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The idea is simple and powerful, challenging and disturbing. It
has been around for years in academic circles, but has recently
gained momentum ever since the idea has been advocated for publicly
(e.g. in Germany since 2003). But what roughly is it about?
Basic Income (UBI) would be provided from cradle to grave, paid
to individuals not to households, irrespective of any income from
other sources, without requiring the performing of paid work or
any expression of a willingness to work. Pundits berate the idea
as naïve, a land of milk and honey-vision, which, at the
very least, confirms the decline of modern civilization.
It might seem so
at first glance, especially when looking back and remembering
that workfare policies have dominated European welfare states
for more than a decade. But the closer you get the less plausible
such objections appear. Of course, a UBI counters workfare policies
and the idolatry of wage-labour as the most valuable contribution
to community-life. But a closer look also shows us that a UBI
is consonant with the lives we live in modern times. Moreover,
the core idea reminds us of the basic premises of republican democracies:
namely, the sovereignty of the people as citizens.
Why is "unconditionality"
so important? Present welfare states beyond all variations provide
an assortment of different insurance benefits (unemployment benefits,
statutory pension insurance schemes etc.), forms of assistance
and allowances often managed by independent funds. All are conditional;
they either require willingness to work, acquired entitlements
or claims to benefits through contributions, a certain age (child
benefits), or means testing. For adults wage-labour is pivotal,
so that benefits are conditional as a way of guiding one back
into the labour market; to get off the benefit roll is the ubiquitous
The term unconditional
refers to the achievement-conditions a beneficiary must meet to
receive benefits today, and it is this which the UBI wants to
get rid of. In this way, a beneficiary of UBI must meet status-conditions,
either citizenship or a permanent residency, a fact, which does
not-as some say-contradict the idea of unconditionality. Unconditionality
is conditional, because it presupposes a political community to
The higher a UBI
is in terms of purchasing power, the more means-tested allowances
it eliminates and the further it gets in recognizing wage-labour
as only one among other important activities within a political
community of citizens. A consequence would be that the status
of wage-labour would decrease, while that of child-care, volunteering
and other activities would increase. UBI would not have this equalizing
effect immediately, but it would come about as a result of recognizing
people as citizens and not as contributors through wage-labour.
By being provided without obligation, UBI tells 'beneficiaries'
that they receive it for their own sake. Just as citizen rights
are bestowed without obligation, so is UBI.
Through a UBI, high
enough to secure a livelihood, employees would gain bargaining
power. Being independent of wage-labour implies the ability to
say 'No'. On the one hand, companies could rely on motivated employees
who work voluntarily and, on the other hand, companies would have
to offer attractive working conditions and an attractive working
environment. Both would help to create an innovative atmosphere
in companies and organizations. A controversial argument is that
the community could get rid of the legal restrictions necessary
today to protect an employee's status; for example, regarding
restrictions on the laying off and hiring of employees. To hire
individuals for only a short time in order to work on a project
would become common (if employees agree) and not a threat to the
individual. Because of bargaining power, it would be up to them
to define acceptable working hours. Each individual would be in
a much better position to find an appropriate answer in accordance
with his or her life, inclinations, capacities, and so forth.
The amount of time someone is willing to spend in an occupation
depends on what he or she regards as reasonable.
Some accuse UBI of
being a neoliberal Trojan Horse. It helps, they say, to extend
the low-wage-sector and by doing so perverts the idea. But a relatively
low wage under the circumstances set by UBI does not necessarily
mean low income. Today wages fulfil two functions: 1) to secure
a minimum income and 2) to provide a share in a company's success.
With UBI the situation is altered. A UBI would secure a steadily
available minimum income, while a wage would be additional and
separate. Consequently, if UBI were relatively high, a lower wage
than today would not imply a lower income (UBI plus wage).
Plurality would be
encouraged. Neither growth nor labour is a goal in itself. With
a UBI different ways of living a self-determined life are respected.
Instead of financing employment-programs and educational trainings
to "bring" people back into the labour-market-both of
which are more or less compulsory for the unemployed-education
could be a goal in itself following the individual's interests
and inclinations. By providing a UBI, the community signals that
it trusts the citizens' will to contribute to the wellbeing of
the polity and, thus, fosters solidarity.
