Why can't we fix what we know is wrong?
The gap between rich and poor widens - today a billion people starve - in 1800 there were only a billion people on Earth. Starvation increases. No amount of rock concerts has made a difference. On the other side, the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands continues but there is no idea other than complaining about what to do.
The wave of the boom/bust continues. If we recover soon from this blow, when will the next one come and how bad will that be? Also how can the solution be to get credit going again so that we can start buying more stuff from China and lay off more workers at home?
Where does the idea of limitless growth go in a planet that has real boundaries?
Key natural resources get scarcer - fish, wood, water! No one has any confidence that we can halt this degradation. What will happen we we run out? Worse, no one is thinking about the reality of Peak Oil. The very underpinning of our world today is easy to get cheap oil. Why can't we even get ready for this?
Is our economy unsustainable by design? it sure looks that way.
Who will make the changes that we all need? Corruption and cynicism at the elite level seems to be the new normal. Few if any who run institutions seem to care about the real mission - they seem to care only about themselves.
But simply explaining this as greed does not help.
Simply complaining does not help. While all of this has been going on for decades, people have pushed back. But all this push back has failed. Why? Why is there no progress? Why would only trying harder get us a result?
What are we missing?
The issue is Context. If we all live in the Matrix, we cannot do anything because we use assumptions that take for granted our dysfunction.
To solve our contextual problem you have to take the Red Pill. You have to step out of the prevailing context and see our reality for what it is. Then you can work to shift the context.
At the centre of any human reality is our contextual relationship with money. Money is it self only an artifact. It is the reflection of our prevailing values. As such it is also a lever to change values.
Jordan McLeod has written a book that may become one of the most important books of our time. In it he defines the root cause of our problems and offers a robust solution. Align money and our culture to nature's rules.
The Book is called "New Currency - How Money Changes the world as we know it" - it will be available this week - Here is the Amazon Page.
The book is a tour de force. It is short, highly readable and deep - I would not dare to summarize it except to offer the key points.
Core to his analysis of the problem is Context.
Jordan's perspective is that we are an adolescent society. It's all about me. It is Narcissistic.
The narcissist is described as turning inward for gratification rather than depending on others, and as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness. It is also colloquially referred to as "the god complex". (Wikipedia)
So our money is no longer a means of exchange but has become an eternal force - the only store of wealth that does not have a life. Of course all people and all things have a life - none of our resources are boundless or eternal.
The result is that we have indeed made money itself our eternal god. This means that we have a mismatch between our view of reality and money and the reality of how nature works.
That is why we fish until the last fish. That is why our financial system pursues money as THE end at the expense of people's real needs.
Only when money itself has a life and is subject to time, can there be a balance and money can return to being a means of exchange and not the end.
So long as we all give money this meaning, then there can be no improvement. That is why all attempts to solve our problems that work within this mindset of Narcissism have to make the situation worse.
The idea of money has to change. The meaning of money has to be changed. So how do you give money a real life?
Jordan goes back in time to see the root of the problem. Interest.
With interest money can and does grow exponentially. Nothing in nature can do that indefinitely.
Exponential growth in the natural world is typified by cancer. In nature, other forces fit the parts into a healthy relationship with each other.
All our ancient traditions warn against interest. In their wisdom they knew that the best investments were made in things that would themselves grow to benefit the community. That money was best used only as a means of exchange. To work best money must not be hoarded but circulate fast.
In the 1930's when national currencies lost their trust and value, many communities started their own. The most successful example was in the town of Worgl where the economy boomed when the local currency was designed to lose value over time.
Keynes at Bretton Woods hoped for such a global system but a triumphant US blocked this.
The point is that real wealth is not a store of money - but a healthy watershed, a healthy people, a system where the parts support each other.
