Undoubtedly, the most critical issue arising from our separation from God, Nature, and each other lies in the business world. Because we have lost touch with our immortal Ground of Being, we have created substitute immortality symbols to give us a sense of security and identity in life.
Traditionally, these immortality symbols have been religious in character, in particular, the belief in the West in everlasting life after death and in the East in reincarnation. But today, the principal immortality symbol in the world is money, as evidenced by the tower blocks that financial institutions build, having a similar function to the cathedrals in medieval cities in Europe.
Despite the deep existential fears surrounding the concept of money, many organizations and individuals are attempting to create a more life-enhancing and ecologically sustainable way of managing our business affairs. This page lists a few of these pioneers in the categories Business & economic, Funding agencies, and Monetary reformers.
Business & economic
Given the severe psychological and ecological damage that is being caused by the fearful obsession for money, many organizations are seeking a more human-oriented approach to running our business affairs. Here is a short selection of them.
The Christian Council for Monetary Justice is an open forum rather than an elaborate organisation, although it maintains a rudimentary structure, network, and annual meeting. It seeks to enable people far and wide to stimulate a more general awareness of the pertinence of faith to the economic order; and in particular to the urgent need to generate monetary reform.
The fate of most people in times gone by was grim unjust poverty for which charity was often the only, and usually totally inadequate, remedy. Sadly this is still the situation today for millions of people.
However, there is a vast difference between times past and today. Today we have the technological capacity to eliminate it. Thus any failure to eliminate poverty can be seen as a failure to serve God and the essence of morality, incumbent on us all, is a duty to work for inclusive structural justice for all. In the present world of conflict, such justice can be seen as the only concept capable of uniting people of faith, and of good faith, in an impelling cause—transcending cultural and political boundaries—for the betterment of humankind. To this end the CCMJ and its members are in dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
The purpose of the International Erich Fromm Society is to maintain, research, develop further, and pass on the scholarly findings and ideas of Erich Fromm as the fitting continuation of his international work and in recognition of his worldwide significance.
Erich Fromm (1900-1980) showed in The Fear of Freedom (1942), that we do not live in a free society, as the politicians tell us, but that we are afraid of freedom. As a follow-up, in The Sane Society (1956) Fromm asked two simple questions, “Are we sane?” and “Can a society be sick? ”, answering them with a resounding ‘NO’ and ‘YES’, respectively. Then in his greatest masterpiece To Have or To Be? he drew on the teachings of the pre-eminent Christian mystic Meister Eckhart and Shakyamuni Buddha’s Four Noble Truths to outline the changes we need to make to our lives if we are to avoid psychological and economic catastrophe. He called for a radically new sceience of humanity to help bring these changes about.
The ultimate aim of the Global Justice Movement is the Omega point, the purpose and end of the human adventure, which is a genderful and fully inclusive universal justice and holistic theology, set in an earth system science. We shall then be able to say, with John the Divine, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” p>
With this vision in mind, Global Justice grows from within. It starts with endogenous money and ends with peace. The first principle of Global Justice is that there is a Source of all creation which has endowed the absolute values of Truth, Love, Justice and Goodness which represent the ultimate ends of human actions. The other four principles are: Respect the Earth, Abundance is possible, Creative work for all, and Economic democracy. These five principles, together with five inter-related components—Monetary Justice, Social Justice, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, and Peace Justice—give:
Secure incomes for all, including pensions (created by new technology and new investment), Capital ownership for all (individual capital estates provide secure income), Public capital investment (at half the present cost), A huge reduction in debt (personal, corporate and national), A proper deal for women (ensures independent income), Safeguarding the environment (sustainable resource use), and thus Peace.
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From its origins forty years ago as an employee-owned cooperative manufacturing paraffin stoves, Mondragon has grown to 160 employee-owned cooperatives, involving 23,000 member owners, with sales grossing $3 billion dollars US in 1991. Statistics show the Mondragon cooperatives to be twice as profitable as the average corporation in Spain with employee productivity surpassing any other Spanish organization. It has its own bank, a research institute, an entrepreneurial division, insurance and social security institutions, schools, a college, a health maintenance system and a health insurance cooperative. It is focused on relational cooperatives dedicated to the common good.
