As we last reported, at the latest meeting of the Economics of Compassion Initiative, those interested in this endeavor got the opportunity to join one or more of the working groups as a way forward in implementing the initiative. Anyone in the community too – particularly those who are convinced that the present economic system is no longer viable - is encouraged to participate.
One of those working groups is the ECI Book & Video Discussion Group.
In its first meeting the group stated its vision as follows: “The immediate goal is to educate ourselves on issues and efforts related to creating an economy that puts people before profits…” Obviously the long-term goal is to share the vision of the Economics of Compassion and to educate the community.
To get started, the members of the group discussed Prof. Gar Aperovitz’s latest book, “What Then Must We Do?” There were a number of points made and questions raised. For example, how do we navigate an economy that is community-centered and avoid the automatic demonizing of socialism that is ingrained in the present economic mindset? Another example: Competition and quality leads to overproduction and waste. A good illustration – one of many, actually – is Proctor & Gamble’s list of toothpaste products (some said as many as 70 different kinds!).
There is also the belief in a growing economy, which is our present mindset. The question is: Does growth supersede sustainability? Can we strive for the latter rather than the former?
The end result, or the vision for the future came up often in the discussion. What do we want to see replace our current economy? The answer to that question is, of course, that we don’t know. We remind ourselves that using Pharaoh’s economy as an example, we are now at the point where the people are crying out. They are saying, “we cannot take it anymore!”.
So, what is the alternative? Something different, we don’t know what it is, but this is precisely the essence of the Economics of Compassion Initiative: to be creative and design for ourselves something that works for us, the community. We are choosing to disengage from the current system which is oppressive – just like Pharaoh’s system – in search of an alternative.
The ECI Book & Video Group will meet twice a month and we will bring you the latest developments.