Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pete's happiness and sustainability journey

Pete  Wangwongwiroj, who for two year running  conducted a Happiness Initiative at Michigan University, just gave a talk at the AASHE conference on his findings about happiness and social sustainability.  See his presentation here and a re-post of  an article about happiness at AASHE below. Thank you, Pete!

Fear and happiness in Music City

The price of excellence can be very high—if you let it...
By Dave Newport

If you are too stressed out and/or overbooked to read this, that’s a sign.

Of course, if you are sick of my six-cent sendups of otherwise significant subjects, I get it.

And yes, class, this week’s lesson was derived from hours of, er, “research” in Nashville’s finest honky-tonks rocking with the best musicians in the world. Sure, AASHE 2013 helped.

So what can juke joint musicians teach a convention full of sustainablistas?

Answer: the price of excellence can be very high—if you let it.

Indeed, sustainabilistas and the best musicians in the business have one thing in common: passion for the work. And that passion can add harmony or dissonance to your life; it’s your choice.

A fear of happiness?

For me, Music City laid down a groove of happiness so catchy I got tired of grinning, whistling, singing, humming and hooting.

I had to ask myself how is that possible? How could my happiness muscles be so out of shape?

Worse, I seem to have a lot of company.

At the sustainability professionals’ workshop that preceded the AASHE conference, 60-70 of us shared our biggest professional development challenges.

Work-life balance was the loudest tune we all sang. We’re stressed out.

We are also frustrated at the low influence over sustainability we have on our campuses. Many feel professionally unfulfilled because our sphere of influence is insufficient to fully create what we know must happen. Yet we are so passionate about that mission we will work countless hours, not make time to have a life, and find ourselves in frustrated, unhappy places.

You know who I am talking about. You. Me. Indeed, my frustration has made me do/not-do some things that didn’t need to/needed to happen. Lousy sentence. Long story.

Short story: being effective at sustainability can be a trap.

Listening to these gifted musicians playing just for tips in Nashville’s many honky-tonks really brought it home for me. These guys are so passionate about their music that many of their personal lives are way off key.  

This is a lesson about the music of life.

The best guitar picker of the many soul-searing players we heard has two kids, no wife, two jobs, rode a crappy Honda 360 motorcycle with his Telecaster and amp on the back (what a sight), and took home ~$150 in tips from four hours of A-list virtuosity in a Broadway juke joint.  He alternately channeled and matched the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tony Rice, and Chet Atkins before the night was over. A sickly talented guy—in every sense of the word—and a wreck looking for a place to have one.

Singing a different tune

It doesn’t have to be that way, says musician John Lennon:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

The Dali Lama put it a little more directly:

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.”

So this may be a hard tune for sustainabilistas to sing, but unless we want to argue with the Dali Lama and John Lennon we have to consider that saving the planet might need to take a back seat to being happy. And pragmatically we have to consider that if we burn out we’re useless on the whole planet-saving thing. On the other hand, if we go for happiness maybe we’re more effective at averting Armageddon.

Just saying.

So Music City provided sustainabilistas with a bridge linking together the melody and the chorus of our lives. We just need to play it.

For instance, a couple of great sessions at the conference focused on happiness programs that are increasingly—or should be—a part of sustainability’s focus.

A bright-light grad student from the University of Michigan illuminated their happiness program to a packed room. The goal of the Happiness Initiative at UM is to spark conversations on what makes life worth living and what makes you happy.

Hard to fault that.

Bottom line: your happiness comes 25% from what life does to you and 75% from how you think about it.

So, lots of room for happiness initiatives to crank up because we must not be thinking about it very well. 

For instance, the average US “Gross National Happiness” index is at 67%--a D.  We need a GNH to monitor our happiness because, as Robert F. Kennedy once noted:

“[GDP] measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

And of the GNH’s ten domains that break down peoples’ happiness drivers, work-life balance scores the lowest at 50%--a F. And it’s worse for students.

Likewise, sustainability professionals may be more challenged than most to get their GNH up—given that we’re all gaflemptabout the end of the world and other such nonsense.

We’re buzzkills at parties for sure. And I don't want to forget all my inner angst; it helps drive me.

However, in Nashville for a few days--and at great personal sacrifice-- we managed to have extraordinarily good times partying with our peeps. Maybe when we know everyone around us is down with the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh thing we can let it flow.

Or maybe we just started thinking about it right.

Taking it home

In the final stanza of AASHE’s best conference ever—been to them all (props to AASHE staff!)—Interface’s George Bandy scored a sonata for the future.

First he sang a positive, hopeful tune as charted by the late Ray Anderson, who keynoted previous AASHE conferences, and should be the first inductee into the yet to be established Sustainability Hall of Fame.

