Our last post stirred up some strong emotions, so thanks to all of you who reached out. Although we endeavor to examine the uncomfortable facets of our reality; we commit to staying positive, optimistic, and cognizant of the power of our own consciousness.
Our intention for Conscious.Capital is to spread wisdom, love, truth and higher consciousness (i.e. transcending fear & greed); and encourage the leveraging of our social, conscious and financial capital to usher in a new paradigm of human prosperity. The vision, is a world in which humans are fully empowered to realize and embody their highest potential, as conscious individuals intentionally co-creating the reality we experience.
Yes, we have concerns about the structure of the global financial system, and the incentives it creates. But at the end of the day, it is the PEOPLE – not money – who possess the power of consciousness and the keys to the future.
It strikes us, that truth-seeking entrepreneurs, investors and advisors are some of the most sorely-needed people in the world today. Action – not arguing – will change the world and inspire a new paradigm.
At a time when which doubt, division and disillusionment seem entrenched; we need more risk-taking, results-oriented, authentic, and truthful visionaries to boldly explore and lead new ways of interacting with each other and the world.
To be an entrepreneur, an impresario, is to engage in the multifaceted challenge of creating, selling, implementing and refining a vision that attracts attention and resources. In our economic system, it is the entrepreneurs and business owners with the unique privilege and honor of creating and supporting the (financial) livelihood of employees.
In our complex world, the future will be won by recognizing and embracing the secret depths of our inherent connection to the people around us and the world we live in.
We must rid ourselves of a few blatantly limiting aphorisms, like “nice guys finish last,” and “gotta feel it to believe it.” Nice guys do not finish last, they finish best. You don’t need to feel it to believe it; but often, you need to believe it, in order to feel it (aka the placebo effect). Without faith in each other, faith in the Process, all we are left with is doubt.
SO – May we be clear in our intentions; confident in our abilities; loving in our interactions; and bold in our behaviors.
And remember, just because we explore an idea, does not mean we certainly endorse it; we encourage each individual to refine and use their own skills of intuition and discernment. Only take what is useful. We believe it is more important to openly, objectively and collaboratively examine what we (can) see and have been shown; than to merely believe what we are told.
Working in impact investing has improved my hopes for humanity’s ability to transition off its current crash course, towards a generative future that involves peacefully and productively co-existing with each other and the world around us.
Yet, until recently, I couldn’t say that I’d come across any political movement that seemed to genuinely understand the gravity of our current world’s economic / government-financial situation; and at the same time, propose a viable alternative, with plenty of specifics and an action plan.
Now that I’ve finished the book, and spent a several hours listening to some of his lengthy presentations posted on Youtube, I’m excited and confident to share this movement, its ethos, nature, and beautiful vision for the future. Over the last year, this has been a concept that has been gelling in my consciousness, something I could feel growing as a possibility, certainly an “out-there” one, but one that could not be more urgently needed. When I found his book, I found this solution, one that addresses all of the challenging, even disturbing issues that define the world we live in today.
As a finance professional and amateur historian / political philosopher, contributionism resonates deeply with me, as an integrated, historically-informed socioeconomic worldview and real-time approach to creating, building and ushering in a new paradigm of human prosperity from within the broken capitalist system we currently live in. At its heart, Contributionism is about creating self-sustaining, loving, trusting, open and free societies, in which each person, in order to be in a community, must in return contribute 3 hours per week, plus their own desired “Labor of Love” (or passion), involvement (if any), towards the collective good. Here is the Manifesto for their “One Small Town” initiative.
He realizes that this will not happen overnight; rather, it will require a deliberate, cunning utilization of the current financial and government systems; starting grassroots, ground-up local change as a demonstration and validation of the concept; and leverage the growing global movement around it, to build support and initial financial backing / political support.
Contributionism is founded in response to understanding and analysis of the history of money and economics, the building blocks of modern society and capitalism; and at its most fundamental, represents a model for society that is built by the people, for the people, with full respect and acknowledgement of human rights and the imperative of caring for the world we live in. It represents a transition, from our current money-based system, to a “free society,” in which members contribute to the community (or communities) based on their unique talents and abilities, in exchange for support of the community.