Workfare these days
put enormous pressure on families. The value of work even exceeds
the value of family as debates about extending childcare institutions
to support working parents show. Some proponents of UBI argue
that what seems to be progressive and emancipatory turns out to
be the opposite. Parents are put under increasing pressure by
public debates and political decisions. They have to decide whether
they should take care of their children, or whether they should
pursue their professional career to fulfil the community's normative
expectations. By enhancing childcare institutions without providing
means, such as UBI, to opt out of the labour market, the normative
ideal of doing wage-labour is reinforced. Therefore, what is considered
to be a step into the future by praising, for example, Scandinavian
childcare policies, is a step backward. In the common use of the
term, stay-at-home parents are unemployed because they do not
work in the wage-labour market. Of course, they contribute to
the common welfare-without families the political community has
no future. Nevertheless, their contribution neither helps to acquire
entitlements to benefits, nor is it recognized as central in the
same way as having a full time occupation. UBI, however, would
open up the opportunity for staying at home, without stigmatizing
it. It would leave the decision up to parents, without directing
them toward any normative goal.
Why is it so difficult
to get UBI on the political agenda? Is it an idea existing in
Cloud Cuckoo land? What the situation reveals is a contradictory
phenomenon that helps explain why UBI is still confronted with
unrealistic objections. On the one hand, there is a discrepancy
between the fundamental meaning of citizenship and political community
already incorporated in democratic institutions. Political communities
still trust the citizens' will to contribute; on the other hand,
there is how this is interpreted in the self-conception of the
people. In Germany especially the ongoing public debate about
UBI has helped to make this contradiction apparent and, thus,
set interpretive patterns going.
Dr. Sascha Liebermann (PhD in Sociology, Master of Arts in Philosophy).
Research focus: Political Sociology, Welfare State, Economic Sociology,
Theory of Professions, Sociology of Socialization, Qualitative
Methods. Assistant Professor at Ruhr-University Bochum, Visiting
Fellow at ETH Zurich (Switzerland); Founding member of "Freedom
not Full Employment" (www.freiheitstattvollbeschaeftigung.de)
(in 2003), a group of German citizens arguing for an Unconditional
(August 2012) to which the author contributed a chapter about
the UBI-debate in Germany: "Manifold
Possibilities, Peculiar Obstacles -Basic Income in the German
Debate", in: Basic Income Worldwide. Horizons of Reform,
edited by Carole Pateman and Matthew C. Murray, Palgrave Macmillan
- International Political Economy Series
close. Basic Income in Germany - Problems and Prospects"
in: Basic Income Guarantee and Politics: International Experiences
and Perspectives on the Viability of Income Guarantee, edited
by Richard K. Caputo, Palgrave Macmillan - Exploring the Basic
Income Guarantee Series,
is free you are invited to contribute a small donation
at the event.
Please register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let us know in case you intend to stay for dinner.
Round Table with
Second Life Extravaganza
Artist, Ruigoord and
moderator is Arjen
Futurist, Co-founder, CTO, Gendo
You are invited to participate actively or by active listening!
New Purpose of Business and Government
Chris Thomson and Mike Jackson, Founder & Chairman,
A global revolution
is taking place. Although it does not yet have a name, its essence
is already clear. People all over the world, in larger numbers
than ever before, are waking up and wising up. They are more aware
and better informed, they are changing their lifestyles and ways
of working, and they are changing their values and expectations.
They want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
And they insist that business and government also become part
of the solution. The pressures to be part of the solution will
grow, as business and government come under powerful spotlights
from many directions (e.g. Transparency International, YouTube,
investigative journalism). The best businesses and governments
will wake up and wise up at least as quickly as the people they
Increasingly, social and economic change these days is being shaped
less by governments, and more by grass-roots movements, such as
those on the streets of Madrid, New York, Cairo and in many other
places. Peer-to-peer governance is on the rise everywhere. Typically,
businesses and governments are taken by surprise (by banking crises,
for example), because they are scanning the horizon with outdated
"lenses", no longer fit for purpose. In contrast, individuals,
NGOs and ad hoc communities are setting the pace, by doing things
differently and by doing different things - for example, the viral
success of "Invisible Children", and George Cooney sponsoring
satellite monitoring of Sudan.