Bandy’s key notes came from the 75/25 happiness song in full throat. Highlighting the improvisation of an impoverished community built on top of a landfill, he played a video that resolved the dissonance and tension of unsettling minor chords literally into a beautiful symphony. Sorry for mashing a metaphor—but watch the “LandFillHarmonic” video and it all becomes clear. And fear not: this video will make you happy.

Walking through the Country Music Hall of Fame, I was struck by how unhappy some stars’ lives had been. They were super on stage—but lived otherwise sad, unhappy days. George Jones’ life of drugs is well chronicled. Gram Parsons’ drug abuse terminated his totally talented body at age 26. And then there’s the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis. The list goes on.

Sustainability professionals are no good to the world dead, depressed, or dependent.  We have too much life to affirm, too many lives to help. Life is good. Let's get some.

My take-home is to play my git-box more, turn down some of the bad habits, turn up the volume on compassion, remember I can’t fix everything—and kick serious ass on the problems I can.

Best quote in the above video: “my life would be worthless without music.”

Coda: me too.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Repost : Otto on going from Ego to Eco

Repost! For all you philosophers our there: want to feel inspired? Read this.

10 insights on the Ego-2-Eco Economy Revolution

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 | Uncategorized
We live in an age of profound disruption. Global crises, such as finance, food, fuel, water, resource scarcity and poverty challenge just about every aspect of society. Yet, this disruption also brings the possibility of profound personal, societal and global renewal. We need to stop and ask: Why do we collectively create results nobody wants? What keeps us locked into the old ways of operating? And what can we do to transform these root issues that keep us trapped in the patterns of the past?
The book Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economiesponders these questions and proposes a new line of thought that is summarized in the 10 insights below.
(1) The root cause of today’s global crises originates between our ears — in our outdated paradigms of economic thought.
Wherever you go and talk with people, they already know or feel that we are approaching a moment of disruption. You’ll find this is the case whether it’s a team at the top of global companies, governments, civil society organizations, or citizens gathered for grassroots-level community meetings. Most people today feel that we live in a time where something is ending, and something else wants to be born. This feeling is so common that we almost take it for granted now. Yet, just 10 or 15 years ago it didn’t exist the way it does today.
The symptoms of the current crises can be summarized in terms of three divides that disconnect self from the primary sources of life: ecological, social, and spiritual. The ecological divide manifests in symptoms like environmental destruction. We currently use 1.5 times the regeneration capacity of planet earth.  In other words, we actually use 1.5 planets! The social divide manifests in increasing rates of poverty, inequity, fragmentation and polarization. And the spiritual divide shows up in increased rates of burnout, depression and in an increasing disconnect of GDP from the actual well-being of people.
Figure 1 depicts these symptoms of our current crisis as the surface level of an iceberg model. The ecological divide is based on a disconnect between self and nature. The social divide disconnects self from other. And the spiritual divide is based on a disconnect betweenself and self — between the current self (which resulted from our journey of the past) and the emerging future self (that may result from our journey to the future).
What driving forces cause the deepening of the three divides? If the symptoms represent the visible part of our current reality iceberg above the waterline, what does the systemic structure below the waterline look like?
Figure 1 shows two levels of causal factors below the waterline. At first there is a set of eight systemic key issues. A structural disconnect between:
  • the infinite growth imperative and the finite resources of planet earth;
  • between the Haves and the Have Nots;
  • between the financial and the real economy;
  • between technology and real societal needs;
  • between institutional leadership and people;
  • between gross domestic product (GDP) and actual well-being;
  • between governance mechanisms and the voiceless in our systems; and
  • between actual ownership forms and best societal use of property.
Fig 1
Figure 1:  Three Levels: Symptoms; Systemic Disconnects; Paradigms of Economic Thought
These structural disconnects depict a broken system. But what is the root cause that gives rise to these disconnects and their systemic bubbles?
We believe that the most important root cause for these systemic disconnects originates directly from our paradigms of economic thought.
Like most things on earth, economic frameworks also have their life-cycle of birth, development, growth, and finally a phase of outliving their usefulness. The frameworks of modern economic theory are no exception. For example, after the world economic crises of the 1930s, the mainstream economic thinking evolved by opening up to Keynesian macroeconomic thought, which then shaped policy making for the better part of the remaining century.  Then, after the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, mainstream economic thinking evolved again by opening up to Milton Friedman’s articulation of monetarism, which influenced policy making for the decades that followed. How then has the mainstream economic thinking evolved and opened up as a result of the global financial crisis in 2007/8?