It’s easy to think, this is a bit too rosy and peaches; until you realize that this guy has done his homework, x,1,000; and is a genuine, caring, inspiringly intelligent human being, extremely passionate about what he’s doing. His plans for creating the first Contributionist societies, all across the world, as little microcosms to validate and demonstrate the movement, are extremely detailed, open, and inviting collaboration and, of course, contribution from those who resonate with the movement.
From tips on how to deal with the complexities of the US Legal & Justice systems; to a step-by-step guide on how to bring and implement Contributionism in your town or city; to a fascinating selection of historical resources and current events (including references to “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, by John Perkins, also on my book list), the book is a quick and engaging read.
Nothing but respect for Michael Tellinger, who has no problem discussing any topic pertaining to government, history, or finance, regardless of how taboo it is; if he ever makes it to political office, he will be the realest politician in modern history. Yes, he has certain views that are far out; just remember, (as with dealing with me), when I say some things that sound unbelievable, it is just me exploring a potential opinion, not preaching any sort of “truth”; no topics should be off limits from respectful, objective, logical debate.
I highly recommend watching these two videos. The first one, towards the bottom of the post, is a full two-hour history lesson on the 7,000 year history of the global financial system, from the introduction of money in Mesopotamia, to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and the state of global capitalism today. His understanding of the current financial system, and his model for transitioning to a “free” contributionist system is fascinating. The second a is a January 2019 update (see description below), featuring appearances from other political leaders in North America who have run (one successfully) on a campaign platform of Contributionism.
It’s important to note (and this is actually how I discovered Michael Tellinger) – he’s been the victim of several vicious smear campaigns, some of them making absurd claims about him, to taking quotes of his out of context. To be fair, at times he talks about certain theories, in a way that suggests he fully believes them; but he clearly always says, “this is just a theory”. There is no doubt, that the value in his unbiased, no-nonsense assessment of the financial system and its impact upon human productivity, well-being and society in general, far outweighs any of this “out there” views on history. He is the least dogmatic, humble and ego-light political leader I’ve seen in recent video communication, easily. I recommend starting with his actual content (books and videos), focusing on the substance and making the judgments for yourself. In his videos, he talks about his own experiences going through the court system of South Africa, challenging fraudulent loans of the large banks, potentially setting a landmark legal precedent.
Here’s a segment from the above clip, that I included here as a shout out to Seattle. I was pleasantly surprised both that a) Michael has been looking for financial backers, and industrial partners, to help him implement Contributionism projects all over the world; and, b) to hear that Seattle, is home to some other investment bankers interested in contributionism, from whom Mr. Tellinger is waiting to receive a proposal for a $20m investment for purposes of creating a “model community”.
From the back of his book:
UBUNTU Contributionism A Blueprint For Human Prosperity The path that brought us here as a species is not only filled with lies and deception of unimaginable proportion, but also with continuous manipulation of the human race that goes back thousands of years – all controlled by money. Michael Tellinger has come full circle since his epic “Slave Species of god” in 2006, by proposing a blueprint for the emancipation of the slave species called humanity. Tellinger exposes the previously misunderstood origins of money and the rise of the royal banking elite that have controlled the world for millennia and continue to do so today through the modern banking families. He points out that money did not evolve from thousands of years of barter and trade, but that it was maliciously introduced to the human race as a tool of absolute control and enslavement. Tellinger makes a strong case that if we do not understand our human origins, we cannot come to terms with why the world is so messed up in the 21st century. He demonstrates that our current situation presents us with a unique opportunity to change the course of our destiny. Michael Tellinger describes how the ancient African philosophy of UBUNTU will allow us to seamlessly move from a divided, money-driven society, to united communities driven by people, their passion for life and their God-given talents. Coming to terms with our enslavement as a species is critical to discovering the path to full enlightenment. UBUNTU Contributionism presents a solid foundation for a new social structure to take us into a new era of true freedom from financial tyranny and real prosperity on every level of human endeavour.
This documentary is a breath of fresh air, one of the few pieces able to express poignance while remaining respectful of all viewpoints. Examining the (lack of) freedom of truth and speech in science, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” consists primarily of interviews with leading scientists, narrated and led by the intriguingly sloth-like protagonist Ben Stein.
