“Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people who care about one another, their community, and their natural environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the balance”
New Economy 2.0
What's the Economy For?
The New Economy Working Group site develops the underlying New Economy system framework. The New Economy section of the YES! Magazine website carries daily updates on the people who are living the New Economy into being.
There is broad agreement about the need for a New Economy, but strikingly different versions of what that means. The New Economy 1.0 version envisions a magical high-tech fantasy world of limitless growth in mindless consumption.
New Economy 1.0 leaves unchallenged the implicit assumption of the old economy that life exists to serve the economy. It poses no challenge to a money-driven economic system designed and managed by Wall Street corporations to maximize financial returns to their major players. It leaves in place indicators that count the conversion of the real living-wealth of the many to the phantom financial-wealth of the few as a net gain for society. It has no plan for dealing with the internal dynamics of a system that by its design drives toward financial instability, wealth concentration, environmental stress, and political corruption.
New Economy 2.0 begins with a recognition that we humans are living inhabitants of a living Earth and that creative, conscious living in strong healthy communities with strong and healthy families is the foundation of human happiness and well-being. It further recongizes that the economy has no other legitimate purpose than to serve life, all life, including all the world's people. It calls for a radical reinvention of our defining economic culture and institutions to create a New Economy that serves all the people all the time.
A Democratic, Market-Based Alternative
The living systems perspective on the New Economy outlined here is spelled out in more detail in the 2nd edition of Agenda for a New Economy, a report of the New Economy Working Group (NEWGroup). It is further developed in our YES! Magazine blog, the ongoing YES! New Economy web feature Path to a New Economy, and our Twitter and Facebook feeds. See <new-economy-resources> for more details. You will also find a wealth of additional materials in the library section of this site.
For all the tragic pain created by the financial collapse in September 2008, it is in the larger view a blessing. Trillions of dollars of phantom financial wealth vanished in the blink of an eye. The corruption of an economic system that counts destruction of the lives of people, community, and nature to make money for the already rich as a gain for society was exposed for all to see.
We the People have the right and the means to replace the culture and institutions of this corrupt system with the culture and institutions of a New Economy that gives the needs of people, families, communities, and nature priority over the greed of Wall Street bankers. The same measures required to assure our collective survival will give us the world of shared peace, prosperity and security of which most humans have dreamed for millennia.
Millions of people the world over are joining together to rebuild their local economies and communities. They are supporting locally owned human-scale businesses and family farms, developing local financial institutions, reclaiming farm and forest lands, changing land use policies to concentrate population in compact communities that reduce automobile dependence, retrofitting their buildings for energy conservation, and otherwise working toward local self reliance in food, energy, and other basic essentials.
By taking control of their lives, and building resilient local economies that use local resources and employ local people to meet local needs under local control, they are declaring their independence from the colonial domination of Wall Street corporations. They are the modern equivalent of the courageous patriots who in an earlier day declared their independence from a British king and his crown corporations and launched a new nation dedicated to achieving a daring ideal called democracy.
A Living Systems Perspective
Most discussions of issues relating to the environment, justice, peace, poverty, race, gender, immigration, crime, values, education, family, and much else focus on actions to alleviate downstream consequences of upstream system failures. Real, lasting solutions depend on transforming foundational values and institutions in ways rarely discussed in public discourse. We can tolerate the silence no longer. Our future depends on navigating the transition to a New Economy that mimics the structures and dynamics of Earth's biosphere. It begins with a conversation.
The New Economy section of this website provides an initial tutorial and a guide to additional resources.
- Ten Common Sense Economic Truths outs the false values, assumptions, and logic of the old economy.
- A Healthy Economy identifies the outcomes of healthy system function, the essential shift in the economy's defining characteristics required to get these outcomes, and a three-fold change strategy.
- Which Story? contrasts the underlying assumptions of the old and new economies and asks you to identify which you find more consistent with your experience and understanding.
- Healthy Markets explores how a healthy market economy mimics the structure and capacity for rule-based self-organization of a healthy ecosystem.
- Money Rules addresses the money system as a system of power and identifies the design choices that determine whether money flows to the phantom wealth Wall Street economy or the real wealth Main Street economy.
- Life as Teacher outlines the case for looking to healthy living systems as a source of learning relevant to redesigning the institutional structures of human economies to mimic the structure and dynamics of the biosphere.
- Emergence and Displacement outlines a three-fold strategy for global scale transformational change through locally-rooted, self-organizing citizen action..
- Seven System Action Points identifies the critical areas in which policy action is required to shift the advantage from the declining Old Economy to the emerging New Economy. This is keyed to the New Economy system framework spelled out on our partner New Economy Working Group website.
- What's New About this New Economy? spells out the differences between two contrasting visions of a New Economy: the magical high-tech fantasy economy and the reality-based living economy. The latter vision is of more recent origin, and thus the new version.
- New Economy Resources provides a guide to resources for further study, organizing discussions, and action engagement.