Friday, January 22, 2010

Taking an Evolutionary Step . . .

Consistent with Quigley's analysis, Arnold Toynbee suggests that a civilization begins to break down when there is "a loss of creative power in the souls of creative individuals," leading to a diminished capacity of that civilization to successfully respond to challenges.  quote from Butler Shaffer's, Boundaries of Order

Leading economists have deemed our current economic situation as "the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930's."  The magnitude of devastation has subsequently been reflected in a decline of global growth rates, deepening unemployment, and a severe drop in U.S. production, making any sort of 'bottom up' reversal seem implausible.

Nevertheless, and acknowledging that the present situation has resulted "not from a cyclical or managerial failure, but from a structural one", Bernard Lietaer (et al) in their "White Paper on All the Options for Managing a Systemic Banking Crisis" assert the "good news is that a systemic understanding and technical solution are now available that would ensure that such crashes become a phenomenon of the past."  The "systemic understanding" to which Lietaer is referring to however, stems from a relatively new field of academics known as complexity science.

Addressing Sustainability Issues
Consequently, where the industrial age took shape largely from positivist perspectives founded on principles of entropy, scarcity, competition, equilibrium, and certainty, many of these underlying assumptions are currently the focus of theoretical retooling.
“I will argue that Clausius’ model of a universe running down by entropy and the Darwinian model of biological evolution as an endless competitive struggle for scarce resources both give half-truths about Nature that seemed appropriate in their historical context but are now seen to be fundamentally flawed, thereby seriously misleading us and holding up our own natural evolution.”  quote from Elisabet Sahtouris', "The Biology of Business"
As a result, these emerging outlooks view even Nature differently than did their predecessors.  As Lietaer's 'White Paper' attests however, a "recent conceptual breakthrough" taking "its evidence from balanced, structurally sound, and highly functioning eco-systems now proves that all complex systems, including our monetary and financial ones, become structurally unstable whenever efficiency is overemphasized at the expense of diversity, interconnectivity and the crucial resilience they provide."

"The surprising insight from a systemic perspective is that sustainable vitality involves diversifying the types of currencies and institutions and introducing new ones that are designed specifically to increase the availability of money in its prime function as a medium of exchange, rather than for savings or speculation."  quote from Bernard Lietaer's (et al), 'White Paper'
This quite simply, entails introducing what are known as complementary or alternative currencies "within a community, region or country".  The primary reason these 'systems of exchange' are referred to as 'complementary' or 'alternative' is "because they do not replace the conventional national money, but rather, operate in parallel with it."

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