Ben Stein vs. the theory of evolution (Darwinism). 10/10. Perhaps no other basic scientific theory, has such profound (subconscious) implications on the way we see, live and experience life. Are we just piles of molecules, descended from monkeys, devoid of purpose, that magically developed intricate consciousness? Or are we something more meaningful, more mysterious, more deserving of inquiry?
My apologies to the countless people I’ve insulted over the years, defending a theory – evolution – that undoubtedly values dogma over truth and informed discourse. How easy it is to laugh at those who challenge the “scientific consensus”, before we do our own work. Over the course of the documentary, Ben Stein’s reaction reminds me of my own, as I dug deeper into the “obvious facts” of “science” that we’re encouraged to never question. We are fed the simplistic belief that, anyone who challenges evolution, is a “Creationist”, and thus a religious fanatic. That is a convenient way to preclude scientific debate on Intelligent Design. Personally, the idea that “man evolved from apes”, is just as questionable as the statement, “God created the heaven and the earth in 6 days”. To be clear, I am extremely opposed to organized religion, and believe that true spirituality and true science must, and do, coexist in equanimity.
Any time you see someone with a PhD resorting to insults to convey their “scientific” viewpoint, it should be clear that they are conceptually disadvantaged and responding emotionally – and fearfully – rather than logically. In our world today we face no greater imperative than challenging conventional wisdom and the existing ways of thinking.
We must all wake up to the reality that, our foundational views on life – creation, “survival of the fittest” / might makes right, etc – are presented to us in a way that encourages us to pick a side in a tribal, dogmatic battle between “the scientists” and “the religious crazies”. This is the ultimate false dichotomy. In this day and age, it is an honor to be called crazy, or bold; those who live in fear of what others think, are living in a prison of their own making. Each of us has a beautiful brain, and heart, with far greater powers than we’ve been led to believe.
Let’s stop being afraid of being incorrect, being labeled as something negative by the mainstream herd; and instead be courageous in our pursuit of truth, open discourse, and the prevail of wisdom over dogma. Especially on a topic this profound, it’s not about who is right; any certainty is absurd. It is about who is actually looking at the data, from an objective perspective? Sadly, the scientists doing this, as shown in the documentary, are often “expelled” from their careers and research posts, by the universities and institutes that supposedly exist for the sake of intellectual objectivity and integrity.
These are books that, over the last five years, have transformed my life and re(de)fined my understanding of the world we live in. They have made me wiser, happier, more confident, and have contributed to a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose. At the same time, these books challenged my deeply-held beliefs and perceptions. It was not easy to take in facts and viewpoints suggesting that humanity has been kept on a hamster-wheel of disinformation, dead-end debates and history-by-the-victors. Knowledge is power. In this day and age, money is power as well. Now imagine the idea of the world’s largest corporations handing out money freely to the public. Sounds unlikely? So, why would the dissemination of knowledge be any different? An awakened public, is an empowered public.
Although they are all quite different, each of these books taps into an underlying reality: that humanity has been raised on a worldview that is destructive, divisive, and deceptive. Without even realizing it, we have given up our consent, on many of the most important issues, by accepting mainstream media as fact, aligning with simplified binary agendas (such as Republican vs. Democrat, pro-global warming vs. anti-global warming, etc.), and living our lives so as to avoid thinking of the larger-picture ideas.
Notably, the emergence of a debt-based society and fractional-reserve banking; other possibilities and solutions for human progress and economic productivity; the capacity and power of human consciousness, and its implications in our day-to-day lives; and the responsibility of forming our own opinions and thinking fearlessly, prioritizing truth and compassion over profit and status. It is a tragedy that our system forces a majority of the global population to focus on survival, rather than actually thriving as productive, loving humans. Do we want to live in a society that rewards greed and selfishness; or in a society that rewards innovative, generative enterprise, honesty and compassion?
