NZ Lifestyle Block - - The Good Life -

If you are a player of strate­gic games like chess you'll be a nat­u­ral for mak­ing the moves needed to get to a steady state econ­omy.

In chess, you have to si­mul­ta­ne­ously attack and de­fend; you'll never win if you only de­fend and you run the risk of los­ing if you only attack.

The ‘en­emy' in this sce­nario is bank­ing, cor­po­rates, politi­cians, and avoid­ance which are all in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked: the banks loan ever-more, the cor­po­rates need to earn ever-more, they can pur­chase ev­er­more politi­cians (think of the Trans-pa­cific Part­ner­ship Agree­ment) to re­duce red tape which means avoid­ing the real costs.

Their sys­tem has es­sen­tially crashed and is cur­rently on life sup­port, but is still rob­bing the fu­ture in an ever-greater man­ner. Its life sup­port is ac­tu­ally us or­di­nary folk be­com­ing poorer by any of Her­man Daly's mea­sures. Banks are bailed out but mort­gage de­fault­ers are shown the door.

It's a one-way vac­uum-cleaner which has to be par­ried, protested, ex­posed. If we don't, we will be un­able to ap­ply our en­vi­ron­men­tal laws, un­able to use Phar­mac, un­able to go Ge-free, un­able to be or­ganic.

The old sys­tem is in­ca­pable of al­ter­ing to some­thing sus­tain­able in the longterm, and those that move and shake in it, like the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bilder­berg Group, are in­ca­pable of chang­ing it any­way.

That leaves us, but how can we do it?

Don’t bor­row from them

If we don't bor­row from them, and don't buy stuff from out­fits which bor­row from them, then the banks are gone. It's a bit like buy­ing Fair Trade but in­stead we're buy­ing from the ‘non-bor­rowed'.

Loan to each other (in­stead of the banks)

How­ever, there's one im­por­tant pro­viso: no in­ter­est. Charge a flat, agreed fee by all means, but no com­pound in­ter­est. The net re­sult must be that we are all bet­ter off be­cause in­ter­est charges take more than half our life's earn­ings, one way or an­other.

Stick to Her­man Daly’s four points

Th­ese have noth­ing to do with money but ev­ery­thing to do with be­ing able to con­tinue into the fu­ture.

In­ter­act per­son­ally, which mostly means lo­cally

Vol­un­tary work, free help, brownie points given and taken be­tween trust­ing/trusted peers.

It makes en­tire sense. It would mean grand­par­ents pass­ing on knowl­edge to young­sters, not be­ing shunted off into rest homes. It would mean talk­ing, learn­ing and co-op­er­at­ing with each other. It's hard to see a down­side.

Time-bank­ing, green dol­lars and lo­cal mar­kets are ways that lo­cal folk, start­ing small (change al­ways comes from lo­cal folk start­ing small) are tri­alling this way of life, evolv­ing sus­tain­able fu­ture trad­ing sys­tems. Those who con­trol the present sys­tem will pres­sure the politi­cians to out­law th­ese threats and sooner or later there will be a show­down. In­evitably, though, the cur­rent sys­tem will lose be­cause un­sus­tain­able things al­ways cease and one or more of the new sys­tems will prove to be a best fit.

We have lived in a short pe­riod of in­ter­est­ing times but what we have to do now is or­gan­ise a long pe­riod of noin­t­er­est­ing times. The tran­si­tion will be in­ter­est­ing.

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