An era of cynics

21 02 2009

Watching the world,

Observing our home,

I stand here among those who seek guindace.

An era of violence has numbed our senses

We no longer view life with the youthful enrgy of hope,

At every corner of my path I am cautioned by skeptics and cynics

for whom the glass  is only empty.

I wonder where the light is, I wonder when the day would come

to be the light itself and show the path of hope and renewed optimism to thers

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Exploring The Peaceful Face of Economics: Learning from Buddhist Economy

19 02 2009

“Mumbai 26th November 2008, the landmarks of the India’s financial capital was seized by 10 men.  The 10 Men had sworn to kill and destroy and I wondered why? This could not be religion, nor pure vengeance or schizophrenia; it was monetary compensation and reward. Not long ago did I visit a place called Bundelkhand in central India where people were dying of hunger and were ready to take the gun and plunder to fill their own stomach.”

According to Todaro and Smith (2005) military expenditure by developing countries have been rising very rapidly despite a world recession, declining growth in export earnings, and skyrocketing foreign debts. One wonders has the world not got enough of the anguish and pain of war and why is that even in times of peace the world economy spends most of its resources on preparing for war by investing in arms and ammunition in trillions of dollars. Why is it that while majority of the people dying of hunger and many more   getting deprived of a basic education, the G8 (the worlds most economically advanced nations) and the BRIC (the four emerging economic powerhouses, Brazil, Russia, India, China) feel ashamed in putting 2-3% of their GDP’s on human resource development, and arrogantly invest in toys which destroy human lives. What is driving this madness? Is it profitability of the defence sector which is able to see profit in making warheads’ for destroying peoples lives, or is it fear and insecurity which exists even today after so many years of globalisation and claiming that planet earth is a homogenous and harmonious planet? What are the principals of economics guiding the world?

The enormous weapons industry, with companies like Halliburton, and several others around the world spending billions of dollars in the arms trade which is then used to induce civil dispute in poor countries rich with natural resources, is not a malady of recent times alone. Whether it is the Latin American countries, Sub Sahara Africa or the middle East, the economic hitmen of the West have either bought the government to take control over their natural resources and all contracts being warded to the American companies for the extraction of the natural resource, or achieving a military coup in the last instance going for the war. Earlier the state used to do this in the name of imperialism and colonize countries and today the market governed by large corporations replaces the state to do the same. Thus economics guided by Keynes philosophy needs to be re-examined as it states “We must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.” Such thinking has led to spending millions of dollars on advertising to sell a rich lifestyle idea to the common masses, increase in demand and increase in profits.  What has been the result after over a century of capitalistic influence on world economy; there is greater inequality in the world at present than in 2005 and we are facing the biggest environment challenge in the history of human civilization.

In the past Karl Marx spoke about capitalism as a system which sees value in scarcity, and due to certain inherent class structures these resources remain to be enjoyed by few.  (…on the other hand if there ownership in few hands, the resources would last longer as there is less wasteful competition). Today the world around us remains enormous, diverse and beautiful, yet very few are privileged to experience and appreciate the complexity of life and the universe. Most of us get caught in the dizzy urban lifestyle, striving to defeat our very own peers to make a living. Our lives have been ruled by Cokes mantra ‘Life mange more’, as more will lead us to greater happiness. Coke is the same company which has exploited our natural resources and polluted our water for it to enjoy more profits.

Most ancient philosophies and books like the Vedas, Kabbalah, Koran, Bible and many such profound scientist like Da Vinci, Aryabhatt, Pythagoras  have studied some of the physical laws of the universe and the beautiful creation around and tried to draw our attention to the fact the there is an entire  science to harmony and peace.  These laws of life in the context of economics have also been explained in one of the first political economy books written by Kautalya, where emphasis was placed on decentralization and development of local economy, these concepts have been revived by thinkers like Gandhi and Schumacher. Gandhi tries to explain the violent nature of Britain’s economy which needed to feed the growth of its industrialisation with the resources of most of the world.

