Q. Why A New Economy?
A. People talk about "the economy"
as if the current system is a natural law of some sort. Very few feel the need of further
investigation into its origins, structure and dynamism.
Q. Starting with the origins?
A. Indeed, it started somewhere. Conclusion:
it wasn't there from the beginning.
Q. It is not a system given by
A. Right. Ironically, it started when people
became alienated from "God", their Divine Spark within. The Church
suppressed all attempts to establish a direct contact with the inner Divinity. Those who
did were persecuted and brought to the stake. This terror lasted many centuries. At last,
not being able to return to the Source, people were forced to fall back on their ego.
Q. The Church itself being the cause of
A. Absolutely. Religion has destroyed
people's inherent spirituality. The former thus being directly responsible for materialism
as it has developed in the West. All attempts of the Church to suggest the opposite are
Q. About which period of time are you
A. In the Middle Ages people were
God-oriented. Originally, there was the idea of a "macrocosm reflecting
microcosm". Hence, a hierarchical structure of clergy, aristocrats and farmers. They
were all committed to each other by ties of loyalty. Commerce and profit on the other hand
were considered contemptuous.
Q. The world upside down.
A. The contemporary one, yes. What you see
today is, that the lowest instincts rule the world. A re-orientation toward other social
models is a case of utmost priority.
Q. Back to the Middle Ages?
A. It depends how you define the current
crisis. If you think it is "economic", then "economists" will be
highest in the hierarchy. If you think the crisis is a spiritual one, then indeed
spiritual leaders should be on top of the pyramid.
Q. Needless to say, that you cherish the
A. "Having is the inability to Be".
It is the foundation of capitalism. It started in 15th century Northern Italy as a
over-compensation for the loss of spiritual life. If you lack true fulfillment, you start
searching for a substitute. Hence, consumerism is an ersatz-behaviour. Lacking spiritual
Realization having became an addiction. However, accumulating never can satisfy your
Q. Please, continue.
A. The irony is, that later again religion
was the cause of a new phase in the further development of capitalism. It was
Protestantism and especially Calvinism, which justified it, saying that accumulating
wealth and serving God was one and the same thing. That's why Calvinist countries are the
most "succesful" in the world.
Q. You probably won't agree, that capitalism
and God can be reconciled.
A. That's right. Actually, they are excluding
each other. As you know the Ultimate is a Vacuum, a Cosmic Womb ("The Great
Mother"), from Which everything originates, while constantly returning. This is
called the "Law of the Universe". The most fundamental insight is, that the
universe is ruled by a cosmic balance between "death, rebirth and permanence
("web of life")". Society should reflect this basic law.
Q. Which obviously isn't the case at all.
A. Profit, accumulation and enrichment at the
expense of others - people, aimals, plants, oceans, the atmosphere - is an offense against
cosmic balance. Hence, capitalism and the Divine are incompatible.
Q. So truly spiritual people are
A. Deeper insight into the dialectics of
spirituality on the one hand and materialism on the other is needed. As stated above,
absence of the former has created the latter. We all bear a responsibility in this regard.
It consists in adopting a truly spiritual life, of such a quality that the addiction to
accumulation will automatically be dropped.
Q. What with regard to society?
A. We have to understand the dynamism of our
time. Through extreme accumulation the Cosmic Law has been violated. The balance between
"death and rebirth" has been disturbed. Emptiness - the Cosmic Womb - doesn't
tolerate the too much. Hence it ("She") started to break down our
ego-achievements. It is the cause of the fact, that our society is in decay.
Q. With what consequences?
A. It depends on your insight. People without
understanding will consider this as a disaster; the one's who are awakened see the
dynamics behind. They understand that what is broken down, actually are our addictions. To
them, the pain is part of their withdrawal symptoms. Despite the difficulties they may
encounter, they will welcome it. Destruction of the ego and going back to the Source are
two parts of the same coin, after all.
