On the day when the “Yes” or “No” bailout vote for the Greek economy sent shock-waves around the financial world, I was reminded of part of a post I wrote a while ago. In the context of my pursuit of 365ideas4change, I thought this a good, albeit slightly edited, idea to share. It is also an idea that may only be a seed, under the shade of which tree I am never likely to sit. That doesn’t make it a bad idea, just one with deep roots.
Suspend disbelief, abandon cynicism, and play a game with me for a moment. Imagine that we accepted that in the big picture, ownership (of everything) is temporary; land, mobile phones, cars, books, computers, water even. After all, we all die. Imagine too that success is no longer measured by ‘ownership’ or money. Imagine that we measured success in two ways: firstly, by how long we make use of goods – longer mostly being better – and secondly, by the condition in which we pass on goods to the next user! Suddenly, consumption is not our driving force: a conservation worldview might develop rather. Care also becomes important, for the goods or the land that we’re using, and for those on to whom we might be passing them, including future generations. Consciousness becomes almost automatic: no longer thoughtlessly buying, using, throwing away; trips to the mall become a rare necessity rather than the weekly (often daily!) entertainment spot it currently occupies. Money takes on a whole new value: that of exchange, not the sole end of life.
Finish playing the game with me now. Can we make the required practical systemic changes immediately on a gross scale in the dominating socio-economic system, in a way that doesn’t jeopardise millions of people? No. Do we know how that economy might work? No. Can we change our own worldview – to one that includes conservation, care and consciousness – and then let the financial chips fall where they might? Yes.
Isn’t the power and freedom of personal choice wonderful?