Of course, there are understandable reasons why businesses and
governments tend to be behind the times and slow to respond. Governments
believe, for instance, that they have to keep satisfying the middle
ground of the electorate if they want to stay in power. However,
that middle ground often represents conservative values, resistant
to change. And passing new good laws cannot be done overnight.
At the same time, many enlightened business leaders complain that
their hands are tied by having to comply with the primary duty
to maximise shareholder value. That legal duty sometimes leads
them, reluctantly, to take decisions that cause harm to people
and planet. That said there can be little doubt that people are
insisting on deeper, more lasting solutions to the big problems
of our time - climate change, inequality, destruction of the biosphere,
corruption, abuse of human rights, and pandemics and terrorism
- and they are insisting the business and government lead the
way in this.
We live in a very different world, which we are just beginning
to understand. Complexity is increasing and new players are bringing
new solutions and breaking old rules at ever increasing speed,
to the disadvantage of traditionalists. If business and government
aspire to be part of deeper solutions, they will need to learn
how to "look under the radar screen" and how to use
new "lenses" to scan the horizon. They will also have
to exercise a new kind of leadership, which knows not only how
to scan the world differently, but also how to facilitate the
social and economic changes that people are demanding.
Under the Radar
There is a widespread assumption that the banking and financial
crises of recent years took everyone by surprise. That is untrue.
A lot of people have been predicting these crises for years. Since
the 1960's, for example, they have been speaking and writing about
the need for a "new economics", with new kinds of banking
and financial institutions, new indicators, and radically different
ways of running the economy. However, because their thinking challenges
the status quo, they have been largely excluded from government,
business, academia and the mainstream media. So effective has
been the exclusion that, even today, very few people know what
the New Economics is. In many senses, it is exactly what is being
discussed and developed in thousands of "alternative"
initiatives all over the world. However, so long as they remain
"alternative", humanity is unlikely to make much progress
in solving its big problems. If business and government had used
different "lenses" to view the world, they would have
seen all this a long time ago and, hopefully, taken it seriously
and acted accordingly.
One very useful way to understand what is happening globally is
to study the phenomenon of "Cultural
because they are the fastest growing and most influential subculture
in the USA and many other countries. Cultural Creatives tend to
have the most enlightened views on society and the environment,
with behaviours that tend to reflect these views. In the last
20 years they have grown from 20% of the US population to about
35% today. The two other subcultures - Traditionals and Moderns
- are both in decline. Although there is still much research to
be done, the evidence so far indicates that the rise of the Cultural
Creatives (and decline of the other subcultures) is a global phenomenon.
Cultural Creatives do not have the monopoly of "right"
opinions and behaviour. But they probably represent one of the
most significant social trends in the world today, reflecting
the fact that, as more people become more aware of global and
national issues, they expect higher standards of behaviour from
themselves, their fellow citizens, and from business and government.
With this in mind, all those in business and government should
make themselves familiar with the values and behaviours of Cultural
Creatives and "alternative" movements in their own country
and elsewhere, and consider what it would mean in practice to
respond effectively to this global trend. They should also learn
from best practices in the most ethical companies and most far-sighted
organisations wherever they happen to be in the world. What follows
does not claim to be comprehensive. It is designed simply to give
you a flavour of the kinds of issues likely to be at the heart
of the New Governance.
From the knowledge
economy to the intelligence economy
All countries want to survive and prosper. To do so, it will be
increasingly important to be intelligent, not just in the sense
of being smart and informed, important as these are, but in many
too, such as those suggested by Howard Gardner. In fact, if the
Cultural Creative shift is indeed a global trend, it means that
people are already becoming more intelligent in three important
respects - they are more aware and better informed; they think
more clearly; and they behave better, in ways that enhance society
and the planet.
The countries and businesses likely to do well in the future will
be the most intelligent ones, in at least the three senses just
mentioned. This will mean many things, but it is likely to mean
doing whatever it takes to increase the percentage of Cultural
Creatives in your society. It will also mean making changes to
your education system, so that the emphasis is more on cultivating
intelligence in the widest sense.
