Jonathan Dawson Leading "Sustainable Economics" the Economics for Transition at the Kalikalos Holistic Centre


Uxbridge, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/11/2013 -- Kalikalos is a living-learning community, founded on the principle that solutions to the big problems of our world will not be discovered by doing more of the same; rather we must look outside the box and experiment with new paradigms. For us, making a better world starts with people working and sharing together in community, building trust and communion. But how does this help a world facing a host of complex issues ranging from environmental degradation to economic uncertainty?

We put this question to Jonathan Dawson Head of Economics at Schumacher College, Devon, England. Intrigued by his answer, we invited him to Greece to lead a week-long networking gathering in our summer course programme. Jonathan takes up the story.

"Economics as we know it today is broken. The neoliberal project ushered in by the Thatcher/Reagan revolution is a busted flush. The wreckage lies about us:

In the ecological devastation wrecked by monoculture plantations and export dominated agriculture;

In the loss of meaning within a civilisation whose new religion is consumerism;

In the lost generation of Europe’s youth with chronic unemployment;

In the domination of the political process by the 1%.

So, where can we look for inspiration in facilitating the radical paradigm shift that is necessary to rebuild a culture of caring and community from this wreckage?

Significantly, the most insightful and strikingly innovative ideas are coming from all directions other than the economics profession.

From ecology comes the insight that an economy is best understood as a complex adaptive system, not unlike a complex, yet precisely balanced ecosystem containing a multiplicity of species of plants and animals, each of which has its niche and each of which plays an essential role to maintain the harmony of the whole.

From anthropology we learn that an economy (the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services) and society (the human needs, agreements and cultural heritages of a people) are inseparable.

Psychology and neuroscience reveal that we are both more complex, cooperative and empathic beings than the one-dimensional self-interested man of classical economic theory.

In short, the creation myths and assumptions underlying classical economics are revealed to be at best shallow and at worst erroneous. These myths are products of the era in which the discipline of economics was forged by its founding figures endeavouring to establish economics as a hard value-free natural science.

If this economics has failed us, then our task must be to build a new kind of economic theory rooted in a contemporary understanding of who we are as a species and framed by the ecological limits of the beautiful blue planet that we call home.

This is a work of the imagination and of passionate intelligence that many groups of people on every continent are currently engaged in. One such group will gather together in Greece in early June 2013 to brainstorm practical ways that a new sustainable economics can be implemented.

Exploring how collaboration and playfulness lie at the heart of what it is to be human;

Engaging with a new language that creates a vocabulary of connection, interdependence and reciprocity;

Re-imaging and redesigning money and credit systems that serve people and planet, not just an elite few;

Re-building the Commons as the creative and democratic heart of our economy and communities.

All over the world, people are engaging in this project of re-civilizing and re-enchanting the grey science that is neoclassical economics. Paul Hawken has likened this uprising of citizen activism as the Earth’s immune system kicking in. What we are discovering in walking the path is that it is also enormously stimulating and fun.” For more detail about summer courses.

The Kalikalos Center is excited to be hosting this gathering in Greece, to be part of the earth's immune response to what is perhaps our most challenging global problem—how to share and conserve the resources of our planet. Our Centre is based in a country that is currently experiencing severe economic turmoil and social disruption as a direct consequence of an unjust and dysfunctional economic system.

For Greeks the transition to a sustainable economics is of far more than theoretical interest. Now, Greeks of all ages, from all social backgrounds, professions and trades are responding with a variety of creative initiatives. An important movement has sprung up in our neighbouring city of Volos where an alternative currency and work exchange system is growing by leaps and bounds, paving the way for the new grass-roots economics.

About kaliKalos is one of the projects supported by the Holly Foundation a USA Educational Charity. The centre offers a combination of workshops with an experience of community living. It is well off the beaten foreign tourist track--combining a lush green forest ecosystem with gorgeous sandy Aegean beaches. A place to practice living and thinking holistically, a place to meet new friends who share your aspirations for a better world of peace, partnership and sustainability.

Target Market: Sustainability, Eco Living, Community living, Retreats, Meditation, Healing,
Contact Jock Millenson Senior Coordinator
Telephone +44 208 816 8533
based in Xenonas Martiou Kissos (Tsagarada)
Magnesia GR-37012 Greece