“Thus the reign of quantity celebrates its greatest triumphs in ‘The Market’. Everything is equated with everything else. To equate things means to give them a price and thus to make them exchangeable. To the extent that economic thinking is based on the market, it takes the sacredness out of life, because there can be nothing sacred in something that has a price. Not surprisingly, therefore, if economic thinking pervades the whole of society. Even simple non-economic values like beauty, health, or cleanliness can survive only if they prove to be ‘economic’.”

E. Schumacher

Small is Beautiful

Some of us have accepted this as reality and life within this system as the only path, others might argue that this is immoral and corrupt and we need to have a tight leash on this, the third perspective would be of people who believe there are no fundamental truths or morals and therefore a free market should allow the people to make their own choices and decide their own reality.

A Buddhist vision for development could be of a dynamic reflective process to cultivate good thoughts and practice in social, cultural and political aspects of life. It should address the problem of greed associated with rising living standards and a consumer-oriented lifestyle, while addressing real poverty where it exists. In no way should we advocate (World Faith Development Dialogue, 2003) isolationism or a “return to the past”.  A number of parties and institutions would have to be involved, working on a variety of levels

Even Adam Smith while constructing his capitalist theory on people working for their own interest? Assumed they would follow the fundamental values of truth, honesty and respect for god’s creation before creating giant corporations. Capital in the complete sense of the word is to include social capital and ecological capital, and only now some firms have started to talk about triple bottom line, where along with profits they also want to add value to the society and the environment.

At the macro-level, a Buddhist approach to development would involve putting an end to the structural violence currently embedded in macro-economic structures, such as the international trade system.  A Buddhist approach would promote more “fair trade” and probably much less global trade in general.  The emphasis would be on producing and exchanging food locally. (World Faith Development Dialogue, 2003)

Need to look at alternative measures of development and growth, fundamentally looking at widening the concept of growth , will growth only be the growth in GDP, GNI, Perceptual income or other indicators like  education and employment as well. What are the subject and the verb of this sentence? Can you rephrase? Why do we need growth – (traditional economist would say it allows better utilsation and employment of resources, then GPD is sufficient). Is HDI, sufficient should be more mainstreamed, should the HDI be broadened to include other peace indicators as well. Your browser may not support display of this image.

There is injustice within the economic system which has resulted in violence.  The violence has a financial and monetary impact, along with societal trust and confidence. Thus the cause of terrorism can be seen as an economic externality. One of the reasons for this could be alienation of community due to lack of power to lobby for their rights in the given economic system. Sustaining peace is not just a political or idealist myth, but an economic goal with tangible benefits for the welfare of the people. Thus the policy makers need to view it in a more serious manner, the planning commission needs quantify funds for sustaining peace in the country; a peace fund should allocate funds for education, poverty, and health.  Measures must be taken to promote equality of religions and encourage spirituality to penetrate men’s everyday activities and decisions. There appear to be three most important things for sustaining peace :

  1. Peace Gainful employment:  high Unemployment in some countries like South Africa has led to big social unrest. People should be engaged in something creative and which is in harmony with their personality
  2. Peace Education: Needs to empower people to be open to diverse ideas and opinions and respect differences.
  3. Peace Finance: Close monitoring needs to be done of what the funds are being used for, there should be active lobbying against expenditure on weaponry and defense, more of the budget should be transferred to the peace fund.

    The time has come to give each of these measures due consideration and develop systems and frameworks which can translate these ideas into action





Money as Debt

16 01 2009

By Economicsfairy

One of the big big problems today – actually, THE root cause for the current worldwide trouble is the fractional reserve banking system which basically and on a very simple level means that banks can create money out of nothing (by granting credit just as they wish and demanding interest for it), thus fuelling every possible bubble on the planet as long as there are still enough greedy idiots who most willingly join this ponzi scheme game.

