Breakdowns of business-as-usual are driving the transition to new economic forms of sharing and caring.
By Hazel Henderson
Today’s politics of austerity, defeatism and fear in Europe and the U.S. are driving backlashes and radical change. Human spirit, energy and creativity, especially among the young at heart, can no longer be suppressed by tired elites fear-messaging their personal angst and despair.
Let’s look at the signs:
- The doomsayers of austerity, job cuts, fiscal cliffs, debt-bombs, terrorism threats, scarcity, shortages of money, fearfully arming against neighbors, survivalists stashing guns and foods – are finally driving healthy alternatives: laughter, comedy shows and new views of loving, caring, community, nature, true wealth and abundance.
- The fossil-fueled Industrial Era, its incumbent industries, rising energy prices, too big to fail banks, consumer debt, un-repayable student loans, structural unemployment, offshoring jobs, globalized supply chains, casino finance, HFT, tax havens, materialistic consumption on our depleted, polluted planet are all clearly unsustainable.
- Everywhere politicians are lagging. Populist anger distrusts their old remedies. Elites shiver, seeing the turmoil of the Arab Spring, street revolts in Greece, Spain and Britain, the morphing Occupy Movements, the whistle-blowers and Tea Party radicals in the USA.
All these breakdowns are driving breakthroughs to healthier human relationships, caring communities, social networks, open-source, sharing, voluntarism, creating new enterprises, team-based workplaces, barter clubs, local currencies, car sharing, couch surfing, farmers’ markets and free online academies.
All this imaginative bonding and altruism Charles Darwin saw as the path of human evolution is creating new forms of abundance.
- The energy transition is underway from digging in the Earth for uranium, coal, oil, gas, to looking up to the sun, and learning to capture its daily free shower of photons as green plants do – providing our human food supply.
2012 saw the tipping point in this transition to safer, cleaner, equitable localized, green economies worldwide. Brazil, the green giant, hosted the UN Rio+20 summit where 191 countries agreed to accelerate this transition, cutting their subsidies to their fossilized sectors, allowing solar, wind, energy efficient retrofitting of building, cities and infrastructure to compete fairly.
The G-20 pledged to promote this green transition, as solar energy became cheaper than nuclear and wind power became cheaper than coal – all tracked in our latest Green Transition Scoreboard®.
- The deepest shift is from 19th century scarcity economics’ “shortage of money” paradigm to Information Age abundance. Unlike material goods, information is not scarce. If you give me information, I am enriched along with you!
This is the basis of the sharing, networking, open-source, peer-to-peer economies now emerging in crowd-funding, such as by MOSAIC, community currencies, credit unions and cooperatives (which employ more people worldwide than all global corporations combined).
- As communities worldwide create their own money like some 200 small cities in Brazil, people realize that money isn’t scarce but a form of information. Money is not wealth but a useful unit of account tracking our human transactions. If not abused or inflated by today’s banks, money can be a store of value. Deficit hawks, billionaire Peter Peterson and his lobbying private equity, big business tax-avoiders’ agenda: “Who is going to take the haircuts for the bad debts, mistakes and financial crises they caused!” Yet, money isn’t scarce – we see it being printed daily on TV and financial news shows.
Financial Regulator Calls For End To Money Creation At Interest
On February 6, 2013, the real story broke. Lord Adair Turner, Britain’s highest financial regulator, stated the truth in his lecture at London’s Cass Business School (video): money-creation at interest by private banks should be ended.
Publicly created money without interest should be issued by governments to write down un-repayable debt and restart or stimulate stalled economies. Central banks have since 2008, printed trillions of new money and given it freely to banks – on the “trickle down” theory to reach Main Street and people.
Yet, globally linked banks simply send this new money offshore, creating jobs in other countries or betting with credit default swaps on which European sovereign bonds would default. Lord Turner quoted Milton Friedman’s medicine for curing recessions: taking loads of printed money up in helicopters and throwing it out for people to pick up and spend! Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, nicknamed “Helicopter Ben” for quoting Friedman, printed those trillions of dollars and gave them freely to the big banks instead of all Americans!
These truths are now helping birth the caring, sharing, information-rich, green economies – and these new forms of abundance.