Monday, April 12, 2010

The New Earth Economy - A Radical Approach to Money

I'm here to tell you about a little thing I like to call the New Earth Economy, or N.E.E. for short. The N.E.E. is named in honor of one of our favorite books here at Todd Wright Now, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61),by Eckhart Tolle. In that book, our good friend Eckhart expounds upon his vision for the evolution of us humans:

"'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,' writes the biblical prophet. The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven--the awakened consciousness."

The N.E.E. is based on the principle expressed by Jesus: "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you." (WEB)

Now Jesus certainly never said, "Give, but don't sell." But the NEE is predicated on the idea that if you're going to be given so much as a result of giving, why bother to sell?

Just as the New Earth is the next step in the evolution of human consciousness, the N.E.E. is the next step in the evolution of human economic interaction.

In the N.E.E., there is no longer any buying and selling. There is only giving and receiving.

"Preposterous!" you exclaim. "That's impossible!"

Is it? Or is it so posterous that I just blew your mind?

The fact is, it's already happening all over the place. The economic evolution is underway.

Participants in the N.E.E.

Here are just a few of the organizations and individuals already participating in the N.E.E.:

Most Non-Profit Organizations - There are fairly strict regulations for those endeavors that wish to be classified as non-profit. If they comply with these regulations, they can apply to the IRS for tax-free status. Most religious, charitable and humanitarian groups qualify. Most of these don't sell anything at all. They give their services and depend upon donations for their continued existence.

But what if other traditionally profit-oriented businesses could transition to non-profit status? Something like a grocery store. They could tell their customers, "Pay what you can. Pay what you think it's worth." Some would pay less, some would pay nothing at all. But many would pay more, I think, and tell the cashier to keep the change. And life would be less mean for all concerned. This is the thrust of the N.E.E.

Wikipedia - While Wikipedia is a non-profit organization, it deserves its own category, because its founders could have placed ads throughout their webpages, making millions for themselves. Instead, they allow no opportunity for the taint to knowledge that commercialism can bring, and have chosen to rely solely on donations for their continuation. This is quintessentially the N.E.E.

Credit Unions - Credit Unions are also non-profit organizations, but they deserve their own category as well. Presently, we have institutions called banks (among others less familiar) which are corporations that, in simplistic terms, pool seed money, which in turn puts them in a position to collect your money, which in turn allows them to put credit for additional money they don't have on their books. They then loan out this imaginary money (sometimes to you) and collect interest on it, not only for the opportunity cost associated with the money, but also to pay profits back to the people who provided the seed money, the investors. Oh, and a little interest to you if there's something left over.

Credit Unions don't have investors. So credit union profits pay for operating expenses and interest to you only. Oddly enough, credit unions didn't need to be baled out by the government in the most recent financial meltdown because they have no incentive to over extend their lending.

A classic example (albeit a fictional one) many of us observed just a few weeks ago whilst watching It's a Wonderful Life over the holidays. When the Bailey Building and Loan is close to going under because of a panic at the start of the Great Depression, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) starts giving money away. And what should happen? Because George was giving the money away (out of his own pocket no less) people were willing to take just what they needed for the good of all. And Mr. Potter, you see, was the banker who wanted the Building and Loan to go under so he could increase his profits.

Banks certainly serve an important purpose in our economy but as we have seen lately they are subject to a great deal of profit-generated shenanigans. Are there innovative non-profit organizations yet to be created that could take their place? Perhaps there are.

And maybe they're here now. The Moslem world doesn't believe in taking profits on money lending alone; Medieval Christianity didn't either.

Such institutions, like credit unions, would be a major part of the N.E.E.

Beggars - Beggars generally don't supply anything, except maybe a good feeling to those who donate. But they rely on donations for their continued existence. Thus, technically speaking they neither buy nor sell in their own workplace, preferring to rely on a little bit of giving and a lot of receiving. Perhaps beggars are the seamy underbelly of the N.E.E., but we take people where we find them.

Transitioning to the N.E.E.

The institutional structures are not yet in place to fully realize this vision of the N.E.E. So how can we transition to the N.E.E., seeing as we have jobs and businesses in the Old Earth Economy, or O.E.E. for short?

The answer, in a phrase, is to pretend as if the O.E.E. didn't exist.

1. Employees happy in their work - Stop watching the clock. Pay no mind to your paycheck (direct deposit is helpful in this regard). Work a little extra sometimes and don't worry about it. Give to those in need.

2. Employers happy in their work - Stop watching the clock. If someone needs to go early occasionally, let them. If you know someone needs money at a particular time, put a 100 dollar bill in his shirt pocket. Pay as little heed to the board of directors as you can, while doing the best job you know how to do. Look for ways to supply your goods and services on a not-for-profit basis; in this way, the institutions and structures that the NEE needs for full realization will come into being.

3. Those looking for a change - Follow the steps detailed in Monetize Your Life, and remain open to innovative ways to share your talents with the most people. Be on the lookout especially for non-profit opportunities, realizing that, as Jesus said, you get more when you give; and as the Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (Perennial Classics) says, "If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich."

Mind you, this is not to say that there is no material prosperity within the N.E.E. That would be a cop out. I think there is material wealth within the N.E.E. In fact, it's a better way. When people are allowed to give rather than made to pay, they give more than they would have paid.

Want proof? When we give to the Salvation Army, we do it for nothing more than a good feeling. How much does the O.E.E. charge for that?

Answer: The price of a Coca-Cola.

Retort: Oh, I think we've all been known to give more than that. . .

Thanks for your feedback. Your comments are helpful to others.


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