Currently we are on the verge of a New Civilization, although whether this actually comes to fruition will depend on various factors, the main one being whether the new memes be overcome the entrenched old ones before life on Earth is virtually destroyed and the Earth goes from being a center of cosmic spiritual transformation to one of destruction. It is a race against time
A new civilization will involve new paradigms and ways of looking at things, a more universal and integral worldview, a spiritual and ecologically self-sustainable attitude, and the right rather than the wrong use of technology, a right way of relating to the spiritual forces behind nature, a new form of social networking based on the principle of participation and creative Commons, and a new model for business and capitalism (and not, as some suggest, a rejection of the capitalist system).
The Scott Bader Company, a manufacturer in the polymer industry, is unusually governed by its employees within the auspices of the Scott Bader Commonwealth. The Preamble to the Constitution of the Commonwealth contains these striking words:
“The Commonwealth has responsibilities to the wider national and international community and is endeavouring to fulfil them by fostering a movement towards a new peaceful industrial and social order. To be a genuine alternative to welfare capitalism and state-controlled communism, such an order must be nonviolent in the sense of promoting love and justice, for where love stops power begins and intimidation and violence follow.”
If humanity is to have any chance of surviving the collapse of the global economy at the beginning of the 2010s, we need considerable funds to prepare for this evolutionary inevitability. Here are a few funding agencies who could financially support this life-and-death venture.
Ekobanken is a Swedish ethical bank ensuring that peoples’ savings are used to create a sustainable society, ecologically, socially, culturally and economically. At least once every year Ekobanken publishes updated descriptions of projects that they finance. They want to show a picture of their work and the good that peoples’ savings have done. The money that people save in Ekobanken helps to create a sustainable future. Ekobanken grants loans to initiatives that have social, environmental and cultural value. The projects that they finance are practical and well grounded and are beneficial for society, respect nature, and help develop individual talents and possibilities.
The Fetzer Institute’s mission, to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness, rests on its conviction that efforts to address the critical issues facing the world must go beyond political, social, and economic strategies to the psychological and spiritual roots of these issues. Current work includes research and education programs on altruistic love, compassionate love, and forgiveness; recovering the “heart” of various professions, including teaching, philanthropy, law, and medicine; and exploring the nature of forgiveness, compassion, and love.
The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open- minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. Using ‘the humble approach’, the Foundation typically seeks to focus the methods and resources of scientific inquiry on topical areas which have spiritual and theological significance ranging across the disciplines from cosmology to healthcare. In the human sciences, the foundation supports programs, competitions, publications, and studies that promote character education and the exploration of positive values and purpose across the lifespan. It supports free enterprise education and development internationally through the Templeton Freedom Awards, new curriculum offerings, and other programs that encourage free-market principles.
The Lifebridge Foundation, Inc. was established in 1992 for the purpose of supporting organizations and individuals who, through cultural, education, and/or scientific means, are dedicated to creating bridges of understanding among all people by bringing to realization the concepts of one humanity and the interconnectedness of all life.
We support groups and individuals whose innovative projects reflect these concepts; whose work exemplifies a global vision, demonstrates a spirit of inclusiveness, and fosters transformative action in a changing world.
Triodos Bank, a pioneering force in the world of sustainable banking, is one of Europe’s leading ethical banks. Established in 1980 in The Netherlands, with a UK office following in 1995, Triodos Bank enables money to work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.
Triodos aims to help achieve a more decent, dignified and kinder society and a world that respects people, the environment and different cultures. Triodos Bank’s approach takes account of people, planet and profit to deliver a positive return over the long term. This social, ethical and financial approach is expressed in the Triodos name itself. Triodos - tri hodos - is translated from the Greek as ‘three-way approach’.
With some 97% of all financial transactions by value being concerned with buying and selling financial products, not with everyday trade such as buying the essentials we need for our survival, and with some 97% of money being created as debt by the banks, not issued by governments, as used to happen, there are many thinkers seeking an alternative approach to how we view money. Here is a short list of them.
Bernard Lietaer has spent 25 years working in different areas of the money system. He worked on the creation of the single European currency and was named the world’s top currency trader by Business Week in 1989. He is the author of The Future of Money, in which he explores the opportunities for creating complementary community currrencies and other issues.
David Boyle is a writer and journalist, who writes mainly on new ideas about the environment, politics, economics and the future. He is perhaps best known for his splendidly named books The Tyranny of Numbers (2001) and Funny Money (1999).
Author of Interest and Inflation Free Money (1995), which highlights some basic misconceptions about money and how we could create a interest-free money system that works for us all.
Michael is the designer of a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) known as LETSystem, an open form of money, or personal and practical arrangement of community currency. The first of very many instances of this design was originated in Comox Valley, BC, Canada in 1983. Michael is now working on an extension of this idea, called community currencies or open money.