Wise Circles 3: Learn from crisis, and launch new dynamics

Stranded in mud

We are in a never experienced moment in known history of mankind: over 2 billion people confided at home, a tremendous systemic crisis happening in front of our eyes. The daily cost of this situation is between 500 million and 1 billion euros for Belgium only (excluding immaterial and human costs on long term which are colossal). But above all, many people are realizing some absurd aspects of the world we were in, of their crazy job rythm, the lethal run to unsustainable CO2 emissions and ecological destruction, and the incoherence of the political and economical system. Children – on their side – are happy because the colossal snake is biting, and eating its own tail, proving its own unsustainability – contemplating its nearby death. No need to march any more. We are offered beautiful, strong and challenging moments of slowing down and questioning our lives, jobs, relations, values, and imagine new inspiring and empowering visions.

Multiple angles

So, this shows once again that the financial bottom lines (micro-economy) and the Gross Domestic Products (marco-economy) are no longer the adequate and correct ways to measure value in our societies. Truth is hitting: “When driven only by the market and the competition, Homo Sapiens is the only species on this planet which pretends to control, and which adds no value to the world. The bottom line is that it destroys more than it creates”. We behaved truly barbaric towards nature, animal world, and to our own people. We thus have to pull other sciences in (Economy as we have been taught not even being a hard science…) Psychology, sociology, anthropology, pedagogy to start with. Followed by geology, biology, chemistry, art and culture etc… Transversally, and seriously. If we shift our perception of value, on how we make balance sheets of true value, we shift our whole economy and society. Money – as a major value measurement – is the result of smart actions. But above, we have purpose, knowledge, communities, engagement, smart alliances, precious resources. We strongly recommend to focus on those multiple value balance sheets.

How are we going to get out of this?

We are highly worried that the “people in charge” will most probably stick to known recipes. It is always difficult for incumbent authorities to admit their own responsibility or lack of preparation. But at the same time, it is a fantastic opportunity – without complacency – to prepare, in the same injection, the vaccine against economic vulnerability, social unrest and ecological disasters.
Saving the banks and airlines, pouring thousands of billions as “quantitative easing” on financial markets, and on the other hand offering financial help to people and companies to sustain their next months of survival (with money they do not have), are perfectly normal reactions and these measures are absolutely necessary – but we should already look beyond that. But at the moment the more systemic issues which remain high on the agenda are not tackled at all : climate, ecology, deep financial instability, social diseases – which are intertwined. If those recipes go without a fundamental rethinking of the system itself, this will lead to colossal wasted money, lost hopes, and precious time loss – just postponing the questioning for another few months or years while worsening the debt burden, and ecological liabilities for next generations. And above all, an amplification in the trend of loss of confidence of the larger public in their competence since authorities have repeatedly proved to be unable to foresee and correct the weakest points of our system. All the predictions of national banks, planning offices of states and supranational administrations (and their highly paid consultants) were systematically wrong. Even though lots of voices screamed for a systemic perspective and pragmatic future scenario plotting, the establishment ignored those, and went on staring on their linear extrapolations. This attitude will lead soon to social unrest and populist pressures, accentuating systemic blocking of economy and society.

Efficient action will only be possible with a combination of “top down”, “bottom up” and transversal low threshold actions. Simultaneously. It should be a balance between individual and collective action, a search for enhanced coherence, and balance – like in any ecosystem. For example, at the same time work on global (supranational) alignment and tools, national institutional reforms, simplifying administrations and decision lines, and opening up space for local collaborations and co-entrepreneurship. Like that we will be able to create well anchored local roots for people and businesses – but this time, allying space for people to fulfill themselves, room for regeneration of biotopes, and sustainable and profitable jobs for everyone.

“No real spiritual and human progress is possible until the dawn of the clear realization that each person is sole responsible for the path he develops in his life.”

Cédric du Monceau
Michel de Kemmeter