From Share Value
to Shared Value
Business tends to be seen as part of the problem. Arguably, the
main reason for this is that companies are obliged by law to give
the highest priority to shareholder value, even if this means
damaging society or the environment. It is this aspect of company
law, above all, that means that companies are still far from being
as fully responsible or as fully accountable as they should be.
Thankfully, there is now an emerging, but strong, movement, led
from within the business community, to give as much importance
to the "public interest" as to shareholders. Robert
Hinkley, for example, is spearheading a campaign to change US
corporate law, state by state, so that directors of companies
will have a high-ranking duty to "have regard to the public
interest". The terms have deliberately been left vague, so
that the courts can decide, on a case by case basis, what constitutes
the "public interest". At the same time, Michael Porter
at the Harvard Business School is actively promoting the shift
away from share value to shared value, which chimes well with
the need to give the public interest much higher priority. Hopefully,
as this movement gathers pace, business will become part of the
solution rather that, as currently perceived, part of the problem.
Aim high on the new indexes
There are many new indexes in the world today, such as the Happy
Planet Index, the Best Government Index, the Good Company Index,
and the Genuine Progress Indicator. By making just a few key changes,
your business or your country could move even higher in these
indexes. Doing this is not only inherently desirable, because
it means social and environmental improvements it will also be
demanded by your people. They will want to be high on these indexes,
not just because of the desirable changes in their lives that
this implies, but also because it will enhance the reputation
and attractiveness of their country or their company.
This motto, sometimes used in medicine, and meaning "at least
do no harm", is highly relevant in today's world, where our
individual and collective behaviour threatens the biosphere on
which we depend for our survival. We all know about climate change
and pollution and congestion. And some of us know that habitats
and species are being destroyed at an alarming rate by commercial
exploitation. But how many of us know that, according to the World
Resources Institute, every life support system on the planet is
in decline - i.e. clean air, clean water, forests, topsoil, aquifers,
fisheries, wetlands, biodiversity? An important component of the
changing roles of business and government is to aim explicitly
to become a zero contributor to global and national problems.
This will not be easy, not least because it is difficult to know
what the full consequences of your actions are. But it is an excellent
principle, one that is likely to become prominent in government,
business and elsewhere.
A new central
So long as economic growth remains a central purpose of society,
and so long as financial considerations override all others in
business, we will continue to generate serious social and environmental
problems. We will do this not because we behave badly. It is our
normal behaviour within our current systems that is causing our
problems. Both business and government urgently need to undergo
systemic change. When that happens, our "normal" behaviour
changes, and we will automatically cause fewer problems. By far
the most effective and efficient way of making systemic change
is to find a new central purpose, because all parts of the system
have to change to be able to serve the new purpose.
Meanwhile, there is widespread concern that pushing for perpetual
economic growth is not just damaging the planet, but is harming
society and individuals too.
As Clive Hamilton points out in his book Growth Fetish:
not only fails to make people contented; it destroys many of
the things that do. Growth fosters empty consumerism, degrades
the natural environment, weakens social cohesion and corrodes
Let us assume that
we were able to decide a new central purpose, which reflects what
we really want in life and what we want to be as a society. We
would then need to find ways of getting there, and we would also
need to design indicators to tell us whether or not we are on
track. Importantly, we will get there only if the means are the
same as the ends.
capitalists, and socialists who connive with them for the sake
of economic growth, believe that solving the problems of production
will lead people, once they have enough, to turn towards the
higher things of life: beauty, spirit, art, love. They are wrong.
Making the market the principal instrument of human development
has transformed it - in the form of shopping - into society's
principal cultural expression. It is no use changing the goals
from economic growth to basic needs or sustainability, for example,
if the means, the economics, remains the same. It is the means
that determine where we end up. The challenge is not only to
decide on another destination but also to design an economics,
and a development process to go with it, that is as sustainable,
participatory, equitable and satisfying as the end that is in
view." Wealth Beyond Measure: Paul Ekins (1992)
How a new central
purpose is co-created is a key question for businesses and governments
to think about and act on.
