From The Huffington Post
After a year of disheartening setbacks, many activists and change-makers may feel that the critical goal of transforming capitalism is slipping out of reach. Yet, having just returned from a four-week trip to many sites and gatherings working on social, economic, and spiritual renewal, I feel that the opposite is true. There are more fascinating and eye-opening examples of this transformation emerging worldwide than ever before. But something is missing, something that contributes significantly to the sense that we’re heading in the wrong direction. Simply put, what’s missing is a systemic connection between all these initiatives—an enabling mechanism that allows us to not only connect the dots, but also to see ourselves, and the significance of our work, from the whole. Below, I take you on a tour through the landscape of some current initiatives, and at the end of this journey I propose how we might link up and support the larger landscape of economic transformation.
In previous columns I have described our current moment of crisis—specifically the rise of Trump, the far right, and populist strongmen—as the result of two factors: (1) the increasing rate of disruption and (2) the lack of a capacity to lean into these moments by letting go of the old and letting come new patterns and possibilities (a capacity I call presencing).
At the heart of our current predicament is a disconnect between the real-world challenges—the widening ecological, social, and spiritual divides—and the outdated economic models we use to respond to them. Closing that gap will require nothing less than a transformation of the economy. The transformation of our current mode of capitalism is the key to any sustainable strategy for social-ecological change. It is as true for the United States as it is for Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin America.
So what have we learned, if anything, about transforming our economic order? Last week I attended a meeting convened by the DOEN foundation in Amsterdam that brought together key innovators in the field of forging a new economy. It was a wonderful microcosm of change-makers from many countries and sectors, each of whom is pioneering new pathways. This column is much inspired by that meeting.
The New Economy
The term “new economy” was frequently used during the heyday of the dot-com bubble. It suggested a new set of rules that would replace the traditional rules of the “old economy.” Today it no longer refers narrowly to digitization but more broadly to addressing the bigger social, environmental, and cultural-creative challenges of our time. So perhaps the term could be used more precisely to speak about transforming capitalism toward an economic system that generates well-being and prosperity for all—all beings, human and non-human, including current and future generations.
Read the full post at The Huffington Post.
Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT, a Thousand Talents Program Professor at Tsinghua University, and co-founder of the Presencing Institute.