Quaker Institute for the Future
Berrett Koehler, a prominent USA book publisher, has agreed to publish the book that the Quaker Institute for the Future team have been working on. The tentative title is Right Relationship: The Hands-On Guide to Building a Whole Earth Economy. It will be available Jan 2009.
The Quaker Institute for the Future arose from a June 2003 gathering at Pendle Hill, USA, on a Consultation on Economics and Ecology. One of its Projects has been a Book Project, started over three years ago, and headed up by Peter Brown, a Professor at McGill School of Environment, and Departments of Geography and Natural Resource Sciences in Canada. The book manuscript has been written by a team, predominantly North American based. (I am the only team member outside of North America.)
The central message is that there is a growing incoherence between the human economy and the integrity of Earth’s life support systems. The international economy has no adequate grounding in science or ethics. The book envisions a restructured economic system based on the right relationship between the human economy and the integrity of Earth’s biosphere.
Addressing the issue of energy use, economic growth, and wealth accumulation, and the way our present economy exploits and damages Earth’s communities of life, is an extremely difficult matter. Virtually everyone in our society, in some way, is living off the pattern of energy use and economic activity that is damaging Earth’s biotic integrity and leading to increasing ecological disruption. Nothing less than a major re-adaptation of human settlements and economic activity is required. Because the magnitude of our dilemma encompasses the whole adaptational stance of our human culture, it reaches deeply into our spiritual life.
The book will deal with the following questions:
How does the economy work?
What is the economy for?
How big or small should the economy be?
What is a fair basis for distributing the benefits and burdens of the economy?
What forms of governance are suited to a flourishing and dynamic whole earth economy?
How can we get there?
It is now generally accepted that global warming is occurring. The latest scientific estimate is that we have until 2015 to make significant changes to the current business-as-usual practices before we tip over the 2 degree Celsius threshold and into the dangerous consequences for human life as we know it. If we are to bring the human economy and the integrity of Earth’s life support systems into a right relationship, the fundamental questions posed need coherent answers.
The book is positioned in relation to an ongoing campaign aimed at a movement for policy level and institutional change. I hope to give more detail in the near future. In the meantime go to http://mecteam.blogspot.com which discusses this and other issues.
Robert Howell, Auckland, New Zealand