Leading by example
This is arguably one of the most important features of the changing
roles of business and government. In recent years, there has been
a massive decline in trust in business and government. Possibly
one of the main reasons for this is that "leadership"
often takes the form of "do as I say, not as I do".
People are beginning to insist that leaders set the standard in
behaviour and lifestyle. For example, if our leaders ask austerity
of us, as they do in Europe and elsewhere, they must first ask
it of themselves. Another reason for the decline in trust is that
leaders often ignore the wishes of society (e.g. Tony Blair taking
to UK to war in Iraq; the current UK Government thinking about
selling a sizeable part of the Royal Bank of Scotland to the royal
family of Abu Dhabi). Even in authoritarian Russia and China,
this is becoming increasingly unacceptable.
There is no "one size fits all" approach to the new
purposes of business and government, but it will probably include
1. Enlist the help of your citizens or your stakeholders to develop
a new central purpose for your country or your business, a purpose
that reflects the waking up and wising up that is happening all
over the world, and people's changing hopes and values
2. Address the deeper causes of your problems, rather than the
"symptoms", as so often happens. Avoid legislative,
managerial and technological "solutions" wherever possible.
They are often costly and ineffective. Intelligent simplicity
is usually cheaper and more effective
3. Adopt new indicators for your government or your business,
based on new understandings of the meaning of "success"
and "progress" (e.g. the Genuine Progress Indicator).
Not only do they give a much more accurate picture of how countries
and businesses are doing, they also help them take a different,
more sustainable path of development
4. Promote systems of education that enhance the latent intelligence
of your people and that encourage them to think and act for themselves.
When doing so, keep in mind the important distinction between
education and schooling. The former tends to produce good citizens
and good workers who are creative and self-reliant. The latter
tends to produce people who think and act alike, and who prefer
to follow rather than lead
5. Devolve power as locally as possible. This is as true for business
as it is for government. For example, central government should
consist only of what remains after this has been done. As for
business, it needs to move away from the outdated Predict-Command-Control
model towards the Sense-Adapt-Respond model, which is not only
more flexible, but also tends to optimise the creativity and intelligence
of everyone in the organisation. This trend towards devolution
is already evident in many places, such as Scotland and Catalonia.
It is a healthy counterbalance to the trends towards centralisation
(e.g. the EU) and homogeneity
6. Use technology only when necessary, and use it wisely. At present,
we are not very good at this. As Martin Luther King said: "Our
scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided
missiles, but misguided men." Just as subsidiarity and localism
are necessary counterbalances to globalisation, we also need counterbalances
to our overuse and misuse of technology. Without wanting to appear
simplistic, this may mean just being more human.
The State of East
Africa 2012, with support from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA),
compiles and analyses data across key economic, social and political
indicators from the five member states of the East African Community
Steria has released the results of a European-wide study which
surveyed senior civil servants and public officials in government
departments and agencies about their attitudes and actions in
the face of a pressing demand for public administration transformation.
revealed that open data, citizen-centric services, collaboration
between private and public organisations and citizens as well
as shared services are the top issues facing public sector leaders
across Europe. One third of European civil servants feel that
breaking down departmental silos is vital to developing more citizen-centric
TOKYO SKYTREE mural
The TOKYO SKYTREE mural is on the 1st Floor of TOKYO SKYTREE,
it is 40metres in length and 3metres tall. 13 monitors are embedded
in the wall and they form a seamless picture; with the parts of
the mural in the monitors being animation.
In Japanese art,
traditional there is no centre of focus, there is no fixed time
frame, and a huge amount of information is depicted. This art
work presents Tokyo as a mix of reality and fiction, history and
future; it exceeds human limits and contains an overwhelming amount
of hand drawn objects, and a colossal amount of information.
Tokyo is a city made
up of the stories of each and every person living here. That is
what makes it such an exciting and interesting place. In Japanese
art there are rakuchurakugaizu (views in and around the city of
Kyoto) and edozubyoubu (scenes of Edo on folding screens), these
art works have no central point of focus, they are 'flat', everything
is depicted with the same degree of importance and they contain
a vast amount of information even down to the stories of each
and every individual.