Unfortunately, there has not been any significant evolution or opening of the mainstream thinking since the financial crisis, and our economic debates are still shaped by the same frameworks, faces, and false dichotomies that ushered in the crisis. This is even more worrisome as the 2007/8 crisis may well mark a bigger disruption than the two crises previously mentioned. This is precisely why the development of an advanced economic framework is one of our primary tasks today.
The main shortcomings of conventional economic frameworks and theory can be summarized in two words: externalities and consciousness. While externalities have been discussed at length, consciousness tends to not even be noticed.
(2) The blind spot of modern economic thought can be summarized with a single word: consciousness 
Consciousness doesn’t register as a category of economic thought.  It happens to be a blind spot. However, in the reality of business leadership, the real role of a CEO has everything to do with it.  For example, most work of managing change boils down to helping conflicting stakeholder systems to move from one way of operating to another, that is, from just seeing their own point of view to seeing the problem from multiple perspectives. Whenever people leave their own points of view and begin to appreciate the perspectives of other stakeholders as well, the consequence will be better collaborative relationships and better results.
Yet, in spite of its growing practical relevance, consciousness still doesn’t register as a category of economic thought.
(3) The evolution of the economy and of modern economic thought mirrors the footprints of an evolving human consciousness. 
The history of the economy and of modern economic thought can be reconstructed as the embodiment of an evolving human consciousness. The modern economy is based on division of labor, which consequently has led to enormous leaps in productivity. Division of labor comes with the question: How do we coordinate all these individual activities to a coherent whole?
Viewed from this angle, we can differentiate four responses to this question, which include the stages of economic development that come with them:
1.0  Organizing around centralized coordination: This involves organizing around hierarchy and central planning, giving rise to centralized economies (socialism, mercantilism), and embodying the traditional forms of values and awareness.
2.0 Organizing around decentralized coordination: This involves organizing around markets and competition, giving rise to the second (private) sector, the free market economy. This embodies the state of ego-system awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of oneself.
3.0 Organizing around special interest group driven coordination: This involves organizingaround stakeholder negotiations and dialogue, giving rise to the third (social) sector and the social market economy (stakeholder capitalism). This embodies the state of stakeholder awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of oneself and one’s immediate stakeholders.
4.0 Organizing around commons: This involves organizing around awareness based collective action (ABC) as a mechanism to transform stakeholder relationships from habitual to co-creative. This way of operating embodies eco-system awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of other stakeholders and the whole.
Although each culture and country navigates its own journey through these states and stages, there is a tendency to move from 1.0 to 4.0. There also is a growing complexity through these states, as earlier forms continue to exist in the later stages, i.e., 1.0 institutions (like hierarchies) and 2.0 institutions (like markets) continue to exist in a 3.0 or 4.0 economy, but they do so in an evolved larger meta-context defined by the respective stage. 1
Historic examples for 1.0 include the 18th century mercantilism. For 2.0 we only need look at the 19th century free market or laissez faire economies. The 20th century version of the social market economy or stakeholder capitalism brings us to 3.0. Examples of where the current 3.0 model hits the wall include various types of global externalities. The collapse of the climate talks in Copenhagen and the successful intervention of Wall Street banks after 2008 to prevent effective banking regulation to be passed are prime examples for the systemic failure of Capitalism 3.0 to deal with the major challenges of our time.
Thus, the evolution and complexity of the real economy is calling for an evolution of our awareness from 1.0 (habitual), 2.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego), and 3.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego and some of my direct stakeholders) to 4.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego, all stakeholders, and of the whole eco-system).
In other words, the economic imperatives of our time call for an evolution of our self from ego to eco, from one state of awareness to another. This is not just for moral reasons, but also for economic reasons because getting stuck in the state of the ego no longer makes for good business.
(4) To paraphrase Einstein, the problem with today’s capitalism is that we are trying “to solve problems with the same consciousness that created them.”
The issues of the three divides may be more intense today, but they are not new. So what have we learned in dealing with them over the past 100 or so years?
We treat the symptoms. For each problem we created ministries, academic departments, NGO clusters, foundations, journals, conferences, career tracks, and so on. In short, we’ve established for each problem a silo solution, a small industry that responds to the respective issue on a symptom basis. If we have learned one thing from the past 100 years it might be: We cannot solve these issues by addressing them one symptom at a time. We keep missing the interconnectedness among the three divides and the deeper systemic root issues from which they originate. We are busy doing exactly what Einstein warned us against: reacting to problems with the same consciousness that created them.