Note that each of these books is written by a credible, established, and well-respected author in their field. I’ve spent time with Joel Solomon on multiple occasions, have met John Perkins and Yanis Varoufakis, and have communicated with Charles Eisenstein and Marjorie Kelly. I know brilliant people that studied under Professor Howard Zinn, one of the most influential thought leaders of the Civil Rights movement. I have nothing but respect for these diligent, fearless truth-seekers and knowledge guides. Although they will probably challenge you, I’m confident these books will open your eyes to an empowering view of the world we live in.
Quantum physics has demonstrated the following: the act of observing something has an influence upon its outcome. Thus, if we examine science as a whole from this perspective, we start to realize the potential implications of the foundational principles we were taught as children, during the most formative years of our lives. Perhaps one of the most important, is the idea of “survival of the fittest”.
Let’s consider a simple thought experiment, to illustrate the impact of this seemingly unimportant idea of “natural selection”. Imagine there are two groups of schoolchildren, each being taught a course on science in elementary school. Let’s call them Group A and Group B.
Group A is taught what most of us were all taught: “survival of the fittest,” a paradigm in which the strongest survive to procreate, and the weak are removed from the gene pool due to their inability to survive. It is the evolutionary corollary of the concept, “might makes right”. In other words, the physically dominant are those who (deserve to) survive. Group A is taught that violence, instability, and danger are normal, unchangeable facets of the world we live in.
Group B, however, is taught of the concept of integration and one’s relationship and responsibility to the whole. Group B is taught that, in an advanced civilization, survival is dependent upon our collective ability to coordinate and cooperate as a whole. Group B is taught that our thoughts, beliefs and consciousness are the determinant of the reality we live in, as they inform our behaviors and actions. Group B is taught the concepts of interconnectedness and harmony as natural states.
We can imagine the dramatic difference in perspective, that would result between the children of Groups A and B as a result of this foundational teaching, and core component of how the world works.
Group A, taught “survival of the fittest”, focuses on the ideas of competition and scarcity as the defining aspects of humanity’s evolution. It assumes that war is an inevitable (if not necessary) condition of humanity. This indirectly legitimizes past and ongoing conflicts, such as war and extractive industry. Group A is taught a concept, that precludes closer examination, of why humanity continues to behave the way it has been behaving, despite the serious problems created by our way of viewing the world and living on it.
Group B, on the other hand, comes to understand humanity’s evolution as being a function of its ability and desire to work together. The focus is upon transitioning from the past and present, into the kind of future that we all can agree is beneficial (most likely, a society in which all human life is valued, respected and free). Group B is taught to take responsibility, to understand the highest potential of humanity, and to not operate from fear.
Group B still learns about “survival of the fittest”, but only in the context of being a historical reality that was embraced and pushed by those in power (and largely, which brought us to where we are today). Group B is shown this alongside the more attractive option, the idea of humanity seeking to come together, to realize its full potential, and focus energy not upon fighting and competing, so much as upon coordinating and cooperating.
So how do the children of Groups A and B differ as they grow into adulthood? In all likelihood, Group A children will be more focused on their ego, their individuality, as they grapple to find a sense of stability and peace in a world of competition, in which there are inevitably winners and losers.
Like many of us, Group A children will also at some point in life, probably experience a feeling of emptiness and hollowness, when viewing life from the perspective of the separate, “me-against-the-world” self. Is the point, the meaning, of life, to simply make money, attain “success”?Like most of us, Group A children will believe that the concepts of world peace, world without war, equal opportunity and freedom for all, are idealistic and unrealistic; a possibility that is too scary to embrace, due to what others may think of us.
Group B children, on the other hand, are likely to become compassionate, clever and ethical individuals, who see an entirely different worldview relative to Group A. Not only do they not dismiss the idea of “world peace” as idealistic / unrealistic; they bear the burden of realizing that it is their responsibility and duty to lead by example and carry the world into this higher understanding of humanity. Group B children will grow into adults who are better equipped to help heal the wounds of the past, freeing humanity from insecurity and fear-based programming.
Children from Group B are more likely retain a crucial aspect of their childlike selves, as they mature into adults: the ability to see things as they are, without the pressure of social and scientific constraints to (“appropriate”) thinking. They are likely to be far more tuned into their intuition, their empathic understanding of their surroundings; and will be far more comfortable with the idea of simply being, rather than the forced feeling of needing to fight or compete (ie, the discomfort that Group A children feel when they are not “doing” things).