We have created this
picture of Tokyo as a continuation of the above form of artistic
expression, incorporating the techniques of Ukiyoe and reproducing
applicably the methods of Edo print using the latest digital technology
to produce an art work that has no centre of focus, is flat, and
contains a truly vast amount of information.
Based on our conviction
that technological evolution brings about human evolution this
mural exceeds previous human limits and forms a link of connecting
the Tokyo of the Edo period to the Tokyo of the future.
(teamLab, 2012, Animation + high-performance inkjet on Wall)
An investigation of how tribalism
affected the evolution of the human mind. The analysis reveals a
process that beliefs are a primary means of group identification
and are a natural component of the evolution of human thought and
culture. The results are mental processes that divide population
groups into "us" and "them" which result in
methods of thought and perception that affect major areas of human
culture, specifically politics and religion. Us Against Them argues
that the essential difference between the religious/conservative
and the secular/liberal is driven by tribalism, not ideology. This
is evidenced by the exclusive nature of conservative ideology that
divides people into separate groups as evidenced by common features
such as "you're with us or against us", "believers
and heretics", and "attack to defend". The book is
written for the general public without technical jargon and is arranged
as a series of arguments in the manner of traditional philosophy.
grow or to evolve: The Challenge for a World in Full .Transformation
Rosana Agudo, TTi - Tecnología para la Transformación
dominant social paradigm is a mental image
of the social reality that guides
solutions that we are "finding" to solve our problems,
to end the crisis, to respond to the consequences of bad/mistaken
management on a global scale, are directed at imposing restrictions,
limits and sanctions by way of laws designed to punish, discourage
or correct the conducts generated by the mental model that dictates
our social system. But these solutions do not support the birth
of, or the possibility generating, a superior social model of
a sensitized citizenry and of laws that facilitate and support
the installation of the so-called new paradigm.
We want to live in
the new paradigm but we want to do it without making an effort;
or, because we are so accustomed to reward and punish with money,
we want this effort be "only" economic. We believe that
in some way this crisis, that we see as purely economic, will
be solved when we have money again, and that we will solve it
with money - some paying and others getting paid. The money will
be divvied up among the usual players and when we are more or
less as we were before, we will believe we are already in the
But the installation
of a new social model is an art that is difficult to master. As
for all works of art, this one requires a will to create, a consciousness
of service, a harmonious observation of the work during the construction
process, and beauty, lots of beauty, in the eye of the artist,
in the gaze of the artist. The construction and support for this
new social paradigm requires many artists that dream, others that
understand the dream, others that know how and who can bring it
into being, and still others that execute it. All this must take
place through a chain of leadership that has accepted, understood,
and learned to be in the appropriate Mental Model, to value it
and to propagate it.
has not been provoked by a "lack of values", as we like
to claim, but by our exaltation of some values and our disinterest
and even our degradation of others. We might add, as a principal
factor, that the values that have been an object of exaltation
and glorification, that helped us at some point, have been subject,
over time, to a process of degeneration imposed by an obsolete
mental model that is only interested in assuring its permanence,
its survival, regardless of the consequences. We haven't been
aware of this degradation because we have been too occupied in
assuring ourselves a place, or in keeping the place we have, or
in avoiding being marginalized in and by the system. The search
for new values keeps us occupied, it has us convinced that we
have found the source of our maladies and it lets us feel justified
because "we are already looking for solutions." We are
looking for the solution by trying to do the opposite, but not
necessarily by doing something different within ourselves. We
have spent some years talking about this, trying to feel better
by talking about values in an inane discourse that leads us no
where because we still haven't learned to look within ourselves.
We can only, or we want only to look without, at the obvious,
at the evident, at what is apparent at first glance, at what everybody
else sees and at what is accepted by the majority which is what
we are interested in and what we value.
We want the future to get here soon; we want to finish with this
phase of uncertainty and pain because we don't know how to remain
in conflict in an intelligent fashion, even though we love it.
We are looking for a quick fix to our problems, creating new ones
of the same sort. We live in it and for it but we do not want
to learn from it. To get out of it fast is the way to reinforce
it, this human paradox, this mental model that endlessly perpetuates
in conflict with an attitude open to learning is the way to find
the way out, to perceive its origins and its consequences and
to gain knowledge and maturity. It is not about "leaving"
but, rather, about finishing with excellence, the
process that has brought us to where we are today. This is difficult
for us, being accustomed as we are to short term, tangible results
that are easily seen and quickly convertible into money. Once
again, a look within is necessary to understand what is going
on without. To learn how we function is the methodology that makes
us understand the results we are getting, how to improve them
or how to avoid them.
