An Economy for wellbeing
When I think about wellbeing, it is maybe different from yours. And for once, I'm not gonna write about BioTech, Longevity, Health, or anything like that. Natural it is important to talk about it.
When I think about wellbeing, it is maybe different from yours. And for once, I'm not gonna write about BioTech, Longevity, Health, or anything like that. Natural it is important to talk about it. But in an economic context today it's about something else. The economy needn’t be a war; it can be a common good. To get there, we must retrieve our innate goodwill. We are sitting in the same boat, we have to move beyond GDP.
Wellbeing as important as economic growth, says Nicola Sturgeon
The common good is a conscious implementation of mutual altruism. Whether we are humans or in nature, we reward those who cooperate with others and punish those who defect. A Commons works in a similar way. We see resources slightly different, think about a piece of land or a forest
It is a common good, but we find ways to monetize them.
An important concept to understand is that we are living on a finite planet. I guess this is pretty clear, but we haven’t really understood that. The Commons isn’t a winner takes all economy, rather an all take the winners economy. That means shared ownership encourages shared responsibility, which in turn engenders a long term perspective on business practice and probably will prevent human extinction. Also relevant to mention is that nothing can be externalized to someone else, because everyone is part of the same trust, and we are drinking from the same fountain.
If your own actions harm other participants, companies, or systems, you undermine the integrity of the market itself. For those who are enchanted by the myth of capitalism, this can be difficult to understand. They are still stuck, thinking that the economy is a two-column book in which every loan is the burden of another. This zero-sum mentality is an artifact of the central monopoly currency. If money has to be borrowed from a single, private treasury and repaid with interest, then this sad, competing model of scarcity makes sense. I have to pay back more than I borrowed, so I have to get the extra money from someone else. That's the real premise of zero-sum. But an economy doesn't have to work that way.
The destructive power of this system and its financing can be seen in current events. In a previous article (on my blog), I discussed the creation of money. That once the pharaohs distributed credit and introduced accounting and bank-like systems. If we believe there is a shortage, there will always be a shortage. So we have to get away from this belief to engage in something new. That new is something, that we trust that there will be more in the future and not less.
Advocates of the commons seek to optimize the economy for human beings, rather than the other way around. In a system where we own something and create value from it, we create a system for everyone. Today, there are already numerous examples that are organized accordingly, Today, we might call such an arrangement a cooperative. In other words, workers should collectively own the tools and factories they use to create value. The same sorts of structures are being employed in digital businesses. As I have been dealing with complex systems all my life, we have to find a way to make platforms business models more cooperative. In New York, there is a movement by Trebor Schulz called Platform Cooporatism (A hub that helps you start, grow, or convert to platform co-ops). I had the pleasure to speak with him several times and it was always a pleasure. In these “platform cooperatives,” participants own the platform they’re using, instead of working for a “platform monopoly” taxi app or giving away their life data to a social media app.
What they visioned is the following: In the face of widespread dissatisfaction with capitalism, it is time to ask, “What kind of new economy do we want to create?” Instead of optimizing the online economy for growth and short-term profits for the few, we need to optimize the digital economy for all the people in this universe.
Platform co-ops offer a near-future, alternative to platform capitalism based on cooperative principles such as democratic ownership and governance. Please have a look at their Website.
Another important point is, De-Growth or SlowGrowth to No Growth. As once requested by the Club of Rome. Nowadays to defined as a "post-growth economy”. For a future that's better, not bigger. Only the dismantling of the industrial model to a post-growth economy will enable socially stable and globally fair supply structures. By De-Growth or post-growth, I mean a way of doing business and a form of society that aims to promote the wellbeing of all and preserve the ecological foundations of life. This requires a fundamental change in the world in which we live and a comprehensive cultural change.
The current economic and social guiding principle is "higher, faster, further" - it requires and encourages competition between all people. On the one hand, this leads to acceleration, excessive demands, and exclusion. On the other hand, economic activity destroys our natural foundations of life and the habitats of plants and animals. We are convinced that the common values of a post-growth society should be mindfulness, solidarity, and cooperation. Humanity must see itself as part of the planetary ecosystem. Only in this way can a self-determined life in dignity for all be made possible.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Things in nature grow to a certain point and then stop. They become full-grown adults, forests, or coral reefs. This doesn’t mean they’re dead. If anything, it’s the stability of adulthood that lets them become participating members of larger, mutually supportive networks. We know that nothing in nature can sustain an exponential rate of growth, but this doesn’t stop many of our leading economists and scientists from perpetuating this myth. They cherry-pick evidence that supports the endless acceleration of our markets and our technologies as if to confirm that growth based corporate capitalism is keeping us on track for the next stage of human evolution. To suggest we slow down, think, consider—or content our- selves with steady profits and incremental progress—is to cast oneself as an enemy of our civilization’s necessary acceleration forward. By the market’s logic, human intervention in the machine will only prevent it from growing us out of our current mess. In this read of the situation, corporations may be using extractive, scorched-earth tactics, but they are also our last best hope of solving the world’s biggest problems, such as hunger and disease. Questioning the proliferation of patented, genetically modified seeds or an upgraded arsenal of pesticides just impedes the necessary progress. Adherents of this worldview say that it’s already too late to go back. There are already too many people, too much damage, and too much dependence on energy. The only way out is through. Regulating a market just slows it down, preventing it from reaching the necessary level of turbulence for the “invisible hand” to do its work.
When it comes to the possibilities of 'learning from history' there are doubtless many things we could aspire to learn. Some of those would be more practically useful, in terms of contributing to the normal and decent functioning of well-meaning societies than others.
"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."
George Bernard Shaw
Overwhelmed with the current status quo, we came up with short term thinking solutions. We see technology arises, but don’t see the bigger picture. Especially when we talk to scientists or people like Ray Kurzweil, we hear how often prosperity improves every year. They measure improvement as a function of life expectancy or reduction in the number of violent deaths. Those are great improvements on their own, but they give false cover for the crimes of modern capitalism—as if the relative peace and longevity enjoyed by some inhabitants of the West were proof of the superiority of its model and the unquestionable benefit of pursuing growth. Nevertheless, our society is becoming more and more divided and our well-being in the western world is steadily decreasing. Mr. Fuller already said 40 years ago how we can live in a society we would like to live in, if you are interested in that, message me. Don’t want to write a book here yet.
Statistically speaking, I do acknowledge the arguments, but they leave a lot to hide. We have modern slavery, toxic waste dumps, river pollution and global geopolitical disputes, all of which depend on the same system. So while we calm ourselves down with statistics, and adjust them to our imagination, we live in a world that is increasingly falling apart. Many problems that lead to the extinction of mankind, we have not addressed, cyber war, drone wars, killer bacteria, bio weapons, the eradication of other countries or the destruction of our Mother Earth.
Capitalism is not fair and it has not reduced violence, nor has it reduced many of the technologies that should now support us in our daily lives. We may get shot down less in the public streets, but that doesn't mean that the world has become any less violent or that the blind pursuit of permanent economic growth or technological progress has increased with the enhancement of human well-being. How are we going to tell a chief of a company or state that what he is doing is bad.
With the blessing of the economy we will continue, rather than reinvent ourselves, to go on the self-destructive way for another 5-10 years. So we make promises that the world will be better, we just have to be more advanced than before.
In the calculation of capitalism, we often forget ourselves, the human being. And now, in this calculation, we strive to simply dissolve it, to automate it. We want to overcome every potential obstacle to drive economic and technological growth as smoothly as before.
But we need models that do not strive for more, but for the one that best adopts to the environment or in the words of Mr. Taleb an antifragile economy.