Paul Mason at the New Statesmen recently articulated an interesting vision for post-capitalist society:
a transitional form of capitalism towards a low-work, zero carbon and high well-being economic model.
This is one of the most detailed proposals for evolving the “Lower Right quadrant” that I’ve seen yet, and it’s encouraging to see. While I don’t have the technical expertise to assess its particulars, I can say that at least it’s an economic model worth studying and talking about, for sure. Nothing could be more important to the evolution of our social systems than managing the transition of late capitalism into something else that is sustainable and better for the planet and human well-being in all dimensions, and Mason is energizing the conversation.
Regrettably, since the model would call for steeply higher taxes in order to finance measures to increase the financial security of workers (guaranteed homes, free education, discounted public transportation systems, etc.), he does not deal with the question of how to win the support of the public and powerful cultural and social institutions in order to effectuate the changes that he seeks. It’s not a flaw not to include every quadrant in every analysis, of course, but it is valuable to notice what is missing.
Mason bases his view on the concept of neoliberalism as a system rather than an ideology. Why does it have to be one or the other? Hanzi Freinacht writes a note on this point:
As you may have guessed, I view neoliberalism as both a system and an ideology. These can be viewed separately or together, but they should not be confounded with one another. Both exist, and neither is reducible to the other. I have friends who describe as libertarians and more or less exactly subscribe to neoliberalism, and I concede that such thoughts have come to dominate public policy.
Hanzi also offers an alternative to the usual left-wing view that neoliberalism is the root of all our problems. Rather than a cause, he implies, it is a symptom a deeper problem: that the next stage of evolution into “transnational governance” has not yet been birthed. He writes:
I believe the first mover is the changing properties of the global non-random network (a term from network theorist Barabasi). Basically, once the world markets have integrated past a certain point and centralized around certain hubs, the nation states can only do so much with Keynesian policies: if the whole world system is shocked and the waves propagate more or less instantaneously, and too many economies respond with Keynesian measures, the whole system gets an epileptic seizure, as it were….
So to me, fundamentally, neoliberalism is not a root cause; rather it is a surface phenomenon, the root cause being lack of transnational governance under changed global network properties.
Read Freinacht’s note at his Facebook profile.
As I discussed in my recent article on Marxism as well as my look at Charles Eisenstein’s sacred economics, much work remains to be done in forging a truly Integral Economics. I support the goal of including the best elements of socialist/left-wing theories with the best elements of liberal economic theories and whatever else works from Dostoevsky to depth psychology. I don’t know what it will look like, but low-work, zero-carbon, and high well-being sound like an attractive possibility to imagine.
Many integralists and evolutionaries and other varieties of whole systems thinkers have been brainstorming possibilities. Recently the long-term effects of economic policy on culture as seen through the whole-systems prism of value-systems was one of the topics under discussion at The Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future in Grapevine, Texas. Said Elias Dawlabani reports:
The Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future has delivered as promised and I am beyond being thrilled with the outcome. We heard from so many different voices serving the different and diverse facets of this thing we call human emergence. There were many fresh perspectives on how we can bring together a divided humanity and the challenges we face in doing so.
What was initially planned as a dinner banquet to honor Dr. Don Beck, the mastermind behind Spiral Dynamics and the Gravesian legacy, quickly became an event that set a new standard for the future of our gatherings. This was evidence by the size of the crowd, and the high percentage of attendees who were pure Gravesians. The outcome of this Summit confirmed my belief that it is the merits of the Graves-SD framework that has long been silenced and placed in the shadows that must now be nourished and made visible again.
Some of the presentation might have made some people uncomfortable. This is when we know that our approach is working. It has served its purpose in exposing the audience to the spectrum of consciousness that is decentralized to each and every one of us. It is the diversity in Second Tier not the conformity that will save human kind. The challenge is how to preserve the different voices and find that ever illusive new Super-ordinate Goal in the Age of Disruption. It is gatherings just like this. A platform for many to be heard. It is those different roads coming together that were at the core of this critical conversation about the future.
During those 3 days in Grapevine, Texas, the presence of CAPI, the Coalescence of Authority, Power and Influence to affect global change was more powerful with less than 100 people than gatherings 10 times the size. We were all moved by our different voices and our common commitment to serve and to make the world a more conscious place.
What is MEMEnomics all about? It’s on my reading list for the summer, so I won’t try to describe it for you in my own words. But here’s what the website says:
One new paradigm for human and cultural emergence is beautifully detailed in this book. Memenomics makes the case for how artificially imposed systems in economics become closed and toxic. By using processes that were pioneered through five decade of research and global applications Said repeatedly makes the case for why the future of economics must consider a values-systems approach if the field should emerge into a whole-systems form of leadership in the future. Through technologies such as Natural Design and life cycles of values systems, Said pioneers a fresh reframing of economic history that uncovers the blockages of trickle-down approaches of the past. He then offers remedies that set a new standard for sustainable practices, ones that are based on functional platforms designed to address the needs of people and cultures at their particular level of economic emergence. This book is a brilliant primer on the application of the values-systems theory to economics. It is a field guide for anyone looking to establish a cultural values-systems understanding not only to economics but also to the applications of the theory of Spiral Dynamics and the seminal work of Clare W. Graves. It represents the evolution of the Gravesian model into a field that rarely considers the different needs and motivations of the different stages of human and societal development.
For more information about MEMEnomics, see “What is MEMEnomics?”.