New Economy Story

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New Economy StoryThe Framing Meta-Story: Equitable Living Economies

For some thirty years we have been engaged as a nation and a species in a reckless social engineering experiment to test the claims of an extremist economic ideology known as market fundamentalism that advocates laissez-faire market freedom.

According to this ideology society is nothing more than a collection of individuals and the public good is nothing more than the aggregation of their individual desires as best expressed through their market choices and their pursuit of the financial means to support those choices. The public interest is therefore best served when we each seek to maximize our individual financial gain in markets unrestrained by regulation and all assets are for sale to the highest bidder. [See What's Your Story?]

Advocates of this ideology have rewritten the rules of commerce to remove constraints to the unlimited concentration and abuse of corporate power in the pursuit of private profit in disregard of consequences for people and planet. The results of this failed experiment include financial meltdown, a disappearing middle class, stagnant wages in the face of escalating food and energy prices, billion dollar pay packages for hedge fund managers, loss of millions of family wage American jobs, heavy consumer debt, futile wars of occupation, massive trade deficits, a multi-trillion dollar bailout for Wall Street, and the spreading collapse of Earth’s environmental systems.

The Choice Now Before Us

Those of us who came of age in the United States during the latter part of the twentieth century were taught that we were limited to a choice between two economic models: Wall Street capitalism and Soviet communism. We chose Wall Street capitalism based on its claim to being the natural champion of democracy and market choice. Now we see the reality that Wall Street capitalism seeks to limit our political choices to politicians who serve Wall Street interests and our market choices to those that maximize Wall Street profits.

Real Markets and Real Democracy

Our choices are not limited to rule by global financiers or socialist bureaucrats. The current system of economic rules and institutions centralizes decision-making power in narrowly focused global financial institutions that operate beyond the reach of democratic accountability to serve purely financial interests. [See Real Markets and Real Democracy]

In Our Nature

This vision of economic possibility is based on the premise that human nature is not limited to competitive, individualistic, and materialistic drives, but includes equally natural tendencies to be cooperative, caring, and respectful. This premise is supported by our daily experience as well as by scientific findings that our brains are wired for life in community and that societies that feature greater equity and community enjoy greater health and happiness than more unequal and individualistic societies.

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We find hope in the realization that the economic transformation we must now navigate to secure a viable human future is consistent with our nature and holds the possibility of a better life for all.