I am the illiterate of the group having had no training on the basics of cpaitalism or the other systems. But I will bring a common man's perspective to the study by asking some stupid questions like is debt is an integral part of our economic system or can we do away with it? Or in the coming new economy will I have to give up my comforts and work harder to earn less? Will I need to share with the community whatever I possess? Where does spirituality fits in? And several others.
Martin, I have downloaded the video but yet to watch it. I wanted to watch the video before proceeding to the book. Please be patient.
Anand, I only wish that more people start asking "stupid questions", like you do.
These questions will lead to us to the core of what economy is and what its role in society is, or should be. The relationship to the values we cherish or believe in will become painstakingly clear as well..
It will take some time for members to watch the videos, and we will proceed slowly. Shortly I will be posting a summary of the prologue of the book "Agenda for a new economy" - from phantom wealth to real wealth.
The prologue has no specific questions associated with it. It serves to set the tone and scope of the book.
Michael, nice questions. Unfortunately, illusionary beliefs such as money-as-wealth have big consequences.
Artificially created boom-and-bust cycles cause people to lose their homes, cause mass-unemployment and a lot of related distress. Excessive speculation on wheat prices causes misery and hunger, and robs people of even the little money they have to send their children to school. Pensions that are halved are not a fiction, but facts.
Not to mention the insane amounts of money spent on war and defense that drains the national budget and prevents investments in education, etc. These facts are the results from beliefs we hold about life, how we perceive others, etc. Hence the necessity to inquire into our beliefs.
Michael, Indian people have their beliefs too, as exemplified in their caste system. But Anand can tell you more about that.
"Necessity to inquire into our beliefs" is not a belief but a felt or perceived need. This is an essential difference.
As to quality of belief: indeed, that went through my mind yesterday and today. There is a qualitative difference between mere opinion, reasoned belief and intuition. The latter is a "deep peek" into the nature of a situation, thing, relation, etc. This has been described by Plato in his work on the State.
As to your earlier question on a healthy economy: i would define this as a sustainable economy. In David Korten's book, ideas about that are developed in later chapters. We will have plenty of time to discuss that later. In the Pages (intro of part I) there is a discussion with Joe where I briefly go into that.
Anand, I have great respect for Mahatma Gandhi. Many of his ideas can be found back today in modern day movements concerning peace, autonomy, self-help, a self-organizing networked economy, etc. Many issues are dealt with in later chapters of the book, and we will get there. Right now, I am establishing the groundwork for this group, summarizing chapters. If anyone wants to help with this, great. Also, if others want to contribute to this discussion, please go ahead. It needs to be a group effort to understand what economy is all about and how it relates to our values of a healthy, peaceful, sustainable society, cooperation, meaningful work, freedom, etc. Our societies will also need a lot of reflection on issues of rising energy prices (peak oil) and climate change, since these are becoming ever more urgent. Failure to act will plunge our societies into chaos.