I’ve been struggling with the question of finding positive alternatives to economic dysfunction. Some say that the problem is capitalism and the solution is to replace it with socialism, or at least implement public programmes to meet needs that the marketplace fails to meet. But they all ultimately degenerate into a capitalist-socialist hybrid that doesn’t even begin to address the malaise at its root — indeed exacerbates the problem.
That malaise in modern times is a consumer culture where individuals are raised and educated to seek increasing consumption as their driving goal in life. All existing capitalist-socialist hybrids are oblivious to the need for an about-face in social relationships — the need to turn away from consumer acquisitiveness toward a culture of service, where frugal consumption is but the means to that end. Few can even imagine that.
In other words, the standard approaches of policy change or regime change miss the essential point — which is that political or economic measures will change little if they are not the result of changes in the way people relate to each other at the most fundamental level.
My own approach to this deep change has been twofold. One, work toward a cultural change in how people respond to each other, where instinctual self-seeking is transformed into instinctual other-seeking. And two, replace predatory institutions with loving institutions of mutual service. An other-seeking culture needs to be facilitated by benign institutions, and those institutions will not thrive without a benign culture — mutual interdependence.
Such changes require a reversal of onus. The conventional approach would let the predatory system run it’s normal course, but place limits on the resulting abuses — on the bogus rationale (called Economics) that competition will in most cases turn predatory agents to benign purposes, so only tinkering is necessary. The reverse approach is to marginalize the predatory system itself, as people who are enabled to seek higher purposes turn away from it.
Modify the boundaries of resulting abuse rather than address the choices that produce the abuse
The new economics is — how do were organize loving/serving relationships — serve more than be served, or not care — profane economics is get more than give, with fallback being equally — WIN-win or at least win-win — vs — win-WIN or at most win-win
instead of — how to organize acquisitive relationships without depleting others — rather — how to organize loving relationships without depleting oneself