Sunday, September 30, 2007

Building an Economy of Heart*

It’s been some time since I’ve spoken with you, readers. As I’ve mentioned in my blog, I have been, for a while, in a period of re-orientation—one that has refined and adjusted my lens of perspective so that I am now coming into a different focus and have begun to speak in a new way. Where I began my writings to you in 2003 through means of metaphor and rhyme, and continued my message in 2006-7 through the engagement of cultural myth and metaphysics (feeling that introspection and reflection upon my experience of life so far may be of value to others), now I find myself at a point in the process of self and soul expression where words of power and action are necessary.

For some time now I have pursued a spiritual perspective in understanding and coping with the happenings of our time. I have trusted in the dogma of the new thought alliance which has attempted to make a marriage between science and spirituality through developing a “unified theory of everything” that reassured us that, through attention, intention, desire, and prayer, we could change the world—a world we couldn’t change by our political action in the 60’s-70’s. And if we could not effect change by the former or the latter, we could, at least, hold ourselves in a frequency of peace and effect the same in our outer world (in the way of alchemy). We expected, in this paradigm, that the outer appearance of strife would worsen as the old ways, though weary and worn, were clung to by those who ruled under their sanction of power. Clearly, the ruling powers, both political and economic, would fight hard to prevent our seeds of consciousness from sprouting into a full blown vision of shared power and partnership in a caring economy.

And true to our understanding of the process, this war in the consciousness of humankind, has created war, chaos, and destruction in its physical expression. Many of “our kind” still maintain that holding the “OM” will get us through the fluctuating vibratory themes in the chaos of consciousness—warring beliefs, truths, philosophies, economic theories and ideologies—to the promised land on the other side of the storm. But, my friends, there does come a time when we can no longer remain in the blessing of the blueprint—we must act to manifest that which we desire from the ethers of inspired vision. We must sound the gong and initiate the call to action to fulfill the dream we so desire. And fulfilling the dream requires that we, together, formulate a clear and detailed plan of action.

Yesterday, I was reading an article (“Making a More Perfect Constitution”) by a professor, the director of U. Va.'s Center for Politics, Larry J. Sabato, who has spent the last ten years developing his dream of Constitutional reform and is publishing a book explaining his reasoning and his proposals. He indicated that such a process of reform (as is currently outlined in our Constitution) would likely be a ten year process. I commented that if we were to apply our energies to a ten year process of reform, it would better serve us to focus upon curbing the current abuses and excesses of corporate power, the henchmen of which are taking egregious liberties with our common good. Corporate interests have, over the last thirty years willfully and strategically infiltrated our government, our economy, our environment, our healthcare, and now are directing our military in an unlimited war with the Middle East for control of the supply and price of oil while we have been asleep at the wheel! (Or while reassuring ourselves meditating on the great OM!)

In my comment, I wondered why some of the progressive think-tanks such as the Rockridge Institute (who have been instrumental in developing a new narrative frame for progressive political thinking which successfully counters the neo-conservative rhetoric holding our public and its policy captive) haven’t been brainstorming about how to implement a new vision of economy, a more caring economy, that would act to preserve the common wealth of we the people, of our communities, both locally and globally. As you know, readers, I have been using the cycles and phases of the moon to guide my active imagination and my work of intention and manifestation, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, that no sooner had I announced my desire for a comprehensive plan of action, that in the fullness of the moon, I was given its unfolding in a clear and tangible form.

In my very next session of internet wanderings, I came upon “Yes” Magazine’s fall issue
which carries the theme: “Stand Up to Corporate Power”, and includes a diversity of articles which speak according to a frame of reference being developed by a think-tank and social change group known as the Strategic Corporate Initiative (SCI). This initiative is an organically formed group, one which has naturally come together after spending the last twenty years individually involved in developing strategies and campaigns for protecting the common wealth and good from assault by unethical and opportunistic power groups. See information about this group and its formation in the box below.

Over the past two decades, each member of SCI has been involved in often-successful campaigns to curtail excessive corporate power, from rainforest protection to social investing. We have worked on campaigns to abolish toxic chemicals, defend labor rights, advance corporate ethics, and block international trade agreements.
While we have helped make large corporations more responsible, we’ve failed to make them less powerful. We’ve come to realize that without unified action, we may win battles, but we will lose the war.
The Strategic Corporate Initiative is our attempt to ignite a critical discussion on the path forward. We believe that, if united, the scattered movements already creating change can be the catalytic force to create a humane, sustainable, democratic society and economy.
The Strategic Corporate Initiative (SCI) steering committee is made up of the authors of this issue's lead article,
Who Will Rule?, Michael Marx, director of Corporate Ethics International (CEI) in Portland, Oregon and Marjorie Kelly, author of The Divine Right of Capital, with the Tellus Institute in Boston; along with John Cavanagh, Chuck Collins, and Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC; Charlie Cray of the Center for Corporate Policy in Washington, DC; and Mari Margil, formerly with CEI and now with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The SCI group put their heads together, integrated the wisdom of their diverse, yet common experience as agents of change, and developed a highly organized, intensive plan suggesting strategies that would change the very nature of the [corporate powered] market system, making it less destructive of the common wealth. These strategies, they say, would enhance the "countervailing powers" (those of the citizenry) to restore democracy. A central theme of their vision is the care and repair of livable communities, communities of people who have regained control over their futures. Communities are the front lines in the battle for bringing power back under the control of the people, for “bringing corporations back under citizen control”. Communities, they say, are where the movement begins, and I agree! See what you think of their plan. (By the way, it is quite readable—it is organized into three sections: an outline overview, then a short summary outline, and finally, a detailed proposal following the original outline that is quite lengthy--"126 pages of sanity", said one commenter of my posting on the Daily Kos!)

The section dedicated to community care and repair through building economic relationships and empowering people with choice is the part of the larger plan that is of central interest to me. This is the section that touches into the territory of my thoughts about local community economies and forms of exchange that are a complement and an aid to the larger system. I will be writing more to you on this topic as the thoughts form coherence.

*See article by David Korten

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