Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That Other World Wide Web

Economist David Korten commented, six years ago, that the language of economic dysfunction has become so common that when he uses the term “the global suicide economy” in his talks, he doesn’t need to spend much time explaining what he means. For as he says “Most people are now aware that rule by global corporations and financial speculators engaged in the single-minded pursuit of money is destroying communities, cultures, and natural systems everywhere on the planet. Until recently, however, most people responded with polite but resigned skepticism to my message that economic transformation is possible.”

But that is changing. We are starting to wake up to the fact that economic transformation is possible. All it needs is for enough people to believe that it is possible. And to take a step further by acting on that belief. To put Main Street before Wall Street.

Because the way to deal with the global suicide economy is not to try to destroy it – it is so powerful that not even governments can do that. (In fact, they are up to their necks in it). The way to deal with it is to starve it out. Replace it with something healthy. And we can do that. The means to do it are right here, in everybody’s hands, in everybody’s purses, and we can work on it right now, today, every one of us.

All over the globe, there already exists a spider’s web of local enterprises. Farmers’ markets, small businesses, local co-operatives, local tradespeople, village stores, artisans, craftspeople, artists, CSAs (community supported farms), roadside fruit stands … Local economies have been in decline for a long time – probably since the Industrial Revolution – but they are coming back. There is evidence of it everywhere you look, nowadays. I find this really exciting. Another world really is possible.

No matter where we live, every need we have can theoretically be supplied without a penny of our money going directly into the hands of multi-national corporations. Sure, some might find its way there indirectly. (Our local dressmaker may have bought her thread from Wal-Mart). But that’s OK. We can't accomplish everything at once. What we are speaking of here is just the first step. Think local. Buy local. Support local. Even if it costs more money. (It only costs more money because the global suicide economy hides the true cost of its products, i.e. the cost to the planet). Anyway, it will only cost more money in the short-term. Eventually, it will be cheaper. And even if, right now, it costs a bit more money, is it not worth it, for the Earth’s sake? For the sake of all life?

If you live in an area where there simply are no local alternatives whatsoever to the global suicide economy, well at least you can avoid supporting the worst offenders. Click here for a list of companies NOT to buy from – and why. (Some of the entries may surprise you).

But if you can, even if only in part, try to buy local. The more we support Main Street instead of Wall Street, the thicker and sturdier that web of local enterprise becomes. And the stronger it gets, the faster the global suicide economy will wither. The wealth that right now flows into the pockets of greedy CEOs needs to be redirected into the pockets of the people who truly deserve it – the people in our own localities who are working to supply the needs of their communities.

True wealth, David Korten points out, is “… a sense of belonging, contribution, beauty, joy, relationship, and spiritual connection. … a world of locally rooted living economies that meet the material needs of all people everywhere, while providing meaning, building community, and connecting us to a place on the Earth.”

That’s the world author Arudhati Roy was referring to when she said: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One for the Jungians

Like millions of other people I wept with joy and relief last night too. And I'm not even American. I had to stay up till 4 am GMT in order to watch history get made.
I also laughed, early this morning. Because I suddenly remembered something the Jungian analyst Robert Johnson once said about the importance of honouring the Shadow.

Johnson pointed out that we can often prevent the Shadow’s tendency to mess up our lives and plans and projects if we can ‘get in first’ and find creative, symbolic ways of honouring it. Kind of like bringing offerings to a tricky god.
And I had a funny vision. I thought how splendidly auspicious it would be if the new puppy were to wee right in the middle of the carpet in the oval office on the very first day.
What do you think of that idea, you Jungians out there? Taking on the Presidency in these troubled times is going to be one helluva challenge. Do you think a propitiation like that might be good insurance? If so, I'm sure it could be arranged.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

On Being - and Not Being - a Gypsy

I spent most of October travelling.

I don’t usually blog when I’m travelling. For me, the time to talk about my travels is after I return. Travel is like breathing-in; writing is like breathing-out. I find it impossible to do both at the same time.

And even when I do talk about the places I have been, the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, I usually don’t do it all at once. All I write, at first, is a brief account of the trip. Like the one I just wrote about this October trip (which you are welcome to read if you are interested; you'll find it here). The rest – the impressions, the feelings, the sights and sounds and smells of my journeying – gets put away for future use as needed. Like herbs hung to dry. So I guess I am not cut out to be a travel writer.

But I would make a hopeless travel writer anyway. I am always too busy having fun and taking pictures to go around collecting the sort of important, factual information that travel magazines need for their sidebars.

Right now, I am feeling unsettled. I always feel unsettled, for a while after I come back from a trip. Getting me away from my home needs an emotional tyre lever. But then getting me settled back into home again needs a tyre lever also. Crazy, isn’t it? I think being a Cancerian with wanderlust is probably quite a difficult sort of person to be. Two opposing forces facing each other like football teams on the field of my poor old psyche!

Neither side can ever win, of course. The answer to such inner dilemmas, as we all know, is always fully to accept and honour all the disparate and sometimes conflicting parts of who we are.

OK, I’m trying, I’m trying…….!