Thinking About a New Economy

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source: Possibilitator

There aren’t too many people globally, well at least the 1 per cent, who are satisfied with the current economy. I had written in a blog last fall about differing approaches to what I was putting under the umbrella of the New Economy with links to at least 15 differing ideas of possible new economy. A current undertaking is to look more carefully at those and potentially other versions and catalog their fundamental principles, their examples and existing applications, policies that would support them, etc. I am interested in finding where these differing approaches converge and where they diverge. As I prepare to give a talk this week on ‘Sustainability and a New Economy’ I’m slowly reviewing the possibilities to share with my audience. In the process, as is my seeming trajectory in life, I stumbled into a few items that will assist me in that endeavor and are worth sharing with interested others who might not stumble onto them otherwise.

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They are currently shifting websites from the earlier one www.stwr.org  to the newest one www.sharing.org. I hope they don’t lose the material on the original site which one of the linked items below is from. But first a recent and grand overview from the new site of one of the new economy models, The Sharing Economy. Adam Parsons has written a concise yet critical introduction to the concepts in The Sharing Economy: A Short Introduction to its Political Evolution.

Parsons’ review provides useful links to other, deeper reports that look at various takes on a Sharing Economy. Yes, there are many actors from many regions of the world exploring what a Sharing Economy can look like. The creative and scholarly energy involved is palpable around many of the new economy ideas that are circulating, being modeled, measured, and adapted for use far and wide. I have yet to be able to explore some of them linked to in Parsons’ article including a recent Friends of the Earth ‘Big Ideas’ briefing paper, Sharing Cities, by noted scholar Julian Agyeman and colleagues. (I briefly noted Agyeman’s recent book Introducing Just Sustainabilities in a blog last summer.)

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On the older website www.stwr.org the last piece published was a piece in December based upon a series of talks given by Charles Eisenstein in Europe this past fall. The summary of Eisenstein’s main points are evidently embedded in his new book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Tell us is Possible the first chapter of which is free to download.

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

As summarized Eisenstein’s insights have some resonance with Parsons’ critical reflections in the piece referenced above. Here is one of the notes the author makes from listening to Eisenstein during this tour

The true destiny of science is to humble us before the mysteries of the universe, but we are still hanging on to the ‘old story’ that believes everything can be explained through modern science and reductive reasoning. It is our blind adherence to a rational, evidence-based analysis of all situations that often serves to cut us off from an animating spirit of reverence and love of our planet. This is the true motivation we need to be in touch with in order to feel more, care more and do more to save our planet. Appealing to fear and self-interest will not be enough, and may reinforce the belief that the planet has no value beyond its utility; hence love for the Earth as a sacred being is the most effective basis for collective action.

Whether either of these pieces grabs your interest or not. I would heartily recommend bookmarking the www.sharing.org web site for frequent visits as it is clear the amount of activity, holistic and systemic thinking, and deep reflection will be a refreshing fountain of possibility and hopefulness for 2014.I’ll  be visiting other new economy sites over the next few months and passing along some possibilities that I think might be worth consideration.

Film at 11:00

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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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