Q. Why A New Economy?
A. People talk about "the economy" as if the
current system is a natural law of some sort. Very few feel the need of further
investigation into its origins, structure and dynamism.
Q. Starting with the origins?
A. Indeed, it started somewhere. Conclusion: it wasn't
there from the beginning.
Q. It is not a system given by "God".
A. Right. Ironically, it started when people became
alienated from "God", their Divine Spark within. The Church suppressed all
attempts to establish a direct contact with the inner Divinity. Those who did were
persecuted and brought to the stake. This terror lasted many centuries. At last, not being
able to return to the Source, people were forced to fall back on their ego.
Q. The Church itself being the cause of
A. Absolutely. Religion has destroyed people's inherent
spirituality. The former thus being directly responsible for materialism as it has
developed in the West. All attempts of the Church to suggest the opposite are totally
Q. About which period of time are you talking?
A. In the Middle Ages people were God-oriented.
Originally, there was the idea of a "macrocosm reflecting microcosm". Hence, a
hierarchical structure of clergy, aristocrats and farmers. They were all committed to each
other by ties of loyalty. Commerce and profit on the other hand were considered
Q. The world upside down.
A. The contemporary one, yes. What you see today is,
that the lowest instincts rule the world. A re-orientation toward other social models is a
case of utmost priority.
Q. Back to the Middle Ages?
A. It depends how you define the current crisis. If you
think it is "economic", then "economists" will be highest in the
hierarchy. If you think the crisis is a spiritual one, then indeed spiritual leaders
should be on top of the pyramid.
Q. Needless to say, that you cherish the latter.
A. "To have is the inability to Be". It is
the foundation of capitalism. It started in 15th century Northern Italy as a
over-compensation for the loss of spiritual life. If you lack true fulfillment, you start
searching for a substitute. Hence, consumerism is an ersatz-behaviour. Lacking spiritual
Realization having became an addiction. However, accumulating never can satisfy your
Q. Please, continue.
A. The irony is, that later again religion was the
cause of a new phase in the further development of capitalism. It was Protestantism and
especially Calvinism, which justified it, saying that accumulating wealth and serving God
was one and the same thing. That's why Calvinist countries are the most
"succesful" in the world.
Q. You probably won't agree, that capitalism and God
can be reconciled.
A. That's right. Actually, they are excluding each
other. As you know the Ultimate is a Vacuum, a Cosmic Womb ("The Great Mother"),
from Which everything originates, while constantly returning. This is called the "Law
of the Universe". The most fundamental insight is, that the universe is ruled by a
cosmic balance between "death, rebirth and permanence ("web of
life")". Society should reflect this basic law.
Q. Which obviously isn't the case at all.
A. Profit, accumulation and enrichment at the expense
of others - people, aimals, plants, oceans, the atmosphere - is an offense against cosmic
balance. Hence, capitalism and the Divine are incompatible.
Q. So truly spiritual people are anti-capitalists?
A. Deeper insight into the dialectics of spirituality
on the one hand and materialism on the other is needed. As stated above, absence of the
former has created the latter. We all bear a responsibility in this regard. It consists in
adopting a truly spiritual life, of such a quality that the addiction to accumulation will
automatically be dropped.
Q. What with regard to society?
A. We have to understand the dynamism of our time.
Through extreme accumulation the Cosmic Law has been violated. The balance between
"death and rebirth" has been disturbed. Emptiness - the Cosmic Womb - doesn't
tolerate the too much. Hence it ("She") started to break down our
ego-achievements. It is the cause of the fact, that our society is in decay.
Q. With what consequences?
A. It depends on your insight. People without
understanding will consider this as a disaster; the one's who are awakened see the
dynamics behind. They understand that what is broken down, actually are our addictions. To
them, the pain is part of their withdrawal symptoms. Despite the difficulties they may
encounter, they will welcome it. Destruction of the ego and going back to the Source are
two parts of the same coin, after all.
Q. How could the system be changed?
A. The economy of growth is incompatible with the Law
of the Universe. It has to be replaced by an economy of balance. Now, generally - because
of the dominant position of the former - all attempts to change the system circle around
economics. However, as we have seen, the core of the problem isn't economic. Hence, I
don't take the system, but the people as the starting point.
A. Allow me another small excursion. Through ruthlessly
promoting egoism, materialism and individualism capitalism deliberately destroys the
community as well. Splitting society up in singles enlarges the "inner market",
after all. It is another offense against the Law of the Universe, namely destroying
Mother's web of life, the interdependency of all beings, things and events.
