Welcome to this study group on New economy!

Here you can introduce yourself to the other group members (and the world at large) and make suggestions for our study.

I also have a few questions for you and some suggestions as to the process of studying together.

First question: who has seen one or more of the videos I have posted links to?
What was your first impression? Who did read a part of David's blog, as summarized on the new economy forum?

Second question: who did already order David's book Agenda for a new economy?
We will be using it, together with the free study guide, to help us discuss fundamental questions about Capitalism (in its various forms), values lying at the core of current economic-financial practices, and what changes are needed for healthy, sustainable forms of economy.

As to the process of studying together, I like to repeat Jon Fergus's suggestions in his Voice of the Silence group:

- try to be brief and to the point.
- try to use your own words as often as possible.
- posting questions related to the topic at hand is wonderful! It helps us all reflect on questions we may not have asked ourselves.
- staying on topic is also important.

This will be facilitated by our method of study: we go through the chapters, at our own pace; Each chapter will get its own forum discussion thread, with perhaps each section of the book also getting its own thread. You are of course free to pose your own questions, related to the chapter in question.
Short chapter summaries will be posted, and this will take some time. We simply start in serial order with the chapters. Later on, parallel discussions on separate chapters and sections will be possible.

We'll see how things evolve. It is a bit of an experiment. Although I will try to lead and stimulate discussion, we might need other members as well to fulfill this role. Enjoy the process!

Martin

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Everyone.

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. 

I too shall seek to offer stupid questions, and, being competitive, will seek to out-do Capt. Anand in this regard...And I hope to have no answers whatsoever (as I find they can limit a good question). ;)

Is an "unhealty economy" problematic?

Is a "healthy economy" not in the eye-of-the-beholder?

If money is "a mere number created on a balance sheet," is an "economic crisis" a mere-concept-created-by-attachment-to-fear?

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.

Martin, thank you for your response, and I take your word for it (the facts). I know not about "we." I was in Chennai earlier this month. When I first arrived, I perceived abundant poverty, due to what I observed as garbage-in-the-streets, animals-in-the-streets, beggar-groups, homeless (either with or without cell phones). I saw children, in the morning, emerge from what I defined as "hovels," yet immaculately dressed, and, I was told, "heading to school;" some walked past flower petal mandalas that someone had made before their entrance, close to scattered garbage. I want to tell you I saw suffering in abundance, but I no longer know. How do I determine and/or measure suffering or loss in another (do I speak in-abstractions, or do you)? I don't know. Despite my desire to help-others, facts fail me.

Is "necessity to inquire into our beliefs" not a belief? Or do you see that belief is not the issue, but the quality-of-belief?

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.

 

I just completed watching the Trinity Institute address of David Korten. I will catch up with the others shortly.

It appears to me that what he is suggesting is based on Gandhian concepts of Ahimsa, Swadeshi and Swaraj.

I will hold my comments until I have been through the rest.

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.

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