We are all ears as we listen intently to the sometimes faint voice of Charles Eisenstein, talking to us from the USA. We are gathered at Woodrooke Quaker College in Birmingham for a weekend studying his book “Sacred Economics” and he is now answering our questions on skype.
Here’s a brief summary of what he is saying on the skype call…
As human beings we create stories about how the world works and live our lives based on them. The old story about scarcity, separation and competition is crumbling. We are beginning to tell a new story about money. The new story says that everything is gift. Whereas the old story sees each person as separate and in competition for scarce resources, the new story sees every person as connected and with the potential to cooperate in sharing the abundance there is. The purpose of money, and all resources, is to circulate to where there is need so that the gift keeps getting passed round.
There are many practical ideas in the book for what a sacred economy would look like, which have been tried in different places. They all respect the eco system, promote local economies and revive community interdependence. Here are just a few:
- Returning to “the commons” all the common resources which have become commodities like water, land and air.
- Discouragement from hoarding large amounts of money (as with our current debt/growth economy) with a system of ‘negative interest’ paid on money which is not circulating around
- A number of currencies will operate locally to enable money to circulate in local economies rather than being sucked out of the local economy by the big corporations.
- Currencies like time will also be part of the economy (as in Time Banks)
- Businesses will start based on actual needs of communities (an aim of Sophia Hubs)
- Currently hidden costs of producing something (like the cost to the environment) will be included in the price of goods so that price represents a more realistic expression of its value.
- Levies on holding land, without using it to benefit the common good.
It struck me that Sophia Hubs is part of the sacred or gift economy through Time Bank, supporting business start ups based on local need and focusing on building community.
It would be really exciting to share what we learned with others, and to get a conversation going. Perhaps the Sophia Hubs course would be a good place to do that?
If you are interested to know more you could follow this link.
If you like the clip, you might want to read the book, it’s called “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein. In line with what he believes, the book is published under “creative Commons” so there is no copyright.
If you are interested in a further conversation about this in Redbridge please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 07816 068947, or contact Ros at Sophia Hubs.