Q. How could the system be changed?
A. The economy of growth is incompatible with
the Law of the Universe. It has to be replaced by an economy of balance. Now, generally -
because of the dominant position of the former - all attempts to change the system circle
around economics. However, as we have seen, the core of the problem isn't economic. Hence,
I don't take the system, but the people as the starting point.
A. Allow me another small excursion. Through
ruthlessly promoting egoism, materialism and individualism capitalism deliberately
destroys the community as well. Splitting society up in singles enlarges the "inner
market", after all. It is another offense against the Law of the Universe, namely
destroying Mother's web of life, the interdependency of all beings, things and events.
Q. Please, elaborate.
A. What is characterizing the situation is
this. Last year, the top bankers of Holland had an emergency meeting about the acute
"disintegration of the community". If bankers come together out of concern about
the community......, then really something serious is going on. On the other hand, this is
totally hypocritical, since it is them who with one hand want to restore what the other
hand is destroying. No doubt, action is needed.
Q. What are you thinking about?
A. Leaders nowadays talk about unemployment
and migration as the biggest security risks of our time. In their one-dimensional thinking
this can only be solved by the private sector. They are "confident" that the
latter is the way to create new jobs. What they do forget is, that indeed the selfsame
private sector is the cause of structural job losses world wide. The current economy isn't
the solution, but the cause of the problem.
Q. If that is the case, a totally new
perspective has to be created.
A. As always the community is excluded from
the discussion. Those in power are afraid of the people. Their positions can only be
maintained if the community is being ignored. (Big) companies, as everyone knows, operate
as alien bodies in society. Their only concern is profit. Through which the
"rest" of the world is being further empoverished. Jobs should originate
through the social interaction of the people themselves, though. Their surplus value is
not only "spending power", that flows back to the companies, but something that
should benefit the community. Moreover, the issues are work satisfaction, self-esteem and
creativity. Actually, it is about the kind of society that we want.
Q. What is your proposal?
A. We have to "kill two birds with one
stone". On the one hand further progress of capitalism has to be stopped, while
at the same time healing the community. In practice, this could be done as follows. In the
New Economy there are three basic principles. The first is, that people commit themselves
to work for half a day every day (five times a week) as a voluteer for the community. In
exchange for his/her contribution everyone without exception will receive a basic income.
Q. How high this will be?
A. Enough for the basic needs: housing,
energy, eating and drinking , health care, education and transport.
Q. That won't be easy!
A. Above mentioned area's have to be
withdrawn from the private sector. So that the Self-sovereign Community democracy* can
gear basic income and basic costs to one another. In practice this means, that the costs
of basic support will go down considerably.
* See: "Transformation
Manifesto for the 21st Century".
A. The other half of the day can be freely
spent. It is up to every individual's free choice. One would indeed try to make as much
money as he/she can, the other prefers to enjoy leisure, while a third is devoting
him/herself to creative arts, travel, spirituality, gardening etc. etc. The overall result
is, that a new balance of life will be established, both in individual as well in social
life. This will be so fulfilling, that very soon nobody will long for the "rat
Q. Indeed, a triumph of simplicity. But won't
people miss their level of consumption?
A. The quality of life is more fulfilling
than the quantity. The point is, that nobody ever had a chance of experiencing it. From
the moment on, that you will be able to compare, most people will have no difficulty in
making the right decision. The current stress, burn-out, depression, fear and anger are
signs of the fact, that the entire society has come to its limits already.
Q. So, there is still hope?
A. You have to also take into consideration,
that in order to save the world ecological limits will force us to bring down our
production and spending level to 20% of the current situation. So, we have to go down
anyway. That makes my proposal extremely realistic.
Q. Could the system adapt to that?
A. We are not an extension of the system; the
system is an extension of us. First we have to decide how we want to live, while
subsequently adapting the system according to it. With regard to other aspects of the New
Economy, like subsidiarity, decentralization and regionalism, I refer to the "Transformation Manifesto for the 21st Century".
Q. Thanks very much for this interview.
A. Become a supporter of the New Economy!
Q. You bet!
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