Q. Please, elaborate.
A. What is characterizing the situation is this. Last
year, the top bankers of Holland had an emergency meeting about the acute
"disintegration of the community". If bankers come together out of concern about
the community......, then really something serious is going on. On the other hand, this is
totally hypocritical, since it is them who with one hand want to restore what the other
hand is destroying. No doubt, action is needed.
Q. What are you thinking about?
A. Leaders nowadays talk about unemployment and
migration as the biggest security risks of our time. In their one-dimensional thinking
this can only be solved by the private sector. They are "confident" that the
latter is the way to create new jobs. What they do forget is, that indeed the selfsame
private sector is the cause of structural job losses world wide. The current economy isn't
the solution, but the cause of the problem.
Q. If that is the case, a totally new perspective has
to be created.
A. As always the community is excluded from the
discussion. Those in power are afraid of the people. Their positions can only be
maintained if the community is being ignored. (Big) companies, as everyone knows, operate
as alien bodies in society. Their only concern is profit. Through which the
"rest" of the world is being further empoverished. Jobs should originate
through the social interaction of the people themselves, though. Their surplus value, that
currently flows back to the companies, should benefit the community. Moreover, the issues
are work satisfaction, self-esteem and creativity. Actually, it is about the kind of
society that we want.
Q. What is your proposal?
A. We have to "kill two birds with one
stone". On the one hand further progress of capitalism has to be stopped, while
at the same time healing the community. In practice, this could be done as follows. In the
New Economy there are three basic principles. The first is, that people commit themselves
to work for half a day every day (five times a week) as a voluteer for the community. In
exchange for his/her contribution everyone without exception will receive a basic income.
Q. How high this will be?
A. Enough for the basic needs: housing, energy, eating
and drinking , health care, education and transport.
Q. That won't be easy!
A. Above mentioned area's have to be withdrawn from the
private sector. So that the Self-sovereign Community democracy* can gear basic income and
basic costs to one another. In practice this means, that the costs of basic support will
go down considerably.
* See: "Transformation
Manifesto for the 21st Century".
A. The other half of the day can be freely spent. It is
up to every individual's free choice. One would indeed try to make as much money as he/she
can, the other prefers to enjoy leisure, while a third is devoting him/herself to creative
arts, travel, spirituality, gardening etc. etc. The overall result is, that a new balance
of life will be established, both in individual as well in social life. This will be so
fulfilling, that very soon nobody will long for the "rat race" anymore.
Q. Indeed, a triumph of simplicity. But won't people
miss their level of consumption?
A. The quality of life is more fulfilling than the
quantity. The point is, that nobody ever had a chance of experiencing it. From the moment
on, that you will be able to compare, most people will have no difficulty in making the
right decision. The current stress, burn-out, depression, fear and anger are signs of the
fact, that the entire society has come to its limits already.
Q. Does the climate crisis accelerate the situation?
A. Obviously. We have only one decade to (more or less)
stop the process. Politicians think, that by bringing down the CO2 emissions, the problem
is going to be contained. They use CO2 as a cover-up. The real problem is our entire
Q. In which everything is interrelated?
A. Right. In particular the dominant pattern of
overproduction and overconsumption. Water shortage, global warming, destruction of nature,
loss of biodiversity, pollution, hunger, migration....you name it, are all linked to it.
Hence, EVERY aspect of modern life is involved. It means, that if we want to survive, we
have to transform all levels of society, to begin with ourselves.
Q. Being rather than having?
A. If we manage to simultaneously drastically improve
the quality of life - spirituality, friendship, family, creativity, work satisfaction,
leisure, nature....then there will be less need to compensate our lack of true fulfillment
with craving for things. Hence, (lack of) spirituality to be at the root of the problem.
Q. So, there is still hope?
A. First of all, we have to go back to basics, as
elaborated upon above. From there we start rebuilding society in such a way, that
everything will be exclusively invested in a green economy. All earth damaging activities
will be abandoned, giving way to a socio-economic system, based on environmental friendly
industries, sustainability, justice and prosperity for all.
Q. Is this realistic?
A. You have to also take into consideration, that in
order to save the world ecological limits will force us to bring down our production and
spending level to 20% of the current situation. So, we have to go down anyway. That makes
my proposal extremely realistic.
Q. Could the system adapt to that?
A. We are not an extension of the system; the system is
an extension of us. First we have to decide how we want to live, while subsequently
adapting the system according to it. With regard to other aspects of the New Economy, like
subsidiarity, decentralization and regionalism, I refer to the "Transformation Manifesto for the 21st Century".
Q. Thanks very much for this interview.
A. Become a supporter of the New Economy!
Q. You bet!