Photo:EOCA's Spring 2020 Newsletter
Time to reflect…
Every move you make, every breath you take leaves its mark on our world
Crisis after Crisis
The remarkable characteristic of our chaotic and crisis riddled world today is their deepening and continuity
Crisis after Crisis: Financial Crisis. Credit and Banking Crisis. Environmental and Ecological Crisis. Biodiversity Crisis. Epidemic and Pandemic Crisis. Housing Crisis. Health and Well-being Crisis. Education Crisis. Spiritual and Moral Crisis. Trust and Trusting Crisis. Indifference Crisis. Fake, Fake News and Faking Crisis. Reality Crisis. Populism and Fascism Crisis,...all of them leading ours to be a generalized "time of crisis."
At a time of profound crises there must be an opportunity for new vision, new understanding and new thinking. There is a desperate need for new practical ways of relating in an increasingly interdependent global community: a time to re-introduce spirituality, ethics, civility, kindness, humanity and the common good into the debate on globalisation, economics, politics, business, education, international relation and much more.
Surely the time is now to rise and challenge the falsehood and the inhumanity of the ideology that since the early 1980s has cheated and humiliated us by monetising all aspects of our lives, and has stopped us from knowing what it means to be human:
I am a Transformed and Reformed Economist: My Journey and My Story
‘From 1980 onwards, for the next twenty years, I taught economics in universities, enthusiastically demonstrating how economic theories provided answers to problems of all sorts. I got quite carried away by the beauty, the sophisticated elegance, of complicated mathematical models and theories. But gradually I started to have an empty feeling.
‘I began to ask fundamental questions of myself. Why did I never talk to my students about compassion, dignity, comradeship, solidarity, happiness, spirituality – about the meaning of life? We never debated the biggest questions. Who are we? Where have we come from? Where are we going to?
‘I told them to create wealth, but I did not tell them for what reason. I told them about scarcity and competition, but not about abundance and co-operation. I told them about free trade, but not about fair trade; about GNP – Gross National Product – but not about GNH – Gross National Happiness. I told them about profit maximisation and cost minimisation, about the highest returns to the shareholders, but not about social consciousness, accountability to the community, sustainability and respect for creation and the creator. I did not tell them that, without humanity, economics is a house of cards built on shifting sands.
‘These conflicts caused me much frustration and alienation, leading to heartache and despair. I needed to rediscover myself and real-life economics. After a proud twenty-year or so academic career, I became a student all over again. I would study theology, philosophy and ethics, disciplines nobody had taught me when I was a student of economics and I did not teach my own students when I became a teacher of economics.
‘It was at this difficult time that I came to understand that I needed to bring spirituality, compassion, ethics and morality back into economics itself, to make this dismal science once again relevant to and concerned with the common good.’- Excerpts from my comments on a Financial Times editorial
See also: My lecture at London School of Economics
The Broken Economic, Social, Spiritual Model
(First published as an email to the GCGI members in May 2011)
“Do you remember that Margaret Thatcher, the so-called Iron Lady!! She told the Brits that she was going to put the “Great” back into the “Great” Britain. Do you remember? Then, she told us this can only happen if we accept and implement the “Washington Consensus”, the so-called dreaded neo-liberalism. She told us that there was no alternative. She told us we will all prosper and develop more fairly and equitably. She won election after elections. Everything was privatised, deregulated, self-regulated. Industry, manufacturing, (the real economy) was destroyed. Instead, the banks and the bankers were encouraged to rule the world. The economists with no principles and values were “bought” and the business schools, such as Harvard and Columbia were showered with money to act as “Cheerleaders” for the dreaded neoliberalism (see the Inside Job for evidence). Communities were dis-mantled and dis-organised. We were told that there is nothing as a society and community. We are all in it just for ourselves, we were told. Destructive competition at the expense of life-enhancing cooperation, collaboration and dialogue was greatly prompted. We were told to say no to love, kindness, generosity, sympathy and empathy and say yes to selfishness, individualism and narcissism, as these values will fire the engine of capitalism and wealth creation! In short, the hell with the common good, we were encouraged to believe.
We were brained-washed. Our other Prime Ministers repeated her nonsense and have carried on her footsteps. It is now over 30 years since the neo-liberalism experiment in Britain. Are we any “Greater” than we were in 1979? Are we any fairer or more equitable? The country is nearly bankrupt, with public and private debt at unprecedented levels, with greatest levels of poverty and wealth disparity ever. The house of neo-liberal capitalism is now at its nadir of decadence.”
You see, all those interested in life’s bigger picture, have been saying the same, over and over. The neo-liberals are not in touch with humanity. They will prostitute all in the interest of profit maximization, cost minimization, highest return to the shareholders, and the biggest and juiciest bonuses for the CEOs and their lackeys.”
The Age of Perpetual Crises and Coronavirus Pandemic
‘When all of this is over, the world won’t be the same.’
But, the Challenge Is: How to Make the World a Better Place?
Times of upheaval are always times of radical change. Some believe that the current global crisis, the Coronavirus pandemic, is a once-in-a-generation chance to remake society and build a better future. Others fear it may only make existing injustices worse.
I wish to be a voice of hope and optimism: This crisis can change our world for the better, should we have the wisdom to see the path
What kind of actions would it take for the optimists’ vision to materialise?
I am sure there are many answers to this timely question. Below are my offerings:
Ten Steps to a Better World and a Better Life
We, the people, all around the globe, are slowly realising that our planet, our lives, and more are in desperate need for new measures to evolve humanly, environmentally, economically and politically towards a more cooperative, peaceful and respectful sense of interdependency.
While the urgency is being felt on all levels, too many feel disempowered with the potential to spark a change, make a difference or even perceive an ounce of hope for the future.
The task isn’t small. Indeed, the task is so great that there is only one way to succeed, and that is, all of us, coming together in the spirit of the common good, to empower and enable each one of us to become self-directed, and active in defining this time in the world as opportunity for positive change and healing and for the true formation of a culture of peace by giving thanks, spreading joy, sharing love, seeing miracles, discovering goodness, embracing kindness, practicing patience, teaching tolerance, encouraging laughter, celebrating diversity, showing compassion, turning from hatred, practicing forgiveness, peacefully resolving conflicts, communicating non-violently, choosing happiness and enjoying life. Carpe Diem!
Neoliberalism's excesses belong in the dustbin of history. What's next is up to us
1- Throw away this single-minded ideology and replace it with a more balanced logic, laying the foundations for a better, more equitable world
2- Replace the selfishness and hatred of neoliberalism with Kindness
3- Replace the hopelessness of neoliberalism with Hopefulness
4- Replace the delusional and destructive neoliberal education with inspirational values-led Education
5- Replace the devastated neoliberal economy with Economy as if People Mattered
6- Throw away the fake neoliberal ‘teachers’ and let nature to be your wisest Teacher
7- Throw away materialism and consumerism, ‘Black-Friday’ sales mentality, and opt for simplicity, simple living and be grateful for who you are, what you are and what you have
8- Throw away hatred and desire for revenge Remember and Forgive: Forgiveness is the Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself
9- Overcome Fear and Embrace Hope: Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors
10- and finally, let us begin our Journey to Healing, and enjoy togetherness, family, friends and community. Ours should not be a caravan of despair, but the flame of love and hope
Walk with the wanderers
Sing and dance with the worshipers
Proclaim the memory of those who have taken their leave
Wrap the despairing and the broken in the arms of love and community
And hold the hands of all of us who have broken our vows and call us back—again and again—to the covenant and work of justice, humility, and steadfast faithfulness.
For this we are here together today. So, my friends, come, yet again; come let us be together.