Group B children will have more of a struggle integrating into our world as it is today, but that reflects the point: our society has created, and is built upon, an unsustainable system. The only way it will change, is if we revolutionize the way we think, understand and behave.
We should all think about the risk/reward of holding space for this idea. At worst, we end up considering a new way of thinking, and others criticize us or disagree. At best, we are able to let go of harmful, ingrained ways of thinking; and end up creating a new (way for seeing the) world.
By Dr. Wes Browning, Real Change, May 23-29, 2018 I’m really getting into this whole idea that your thoughts make your own reality. No. Seriously. People who know me personally know that I have been thinking my own Seattle reality into a tropical paradise since 2001. In all that time I haven’t thought up the name of my paradise. I am realizing now that I should be thinking a new name into being. East Maui has a nice sound to it. Quantum mechanics proves that if you look at things right with your conscious mind you can make them vibrate differently. It’s all about electrons. It’s obvious when you know the math. So I’m looking at all the things going on in Seattle and in the country and I’m making them awesome. I’m looking at Trump and I’m seeing balloon animals and origami with pretty colored paper. America really will be great again, as soon as the balloon animal thing takes. The tropical paradise thing has been working very well for me and seems to be spilling over into other people’s reality too. This is a well-known effect known as interpersonal resonance. I think tropical paradise, your thoughts resonate to my thoughts, and all our thoughts get magnified like a laser. OK, some of you might want to call it global warming. But I want to call it East Maui, new tropical paradise. The important thing is, whatever you call it, you’re getting it, because we’re thinking it into being with our consciousnesses. We’re going to fix homelessness in this city the same way. We’re not going to throw any more money at it, because we’ve proved that doesn’t work by not actually trying to fund adequate supplies of suitably affordable new housing. What you don’t do doesn’t happen. What is going to work is what we will do, for sure, which will be to direct our consciousness at the problem. Pretty soon our consciousnesses will entangle and resonate and homelessness will disappear and be replaced by surfing off of black sand beaches. That’s right, we’re all going to start thinking up some killer waves. The waterfront is going to be fantastic. Speaking of fixing problems, the House Republicans in Washington, D.C., have been trying to get a bill passed that is designed to get people who collect SNAP benefits (what used to be food stamps) working by just telling them they have to get jobs or the food stamps will be taken away. This will supposedly save money by giving out fewer snap benefits. The problem is that in order to track people to make sure they are working, the bureaucracy enforcing the tightened rules will have to be several times as big as the bureaucracy that currently manages the program. So the money that would be saved will probably be spent several times over managing the enforcement of the new rules. All of which is especially ironic, since most people who currently receive SNAP benefits are working or trying to get work, because the benefits they get aren’t enough to live on anyway. Clearly the House Republicans understand the principle that if they apply their consciousness to raise awareness of the savings of funds for benefits, the savings will blossom like a billion tulips in the land and the money thrown at the bureaucracy will wither and die from sheer lack of attention. What boondoggle? We don’t see any boondoggle. I was delighted to see a story in the paper this morning about a Chinese couple that, having thought they had purchased a Tibetan mastiff dog while on a trip, then figured out after two years of raising him that he was actually an Asiatic black bear. The head of the household said he was in fact “a little scared of bears.” You can see what their problem really is. Their problem isn’t that the Tibetan mastiff they bought is “really” an Asiatic black bear. Their problem is that they let go of their perfectly good idea that the creature was a Tibetan mastiff. Come on. He was a Tibetan mastiff for two years. All they had to do was just keep that consciousness going and he would continue to be a Tibetan mastiff for as long as he lives. If all the bears in the world are dogs, because we all work at thinking they are, then it doesn’t matter if anyone is afraid of bears, because they’ll never see one. That’s how you get things done. With the power of thought, in harmonic resonance.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has been involved with the Real Change since 1994.