We say: "This
is not an Era of change but the change of an Era". Very well,
the Era of Art and Perfection in Service."
This era of Art and
Perfection in Service will be one in which the economy stops meaning
only "money" and converts itself into what it is:
the administration of the patrimony of a society, of a country,
of a person, of a family Let us remember that patrimony
means inheritance, our inheritance as human beings, one that we
should care for and that includes all life on our planet, one
in which we are included, but not as exclusive beneficiaries.
This era will be one in which money is a means of perfecting our
service in the art of living in relation to other living beings
and with nature and in the art of the expansion of wealth. This
is our destiny because it is our deepest aspiration and is, therefore,
marking our future.
The vision, the mission
and the values of an organisation are merely the expression of
its aspiration, of its dream. Let's take a look at these and we
will see with what we are filling our cocoon and the contradiction
we assume by continuing to function with an obsolete mental model
based on the past, on what is known and on assuring its own survival,
while simultaneously expressing our search for a new social arena.
Sometimes we even compromise our future by linking it to the suggestion
of an educational model that assures, from the obsolete mental
model, the permanence of our present needs, and their future satisfaction.
At the same time,
this contradiction is at work creating what I call a "paralyzing
paradox": it calls to dreamers but doesn't provide them with
forums for meeting and talking; it listens to them but does not
to support them. It calls for creative people to dream our dreams,
but refuses the expression of their dreams if they don't coincide
with its own. There is such a confusion of contradictory dreams
that this is painfully delaying the installation of the new paradigm
that is already more than a promise or a possibility; it is a
reality already underway and there are a thousand and one ways
to recognize how it is appearing.
society, we are in this larval phase, in which we gestate and
mutate and where transformation towards the next stage is taking
place. Here we can find all the content, not just of what we know,
not just of our experiences but also of our aspirations and of
our dreams. Let us not permit our past to trap our future. We
don't need new values; we need maturity and courage enough to
take an honest look at and to give renewed meaning to those values
that have "gone bad" because of an antiquated viewpoint
that no longer provides sense or dignity.
Growing in the sense
of "evolving" means liberating ourselves from the way
we have been looking at things, people, the world and becoming
disposed to see anew, with new eyes. This should mean, "becoming
like children". In this sense, creativity will return to
our lives and will help us surpass the larval stage and continue
on to materialize the dream of our future that we all dreamed
together as a species. Are we talking about innovation? Perhaps,
but how different it sounds.
Returning to the
idea of the Mental Model that is dictating our social system,
we can ask ourselves or think that this is just a theoretical
concept. But we should know that we think, we decide and we behave
according to what our mental model tells us is good or convenient,
or bad and necessary to avoid.
To know our Mental
Model and to become conscious of it, of how it works, is the fastest
and most effective way to achieve real and effective transformations
in any sphere of intervention that permit us to go beyond where
Therefore, the basis
of a Mental Model is the collection of suppositions, beliefs and
thoughts we use to interpret reality. It constitutes a filter
that translates what we perceive and gives way to personal experience.
In any sphere, it is the collection of beliefs, thoughts and suppositions
that constitute cultures and that orients strategies, actions
and decisions, all the while conditioning and limiting them to
the re-enforcement of the existing Mental Model. We are living
an amazing moment. This is our greatest opportunity for transformation;
this is our evolutionary step to carry out the realization of
our most powerful aspiration.
The Mental Model
exerts its effects not just in people, but also in organizations,
in every social sphere, in society; it creates cultures and gives
form to social stages and the historical eras It is within
us, it is us and it shapes the reality we live.
It is common to hear
that "Things are not going to change, we must change ourselves".
But I think that what we are really trying to say is, in fact,
things are not going to change, "we have to change them
ourselves". It doesn't occur to us that we are the ones
who must change, change our mental model, take a look within,
within each person, each organization, etc. We are the
ones who are going to change reality by changing our way of understanding,
of looking at and of relating to the world, to reality.
