Fundamental development problems:
821 million people were undernourished in 2017 up from 784 million in 2015, yet we have enough food waste to fed every hungry person
800 million smallholder farmers feed the entire world (a huge contribution to sustaining life!), yet two thirds of extremely poor people are in the agricultural sector
10% of the world population still live in extreme poverty while the 8 richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people
People desire peace yet today major banks invest in $748 billion in the production of nuclear weapons producers alone. How can we achieve world peace when military industrial complex is such a lucrative business?
The economic practices of industrial capitalism are exceeding ecological limits - biodiversity loss, pollution and degradation of water, lands and forests at an accelerated rate fueled by rampant consumerism and market fundamentalism, etc. Mental health is an increasing problem in the wealthy nations despite material affluence. Loneliness is prevalent among youth despite hyper-connectivity in cyber space
These are all problems of distributions, production, incentives and value systems that stem from the current economic system especially the financial sector and money system – a facet of social architecture.
There is hopeful movement towards decarbonization (green-something), de-materalization (via sharing economy, digitalization), decentralized systems (peer-to-peer, Blockchain-backed technology) and in general an emergence of more conscious business practices (B-corp, fair trade, locally produced goods, sustainable investment etc.) and consumers living a new lifestyle (minimalism, community-based, mindfulness/meditation etc.). What is needed to scale up/mainstream this? How do we ensure new technologies/practices to serve the happiness of all humanity? What is the individual’s role in true peace and prosperity of the world? Above all, are they solving the root causes of interlinked global crises being addressed?
Many problems are syndromes of poor system design created by and reflective of today’s consciousness. In order to build a life-affirming economic system and a purposeful financial system in service to it, it is imperative to simultaneously re-design systems based on Nature’s principles while elevating underlying human life conditions. What’s needed is to widely disseminate new/ancient knowledge on the interconnectedness of inner reality and the external environment inspired by spiritual traditions and recent development in quantum theories, consciousness, deep ecology as well as an orchestrated synthesis combining Western science and Eastern philosophy such as holistic medicine and integrated science. To be real, change needs to be inspired from within and affects systems created without, unleashing the ultimate power of life for value creation.
The current economic system did play an important role in improving living standards. Yet fallibility is baked into the system as it is manifested in increasing monetization and financialization: conversion of natural capital, social capital, cultural capital and spiritual capital into financial capital (e.g. profit off from ecocide, dismantling of the social matrix, human misery including slave labor, sweatshops and even wars). The interest-bearing pyramid debt-based money system lies in deep at the root of creating artificial scarcity, a zero sum game and false narratives about human nature, which clouds people’s understanding of true mechanism of life thereby discouraging the full expression of life’s positive potential. Over-reliance on the market and technology as solutions without improving human consciousness worsens the interlocking political, economic, ecological and spiritual climates and manifests visible crises. ESG/Impact investment is important but merely expanding the scope of measurement or quantifiable solutions is insufficient, which likely leads to the creation of new negative externalities while reducing the old ones without fundamentally changing relationships between oneself and others/nature. Although many development projects to a certain degree help alleviate sufferings of those whose lives are marginalized by the current system, very few address the root causes; some contribute to perpetuating the very core that gives rise to the problems by encouraging more participation in the old systems.
The basic building blocks of the new economic/financial system are based in nature (learn from the nature’s 6 billion+ years of R&D) and designed by love (expansion of the self to include others). Outdated efficient market hypothesis and game theory of the current financial ideology are hollowing out from within as compassion-inspired practices and higher consciousness emerge.
LEFLI will continue exploring and applying regenerative principles, living system thinking and humanism to inspire a new design that outgrows deep-rooted economic narratives taught at school and done in practice. Importantly, new technologies such as Blockchain and AI could help facilitate the transition but the limitations of the underlying algorithm needs to be fully, widely recognized and the enlightened mind needs to fill the gap left by any reductionist approach. Likewise, introducing crypto-currencies and tokens of literally anything into economic system builds resilience against today’s pseudo-monoculture of a single type of money (bank-debt fiat currency) as the medium of exchange; however if we do not get the basic structure right, the result will be a mere shift of power from centralized authorities to miners/coders and their finance sponsors or those who have the know-hows and computational power. Additionally, the tragedy of commons as the systemic value of commonwealth cannot be tokenized due to win/lose dynamics under the traditional mindset.
In the new system, marginalized cultures, people, places and the marginalized part of ourselves will become the new center to heal the wounds left by the old systems while inspiring the new design through lifting up collective consciousness. A better and wiser governance system as choice making is hoped to be created in the process.
Lastly, systems reflect consensus and expression of our collective value. Without struggles, the knowledge will not be internalized. Human revolution is called for as we strive to live a more synchronized life, directing our knowledge, talents and unique character to the end of creating happiness for all.