From Real Impact, by Morgan Simon, Cofounder and former CEO of Toniic, and is cofounder and Chair of Transform Finance. I saw that markets were failing people over and over again, particularly people who looked or spoke a certain way. But I didn’t give up on the idea that the right intervention through the nonprofit sector, or via public policy, could fix the problem, and that these channels were the source of a solution. It took me a decade of experience before that belief fully unraveled; before I came to realize that these “good works” were actually part of the problem in legitimizing an inequitable economic system. It isn’t news that this free-market-plus-charity model is failing to produce global prosperity and well-being. Its failure is why we seek out new solutions like impact investment. But I’ve only recently begun to see how our unconscious cultural attitudes towards the economy actually shape what we view as possible. There must be another way to structure an economy to better serve people, if only we can access the imagination required to envision it. For those of us in the United States, for instance, it can be hard to imagine an alternative to the kind of capitalism we’re used to. Or for us to understand and appreciate local economic structures, such as cooperatives, that are common and successful across the Global South but rarely used here. Throughout my career I have spent time in forty-seven different countries, including some – as wide ranging as the Netherlands, Brazil, Cuba and Sweden – with economic views that are very different from our own. I do not raise this point to invoke the classic capitalism-versus-socialism argument, but just to say I know it’s incredibly hard for all sides of that debate to break out of their respective worldviews and try to envision new rules for a global economy. Engaging with this book may require an unlearning, an openness to the idea that we can learn from strategies that do not immediately seem to fit our preconceived notions, so that ultimately we can use this knowledge to build a very different economic system. Envisioning alternatives does not mean that charity and aid are universally bad; clearly they have the potential to do good. Instead, it’s recognizing that they are structurally inefficient in creating systemic change, in part because they themselves are integral to the current system. Ultimately, they are unwittingly reinforce the economic paradigms that provide people with fundamentally unequal access to both resources and opportunity.”Real Impact, Simon, Morgan. Page 12-13.
Foreword by David Korten, from Owning Our Future, written by Marjorie Kelly, entrepreneur, writer and Fellow at The Tellus Institute. Truly an incredible assessment of perhaps the most central foundational aspect of capitalism, ownership. Of all the important elements lacking from much progressive thought and action, the issue of ownership design is perhaps the most foundational. Marjorie Kelly illuminates this crucial topic in a way that can drive it home to everyone. Owning Our Futureoffers the most thorough and properly nuanced treatment of the subject I’ve seen anywhere. Most of the great political struggles over the past 5,000 years can be reduced to a simple question: who will own land, water, and the other essentials of living – and to what end? In the earliest human societies, ownership of the essentials of living was held in common by members of a tribe and included responsibilities of sacred stewardship. We might describe this as a form of shared ownership that confers shared responsibility. As societies transitioned to centralized power structures, ownership of land, water, and other essential means of production was monopolized by the few. Even with the movement toward democracy, ownership of wealth has remained largely in the hands of an elite. Today, debilitating debt, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are a reminder of how little has changed and how many among us – including young people burdened by student loans – live under the power of those who control the issuance of credit. Behind the workings of our economy lies an invisible issue that few of us focus on – the issue of ownership. During my years working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, I came to realize that what we call “development” is in fact a process of transferring control over the basic resources essential to daily life from the people who depend on them to foreign corporations, whose primary interest is financial gain. Ownership of corporations is, in large part, in the hands of the wealthiest 10 percent. Our well-being, indeed our future as a species, depends on restoring our relationships to one another and with the land, the water, the sky, and other generative resources of nature that indigenous people traditionally considered it their obligation to hold and manage in sacred trust. The architecture of ownership is key. The defining debates of the 20th century were crudely framed as a choice between two simplistically defined economic models: private ownership (capitalism0 and public ownership (socialism/communism). Neither capitalism nor socialism ever achieved its ideal, but each came sufficiently close to reveal that both failed. Both support a concentration of the power of ownership in the hands of an oligarchy. In Owning Our Future, Marjorie shows that a new model of ownership is arising and spreading in our time, which she calls generative ownership. It’s most often private ownership, but with a purpose of serving the common good. Generative ownership models include cooperatives, employee-owned