But because of the fact that there is always more money to be repaid than actually exists and because of the exponential interest rate function, the whole system is just NOT sustainable. Never. Not even if you introduce a “social market economy”. All that happens is that the super-rich bankers become richer and richer, and literally start to enslave the rest of the world at some point. Think about it. Carefully.

It’s mathematics. You can’t fight it.

Our system is totally fucked. It can’t go on like that for much longer. We will see it crash. And after that, we REALLY have to make sure that we never EVER rebuild it like it was. We need something new.

Have a look at the film here, it’s all very well explained, really no time waste:

http://www.videogold.de/money-as-debt-geld-als-schuld/

It’s in English, with German subtitles.

Makes me wonder why we haven’t been told this properly by our professors. Although I think I actually HAVE been told this, but I remember that the prof made it sound very sophisticated and brilliant and economist-like, a la “banks know what they are doing and it’s absolutely not in their interest to fuck up a country” … that kind of thing.

HAHAHA

Thank goodness, reality has finally stepped in and taught us the real thing.

Hopefully not too late.

Think about it.





The Venus Project

31 12 2008

By Economicsfairy

Dear all (Rishab would say: my dear favourite people in the universe 🙂

as time goes by, another year comes along, and I’ve hardly ever made up my thoughts about everything that happened this year!,  but still, I’ll be ready to make the most out of 2009  (I hope ;-).

Of course, this crisis will still be with us, I reckon for a few years at least. But we should really try and see it as a great opportunity to create a better way of living and working, producing and consuming, even though we all know that the odds are usually against that kind of dream.  

Anyway, to keep a long story short: Have you ever watched “zeitgeist addendum”??

www.zeitgeistmovie.com

I think it is even better than the first movie because everything in it can be proven, one can’t claim that it is “conspiracy rubbish”.  It’s all about how the IMF enslaves poorer countries in the name of “developing” them, about the global “corporatocracy” that really drives our corrupt politicians and their decisions – and what we can or could do in order to improve life on this planet.

I’m still not sure what I should think about the Venus Project, it might really be too utopian and therefore fail dramatically and, as usual, with bloodshed. But it sounds great!

So please have a look and tell me what you think. It’s described in the film.

Also, Rishab wants to introduce “Peace Economics” soon. I’m curious!

And I’ll contribute more about the way money is created and about the interest rate function soon, because this is something we have to change in the future. This is where most of the trouble comes from.

So, let’s hope for the best, folks – and see you soon here at spirinomics.wordpress.com.

Happy New Year 2009 🙂

Yours Economicsfairy





You’ll Be Surpised

18 11 2008

By Teasome

This is in a way related to Dorte’s appeal to action (see What the Hell is Spirinomics below). Though it goes outside the frameworks of a website and into the most real life.

There is this centre in Switzerland, Caux sur Montreux. It’s a beautiful castle on top of a mountain, and in summers an organisation called Initiatives of Change runs conferences there. There is one conference called Trust and Integrity in Global Economy. Check it out here:

 http://www.caux.ch/en/node/38692

 Or  if this doesn’t work, go to www.caux.ch website and find TIGE there.

 I’ve been to Caux twice, for other conferences and as a volunteer doing some office work. I know this organisation for 7 years and got a lot of friends there. I recommend you Caux because of a very, very unique atmosphere. It’s got tons of spirituality in it, it’s soaked through with spirituality. Chance to meet good people, too, and create something together. Great community spirit, either. You’ll be surprised.

One drawback is that it costs around 75 euros per night, so the whole stay would turn out something like 500 euros. Plus tickets to get to Geneva and from there to Caux. For those of us who work and stay in Europe it’s probably manageable. For others – we’ll need to think something… Perhaps there are some ways of fundraising. I can find out!!!!

But anyway, I REEEEEEEEALLY recommend it, and it would be smashing if we could get together there! It would be an absolutely fabulous reunion.

Have a look, the application should be made in spring I think, march or april………… Let me know what you think, and I’ll find out for you whatever you need.





It’s okay that a crappy system dies: Let go!