I cannot in this short review come anywhere close to the power and sheer elegance of Jordan's argument. (This is a link to a short article in Kosmos where he ofers a precis)
Today, as members of the G20 and architects of the global Bretton Woods II convene to consider new financial instruments for building the 21st century economy, a circulation charge should be at the top of their list. A validation fee of this sort addresses the essential design flaws of the current economy that make it utterly impossible to reconcile finance with environmental sustainability and the alleviation of poverty. These flaws include compulsive exponential economic growth in a world of finite resources, the myopic discounting of the future and a regressive redistribution of wealth into the hands of the world’s wealthiest via the interest on money.
A circulation charge effectively goes to the root of these problems by changing the qualitative nature of how we hold money. It inherently shifts financial thinking towards longer time frames. It creates a natural incentive to lend money without the need for interest, which would mitigate compulsive exponential growth, lessen the costs associated with borrowing and investment and reduce social disparities. It is precisely by shifting these central financial dynamics that markets can naturally begin reversing the inequalities between the rich and poor, facilitate investments in alternative energy infrastructure and create a more resilient financial system.
The implementation of a circulation charge in the global financial system will require profound, unprecedented cooperation between nations. Much like any other global instrument, it will rely on widespread adoption and integration to take hold and succeed. It is for this reason that the G20, as a relatively broad and diverse group of nations, is an excellent starting point for considering this tool. In addition to serving as a catalyst for restoring lending and confidence in markets, it would simultaneously enable a pragmatic shift within the financial system towards achieving the 21st century objectives of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty.
A circulation charge could be integrated into the financial system through its simultaneous adoption by several nations for their currencies. The tool itself, however, is more naturally predisposed to function as an integral part of a global currency. In fact, it could enable the realization of a global currency by transcending the present weaknesses in monetary policy that arise out of current national fiat currencies and policies. These limitations characteristic of today’s national economies include exponential growth, interest rates, hoarding and inflation. The diverse economic conditions of nation-states within the current economic paradigm mean that national monetary policies are often divergent and frequently irreconcilable. It is therefore only when a global currency is realized that the problems inherent to national currencies are likely to be resolved.
I urge you to read him yourself.
But in closing I offer one Rob idea. How to make this a new reality?
There are maybe 50 million cultural creatives in America today.
(source Values Technology - Dr Brian Hall)
They are people whose values are in Phase III - there is a critical mass of people enough to tip the system - but they are unconnected and have no power.
Jordan reminds us that there is an evolution of human culture just as as we get older as individuals, our world view changes. A 2 year old lives in a very different reality from an 8 year old. This is a map of how we develop. Of course you can see that societies evolve as well.
We live today at possibly the biggest break in values possible. In Phases I and II, the child/teen years, we are attached to the directly seen and experienced. In Phase III, we progress to the phase of meaning and connection.
This shift is not a linear progression. It demands that the Boy die. The adult lives for us. The Boy for Me. This shift is not made with grace and ease. This is why the "Boys" are hanging on so hard.
A catalyst may be the inevitable collapse of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency? The God of the Boys will die. But when this happens, there has to be new thinking and a new mindset or we will simply try to do the old again.
We have to grow up. We have to make the move to "Us"
So how do we put Jordan's idea into action? We change the social process. How do we do that? We change the story? How do we do that? Here is the link.
“MacLeod is offering a whole new paradigm that will bring light into the dark corners of how we exchange values on our precious planet and evolve an organic currency equal to the task.”
- Dr. Marilyn Hamilton, Author of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive
Jordan Bruce MacLeod is a writer, consultant and strategist specializing in the evolution of economic systems and consciousness. He is the author of New Currency: How Money Changes the World As We Know It (Integral Publishers 2009) and co-founder of Elevator Software, a start-up company developing advanced digital security and transmission processes. In 2003, Jordan launched the New Currency Institute to function as a vehicle for raising awareness of money’s power to change the world and support the emergence of a resilient and creative global society.
Jordan has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Economics in Prague, advised clients ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations on brand building and is currently co-founding a holistic consultancy based in London and Dubai. Jordan is a past co-chair and alumnus of the young think tank of the Club of Rome.