firms, community land trusts, community banks, credit unions, foundation-owned companies, and many other models that root control in the hands of people who have a natural interest in the health of their communities and local ecosystems. These are in contrast to the dominant ownership models of capitalism, which Marjorie calls extractive. She offers a simple patter language to describe what makes these two different models of ownership work. Extractive ownership features Absentee Membership and the rapid speculative trading of Casino Finance, built around the purpose of maximizing the extraction of financial wealth. This creates a disconnect between the common good and the global banks, corporations, and financial markets that control the means of living. Extractive ownership is at the root of most of the social and ecological ills we face today. In Marjorie’s prophetic words: “Ownership is the gravitational field that holds our economy in its orbit, locking us all into behaviors that lead to financial excess and ecological overshoot.” Generative ownership, by contrast, has the purpose of creating the conditions for the flourishing of life. It features Rooted Membership, in the living hands of employees, families, communities and others connected to the real economy of jobs and homes and human life. It features Mission-Controlled Governance that keeps firms focused on social mission, Stakeholder Finance that allows capital to be a friend, and Ethical Networks that provide collective support for social and ecological norms. Most of these enterprises are profit making, but they’re not profit maximizing. Since her groundbreaking book The Divine Right of Capital, Marjorie has focused her attention as a writer on how to resolve the foundational issue of ownership, and in Owning Our Future, she shares the story of her personal journey of discovery. The book is written as a travelogue, with detailed accounts of her visits to each of the major initiatives she profiles. Marjorie combines the perspective of a tenacious reporter, the writing skills of an accomplished novelist, and the open and inquiring mind of a thoughtful and critical economic theorist. Her central theme is that the architecture of ownership defines the business purpose of the enterprise and largely determines whether it will operate in a generative or extractive mode. It is the design of ownership that creates the essential framework for the capitalist economy that is beginning to break down – and for a potentially new generative economy that we can bring into being. This is one of the most important books of our time. I found it so informative and inspiring that reading it literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. It gets my very highest recommendation.
In a world where things we need and use go bad, sharing comes naturally. The hoarder ends up sitting alone at top of a pile of stale bread, rusty tools, spoiled fruit, and no one wants to help him, for he has helped no one. Money today, however, is not like bread, fruit or any other natural object. It is the lone exception to nature’s law of returns, the law of life, death, and rebirth, which says that all things ultimately return to their source. Money does not decay over time, but in its abstraction from physicality, it remains changeless or even grows with time, exponentially, thanks to the power of interest.We associate money closely with the self. As the word “mine” implies, we see our money almost as an extension of our selves, which is why we feel “ripped off” when it is taken from us. Money then, violates not only the natural law of return, but the spiritual law of impermanence. Associating something that persists and grows over time with a self that changes dies and returns to the soil perpetuates an illusion. We have attached an exponentially growing money to a self and world that are neither exponential nor even linear, but cyclic. The result is competition, scarcity, and the concentration of wealth.This deep link between money and being is good news because human identity today is undergoing a profound metamorphosis. What kind of money will be consistent with the new self, the connected self, and a world in which we increasingly realize the truth of interconnectedness: that more for you is more for me? Given the determining role of interest, the first alternative currency system to consider is one that structurally eliminates it, or even that bears interest’s opposite.After all, if interest causes competition, scarcity and polarization, then might not its opposite create cooperation, abundance, and community? One of the first modern-economics champion of demurrage currencies and “free-money” was Silvio Gesell. John Maynard Keynes, one of the fathers of modern economics, called Silvio Gesell, the pioneer of friegeld (“free-money”), an “unduly neglected prophet,” and his work, “profoundly original”.Demurrage currencies, also known as “stamp scrip currencies”, and “free-money” currencies, are distinguished by negative-interest.Given the centrality of interest-bearing money in the perpetuation of wealth inequality, demurrage currenciessuch as the Wara and the Wörgl, and the WIR (still in use in Switzerland today) are the clearest solution to the deep structural problems in capitalism that are becoming impossible to ignore.Currency decay acts as a device for decoupling money as a store-of-value from money as a medium of exchange. Money would no longer be preferred to physical capital. The result, as Silvio Gesell foresaw, would be an end to the artificial scarcity and economic depression that happens when