This message is also
conveyed by scientific principles. We are witnessing the reconciliation
of Science and the Humanities. The truths experienced by humanists
have never been possible to substantiate until now that Neuroscience
has at last affirmed what the mystics, meditators and humanists
have been telling us for years: "that in order to change
our lives, we must change our minds", and this has been demonstrated
by the science of Neuroplasiticity.
We are dedicating
all our effort into pumping life-giving oxygen into a dying giant
- the production/consumption social model, or else to fighting
against it; both behaviours provide it with oxygen. Lets look
once again. Let's say there is more, much more that we are willing
to see, to do, in a different way. Let's tell ourselves that there
is more, much more that we are willing to see in a different way,
willing to do in a different way. Let's tell ourselves that we
are willing to understand wealth more profoundly, from different
angles and with more amplitude.
We can leave this situation at will, one by one, all at the same
time. We can choose if we want only to grow or if we want to grow
by evolving, by supporting evolution and by collaborating with
it. We can leave this situation by learning to look and to see
new solutions; we can learn to recognize results other than those
we expected to find. Up until now the results we expected corresponded
to our needs, but perhaps these are no longer the same either
perhaps they never were.
Let us not miss the
wonderful explosion of new ways to do business, to understand
consumerism, to live, that are already beginning to make themselves
visible, even though we don't see them yet, let's pay attention
even though we don't believe them to be viable or we think they
are to costly or too slow etc., etc., etc .
We are resisting
the inevitable with all our strength. Of course, resistance to
change is only human even though this movement is taking us to
a better place with more possibilities. We know in our hearts
that we must evolve; we must evolve towards a new social model,
in every sphere, in every context, and in every partition of our
lives and in our perceptions of "reality".
To open our minds
and our eyes to a new way of looking and of understanding the
world is the next evolutionary step and challenge for a society
that is immersed in a process of deep transformation.
And this, all of
it, is not just a theory. It is possible. It is inevitable. We
know how to do it. We are doing it. It is happening and we can
collaborate. Thousands of pioneer changemakers are bringing the
tendency of social change to the point of critical mass and the
different changes that produce transformation are beginning to
accelerate exponentially. This is good news, full of hope, inspiration
Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute
for Policy Research and Development (IPRD),
an independent think tank focused on the study of violent conflict
in the context of global ecological, energy and economic crises.
A bestselling author and international security analyst specialising
in the study of mass violence, he has taught at the Department
of International Relations, University of Sussex, and has lectured
at Brunel Universitys Politics & History Unit at both
undergraduate and postgraduate levels, for courses in international
relations theory, contemporary history, empire and globalization.
He has written features,
commentary and analysis for various publications including the
Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The
Age, Le Monde diplomatique, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman,
Prospect Magazine, The Gulf Times, Daily News Egypt, Daily Star
(Beirut), Pakistan Observer, Tehran Times, Bangkok Post, Prague
Post, The Georgian Times, Open Democracy, Raw Story and New Internationalist.
His work has also appeared in policy periodicals such as International
Affairs (Chatham House), Survival (International Institute of
Strategic Studies), Foreign Policy In Focus (Institute for Policy
Studies), Europes World (Friends of Europe), and OurWorld
2.0 (United Nations University).
Currently, Ahmed is an Associate at the Millennium Alliance for
Humanity & the Biosphere, Stanford University; Associate Expert
at Transcend International A Peace Development Environment
Network; and is on the Security and International Relations Research
Committee of the Center for Global Nonkilling in Hawaii.
He is also a columnist for the quarterly political magazine Ceasefire
and contributing editor at the Journal for Public Intelligence
founded by Robert D. Steele (former Deputy Director of the US
Armys Marine Corps Intelligence Command).
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed discusses 7/7 and 9/11
The Crisis of Civilization : Full Movie
Summer Event Urban
where is the magic? Open
A Club of Amsterdam event in collaboration with
MySTèR. Sunday, July
15:00 - 17:00 Location:
Christian-Rötzel-Allee 18, 41334 Breyell-Nettetal,
Germany [near Venlo, Netherlands]