much money we make. It allows us to leave the pack racing towards more more more destruction of the human being, families, societies, and the human race itself. Let us let go of greed and learn to be happy with what we have. Everything we need is available to us simply and with very little effort. We must work to live but let us not live to work. Let us be the owners of our own destiny by starting to be the owners of our own time, our own tastes, our own wholeness.
We don't need to wait for the world to change. We can change. Now.
Once again my friends, as above so below. As in the small so in the medium and so in the large. When one of us changes we change the world.