17 11 2008

 By Economicsfairy

Right in the middle of today’s doom and gloom, I found this here: “The Five Stages of Collapse” (by someone who survived the fall of the Soviet system and therefore must know what he is talking about). He believes that “financial pyramid schemes and globalized comsumerism” are done. (Well, so do I 😉 And that’s the good part of the news, right?

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/47157

Anyway, even though the title may sound rather apocalyptic, it’s actually a great piece. It’s very honest about the current economic situation which I think is good because there is no point denying what’s happening all around us. Unfortunately, most of our politicians still pretend that they can do something to “rescue” the economies. Rescuing a nearly dead patient. They don’t seem to have understood the trouble we’re in or they don’t want to talk about it. Which is somehow funny, but also scary. I mean what does it help if you suffer from a terminal illness and you just try to make everyone believe that you are fine?

This piece is honest, but at the same time encouraging: It’s all about how the collapse will come and happen, about its different stages, how certain things are inevitable – but also full of hope.

It’s about how the extraordinary difficult times that we are entering can bring change – the change this world needs so badly. How people can help each other, what we can do to protect us, how neighbourhood support can develop, communities, “alternative living arrangements”, how we can learn to carry each other through this chaos when even the state might not be able to function properly at some point.

It is a kind of survival guide from an experienced surviver. A manual for collapse. About how we can live with less and develop characteristics that are better for us and the world.

We might even see the beginning of a new era if we manage to transform the coming chaos and possible darkness.

For the more “spiritual” people among you: Think of the situation as if the universe presented us with a great opportunity to train abilities like: letting go, taking care of each other, finding out about what truly matters … Not easy at all, but demanding. And fulfilling.

All right then, don’t you worry: Apocalypse, here we come!!!

And remember what the Chinese say: Embrace Tiger, Return to the Mountain … 😉





What the hell is Spirinomics?

1 11 2008

By Economicsfairy

 

Folks, there is so much going on in the world at the moment that one should write three articles every day about it. I would love to, but sorry, I just don’t have the time for it – and I’m so worried about the overall situation and potential underlying reasons that I need a lot of time already for finding out as much as possible on the background stories.

 

Anyway, I’m absolutely convinced that there never was a better time to think properly about “Spirinomics”. Didn’t we sense it already last year? I’m so proud of us J

 

State-Controlled Communism has collapsed and Unregulated Neoliberal Capitalism will collapse soon. Actually, both is good because both systems are not really honest about how humans behave.

 

Too much trust in “the state” doesn’t help because there are “bad” people at work who use their positions in the Leviathan sense.

 

Too much trust in “the market” doesn’t help because there are “bad” people at work who use their positions to exploit people.

 

It’s really simple. You don’t need many equations to figure this out.

 

So what the hell can we do??? Are we doomed???

 

I still don’t know if they are right, but there are spiritual people on this planet who claim that the root cause for all our troubles (including the collapse of economies) is that we THINK we are separated from each other, that we perceive us as separate entities. With labels such as nationality, religion, sex, class, …

 

But they say: It’s not true. It is an illusion.

 

And if we were able to overcome this illusion (for the economists: to get out of this kind of prisoners’ dilemma), the world would for sure become a better place.

 

Because if we fully believed that we are all one, we just couldn’t continue to treat each other badly. Why would you treat yourself badly?

 

There would be a change. Could this be Spirinomics?

 

I don’t know and don’t want to be too idealistic, but hey, Rish, Kat, Tea, we need a concept!

 

Haven’t heard from you for a while. Come on, write down your ideas. Let me know.

 

What needs to happen?

 

P.S. Some wise people said already years ago that 2008 – 2012 would be “the years of transformation”. I can only hope that we will use this time to bring about a positive change. There is a lot at stake. It will probably get very serious in the next years. So we need to be prepared J

 

P.S.2: www.paecon.net is still a very good link – remember?

And “The Power of Now” (by Eckhard Tolle) is a good start to try and cure all our neuroses that might ultimately destroy this planet if we don’t heal them properly.