Sacred Economics

Tenerife sunset sea wall Puerto de la Cruz

Tenerife sunset sea wall Puerto de la Cruz

We’ve all been given a gift, the gift of life. What we do with our lives is our gift back. — Edo

And what greater service shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? — Kahil Gibran

The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. — Mahatma Gandhi

Usury is not allowed in Christianity. Mediaeval theologians performed somersaults to enable usury.

Usury is not allowed in Islam. We now have Islamic banks that redefine usury.

Dig down into any problem today, and you find money and greed is the root cause:

  • pollution — money and greed
  • banking crisis — money and greed
  • extremes of wealth and poverty — money and greed

How do we value

  • clean air
  • a butterfly
  • an ancient woodland
  • music that sends a shiver down our spine
  • a rainbow
  • a sunset

Is Man a machine, whose sole purpose is to engage in mindless consumption?

How do we see a mountain. To one a sacred site where the gods reside, to a another, a repository of minerals. Two viewpoints, two entirely different, diametrically opposite and conflicting outcomes.

Too many people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

We are a part of nature. As soon as we see ourselves apart from nature, we put a price on nature, we no longer value nature.

When we put a price on nature, we think we can exploit nature, control nature.

Have we been able to control

  • the floods that hit England
  • the Polar Vortex that hit North America
  • the typhoon that hit the Philippines
  • the tsunami that hit Asia
  • the volcano that engulfed Pompeii

Money is a means of exchange, it saves us having to barter, the trouble of finding someone who has what we need, who wants what we have.

Money the root of all evil? In Love Wins, Rob Bell says not. It is how you acquired, what you do with it. Wealth becomes a verb, not a noun. Possessions in themselves, have no value, it is what we do with them.

When a rich man asks Jesus about eternal life, he tells him he has as much chance of getting into heaven as passing through the eye of a needle. He tells him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. In other words, put your wealth to some good. He does not tell the poor to give up what little they have.

In Revelations, the people are removing their crowns.

One of the essays in Dark Mountain 4 describes a society in which status is determined not by the wealth you have accumulated but by the gifts you distribute.

A criticism levelled at the Occupy movement, and a decade before at the Anti-Globalisation moment, was that you are showing what is wrong, but you have no solutions. Those critics, usually those with a vested interest in maintaining the existing power structures, could not be more wrong. Had they attended Occupy St Paul’s, they would have found many many ideas and solutions being discussed, the same in Tahrir Square when Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power. What they will not find is one solution, the solution, yet another failed -ism.

Look at a tropical rainforest or an old growth forest and then compare it with a degraded ecosystem. In the first you will find many species each occupying its particular niche, each contributing to the web of life, each maintaining the whole, which creates the right living conditions for all. A degraded ecosystem, a few species.

The world today, the man-made world, resembles the degraded ecosystem, a lack of diversity. We need to celebrate diversity, a multifaceted approach, a network approach, localism, create more resilient systems that can withstand sudden shocks.

Charles Eisenstein, in keeping with his idea of a Gift Economy, gift to others with no expectation of return, you can purchase Sacred Economics from a bookshop (if you can find), download as an e-book (pay what you wish), or download for free.

Bandcamp in part, operates in this way. You can listen as often as you wish, you are encouraged to share, sometimes download for free or pay a low minimum price, pay what you wish. And surprisingly it works, people are willing to pay, and if they share, more people discover the music. A complete contrast to the greedy Big Record Labels, who rip off everyone and criminalise those who dare to share.

Steph Bradley spent six moons walking around the country, sharing and collecting tales of what is possible, what people are trying, and collecting together in Tales of Our Times.

Serendipity: And thanks to Steph Bradley for sharing Sacred Economics in Following Dreams.

Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth.

Top Story in A Special Gift Daily (Sunday 16 March 2014).

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