there are plenty of goods to be exchanged but a lack of money by which to exchange them. His proposal would force money to circulate. No longer with the owners of money I have an incentive to withhold it from the economy, waiting for scarcity to build up to the point where returns on real capital exceed the rate of interest. This is the second reason for calling it “free money”: freed from the control of the wealthy, money with circulate freely instead of coagulating in vast stagnant pools as it does today. In my research as an impact investor focused on building regenerative (vs. exploitative) systems of capitalism, I’ve arrived at the implementation of demurrage currency as one of the most compelling, simple solutions that has the power to heal, transform and regenerate our planetary communities and economy. This may sound far out, as we have not learned about such currencies in our business schools and MBA courses (unsurprisingly). But demurrage currencies have been implemented with success, especially during times of crisis, to the extent that they were considered in the United States. In 1933, a proposal to issue one billion dollars of stamp scrip in the US was proposed via the Bankhead-Pettengill amendment to the Costigan-LaFollette unemployment relief bill (S. 5125) of 1933:
The Secretary of the Treasury shall cause to be engraved and printed currency of the United States in the form of stamped money certificates. Said certificates shall be in the denomination of $1 each, and the issue shall be limited to $1,000,000,000. Said certificates shall be of a suitable size to provide space on the back thereof for fixing postage stamps. The face of said certificates shall set forth substantially of the following: “This certificate is legal tender for $1 for payment of all debts and dues, public and private, customs, duties, and taxes: provided, that on the date of its transfer there shall be affixed two-cent postage stamps for all dates prior to such date of transfer, as set forth in the schedule on the back thereof.
Make no mistake: the consequences of a free money system would be profound, encompassing economic, social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. Money is so fundamental, so defining of our civilization, that it would be naïve to hope for any authentic civilizational shit that did not involve a fundamental shift in money as well. Can you imagine a society where the greatest prestige, power, and leadership accord to those with the greatest inclination and capacity to give?
Whereas security in an interest-based system comes from accumulating money, in a demurrage system it comes from having productive channels through which to direct it – that is, to become a nexus of the flow of wealth and not a point for its accumulation. In other words, it puts the focus on relationships, not on “having.” It accords with a different sense of self, affirmed not by enclosing more and more of the world within the confines of me and mine, but by developing and deepening relationships with others. It encourages reciprocation, sharing, and the rapid circulation of wealth.
From, The Ascent of Humanity, by Charles Eisenstein In answer to those who are skeptical of the concept of, “Abundance”, (as I once was myself), who see an attitude of abundance being unrealistic/inappropriate, given the current economic and environmental scarcity we are experiencing), Consider first whether our currency of scarcity has actually limited our consumption of scarce resources. It has not. The scarcity of money has aggravated their conversion into money. It is a attitude of scarcity, not of abundance, that has led to the depletion of our natural commons. An attitude of abundance, on the other hand, allows us to make decisions that are aligned with our values, rather than solely based on financial self-interest. It goes hand in hand with an attitude of gratitude, for all of the incredible people, nature and creature comforts that surround. One of my favorite ancient proverbs, that, upon giving it a chance, has profoundly changed my own life, is, “An attitude of gratitude brings opportunity.” It doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges, problems, and serious tests of our own will, but they should be seen as such. The glass is half full; not half empty. The unfolding of the world around us, in many ways, assimilates to our own worldview, expectations, and emotions, which then drive our behaviors and interactions. I know it can be challenging to even create the space to explore these ideas; yet all I ask is that, you approach it as an empirical trial: pick a day, on which, for the whole day, you will focus upon gratitude for everything around you, with a confident, genuine belief in the possibility of the abundance you desire, despite any current challenges or other discouraging worries you may be dealing with. Try to make every single interaction in your day, with partners, co-workers and random people, positive (or at least neutral). Be spontaneously generous, based on tips from your own intuition or subconscious. That evening, and/or the following day, ask yourself how that simple thought, or mental priming, changed your day. To support the genuine exploration of new systems of human interaction and sustainable platforms for worldwide commerce, share and discuss these themes with friends, and send to your local politician. Source: Sacred Economics, by Charles Eisenstein. 95% of what is written above is from this book, pp 240-260. I put the credit down here, so that the word “Sacred” didn’t scare you away or generate too strong of a subconscious bias 😉