THE BLOG

Non-Status-Quo Economy

04/23/2014 11:23 am ET | Updated Jun 21, 2014

Our modern, industrial-growth civilization is sick. In both senses of the word, it is ill and sickening. It is the cause and the effect. There is no need to run through the list of deep problems in our economy, society, ecosystem and spirituality -- our collective consciousness.

At the same time, the Earth's "immune system" is being activated in many interconnected ways. For example, it seems that, every other day, a new proper noun is born -- "this economy," "that capitalism," joining the rank of some decades-old ones -- in a global struggle to give language to our new consciousness, and to find a way out of our economic, ecological and spiritual abyss. Here are some notable ones: Regenerative Economy, Sharing Economy, Collaborative Economy, Restorative Economy, Responsible Economy, Steady-state Economy, Circular Economy, Natural Capitalism, Sustainable Capitalism, Green Capitalism, Spiritual Capitalism, Ecosocialism...

Call it the rise of the non-status-quo economy and things-must-change capitalism. The need to add special adjectives in front of the word "economy" and "capitalism", is a powerful demonstration that our status-quo-economy and as-it-is-capitalism is unsustainable, irresponsible, unnatural, brown, exclusive, linear and based on perpetual capital accumulation and industrial growth.

Let a hundred flowers bloom! That seems to be the Zeitgeist of the planet's immune system response. At the same time, these various schools of thoughts/lines of action don't seem to be interested in talking to each other. They are often divided along ideological lines and tend to cluster in homogeneous social group. The public is understandably confused and distracted by a crowded marketplace of ideas. Is it time for a convergence of these different streams, to build a United Front for systems change?

As pointed out by a recent Harvard Business Review article, "The Collaboration Imperative," by Blu Skye Consulting's team and partners:

Addressing global sustainability challenges -- including climate change, resource depletion and ecosystem loss -- is beyond the individual capabilities of even the largest companies. To tackle these threats, and unleash new value, companies and other stakeholders must collaborate in new ways that treat fragile and complex ecosystems as a whole.

Beyond the materialist confines of "economy" and "capitalism," there are nascent movements (always built upon timeless wisdom and ancient traditions) to create a new collective consciousness, a new culture. As someone wise one said, "there is no system so good that the people in it do not need to be good."

Two inspiring models are the Giftivism embodied by ServiceSpace community, and the Great Turning showcased at Canticle Farm in East Oakland, California.

In these two communities, I have seen more "truth" than anywhere else, because the people here are leading their outer transformation with inner transformation, and are being the change they want to see in the world. They are guided by spirit such as:

Service doesn't start when you have something to give, but rather when you have nothing left to take.

and:

To provides a platform for the planetary shift from an industrial-growth society to a life-sustaining society -- one heart, one home, and one block at a time.

Indeed -- "If you want to be a rebel, be kind."