We’re wasting our resources by trying to solve 4.0 (eco-system) problems with 2.0 or 3.0 response patterns. And by debating whether our response should be shaped by 2.0 or 3.0 mechanisms, we are wasting our public conversation with false alternatives. The real questions that we should be asking are: How do we advance our economic thought and action to 4.0?  How do we construct pioneering pathways into the co-creative eco-system economy?
(5) Helping stakeholder systems shift their way of operating from ego-system to eco-system awareness is the central leadership challenge of our time.
Helping stakeholder systems to shift their way of operating from ego- to eco-system awareness is “central” not only in the sense that it is shared across systems, but also in that the well-being and survival of our children and future generations depends on our ability to develop such collective capacities now.
Today’s companies can be likened to today’s nation states. Both are too small for the big problems and too big for the small problems. As a consequence, top-level leaders face major multi-stakeholder challenges that require them to link with and influence large groups of key stakeholders in their eco-systems or extended enterprise. The bigger your extended enterprise, the more success will depend on your ability to make the stakeholders in your system see each other, see the whole, and to care about the well-being of the whole.
We have been doing change work in a variety of systems, including business, education, health, government, and community-based organizations. What struck us throughout these experiences is that the fundamental leadership challenges across these systems are basically the same. They deal with convening large, complex stakeholder groups, making them listen to each other, bringing them on a journey of seeing the system through the eyes of other stakeholders, taking them to a place of deep reflection and stillness, and allowing them to connect to their own sources of inspiration and energy.
(6) The shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness requires a journey that involves walking in the shoes of other stakeholders and attending to the three instruments of inner knowing: open mind, open heart, and open will.
What does it take to shift the awareness of a stakeholder system from ego to eco? As described in the book Theory U: it takes a journey. A journey that not only involves walking in the shoes of other —often the least privileged — stakeholders, but a journey that involves the awakening of three inner instruments of knowing: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. 2
Open mind is the capacity to see with fresh eyes and to suspend old habits of thought. Open heart is the capacity to empathize, to see the situation through the eyes of another stakeholder. Open will is the capacity of letting-go and letting-come: Letting-go of old identities (“Us vs. Them”), and letting-come a new sense of possibility and self.
Fig 2
Figure 2: Theory U: One Process, Three Instruments (Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Will)
The effectiveness of accessing these three instruments depends on the ability to deal with the sources of resistance (“three enemies”):
  • VoJ (Voice of Judgment): The VoJ shuts down the Open Mind by habitually judging self and others. All creativity techniques start with somehow suspending the VoJ.
  • VoC (Voice of Cynicism): The VoC shuts down the Open Heart by offering an easy alternative to making oneself vulnerable. The problem with that easy exit is that it does the same thing as the VoJ: it blocks one’s opening process for accessing the deeper sources of creativity.
  • VoF (Voice of Fear): The VoF tends to shut down the Open Will by not letting go but holding on to old identities, ideologies, and Us vs. Them belief structures.
The better we learn to deal with these three “enemies,” the higher our mastery will be in accessing the deeper sources of our co-creative knowing.
(7) Addressing the current global crisis at its root calls for a 4.0 update of the economic operating system through reframing eight “acupuncture points” of the global economic system.  
When in the late 19th and early 20th century the 2.0 laissez-faire capitalism hit the wall in the form of poverty, inequity, environmental issues, and cyclical financial crises, societies responded by creating a string of institutional innovations that set the stage for capitalism 3.0 (unions, federal reserve banks, legislation for labor, farmers, and the environment). Today, as capitalism 3.0 hits the wall of global externalities, we need another update of our economic operating system to 4.0.
This time the institutional innovations need to involve another set of acupuncture points. Here is a list of institutional innovations that all deal with closing the feedback loop of “matter” and “mind” in the economy, that is, of economic action and the well-being of the ecological-social-spiritual whole (“eco-system”). They are:
  1. Nature:  Close the feedback loop of production, consumption, reuse, and recycling through “earth-to-earth” or closed-loop design.
  2. Labor:  Close the feedback loop from work (jobs) to Work (passion) by building infrastructures that foster and ignite inspired entrepreneurship.
  3. Capital:  Close the feedback loop of capital by redirecting speculative investment into ecological, social, and cultural-creative renewal.
  4. Technology:  Close the feedback loop from technology creation to societal needs in underserved communities through needs assessment and participatory planning.
  5. Leadership:  Close the feedback loop from leadership to the emerging future of the whole through practices of co-sensing, co-inspiring, and co-creating.
  6. Consumption:  Close the feedback loop from economic output to the well-being of all through conscious, collaborative consuming and through new well-being indicators such as GNH (Gross National Happiness).
  7. Coordination:  Close the feedback loop in the economy from the parts to the whole through ABC (awareness-based collective action).
  8. Ownership:  Close the feedback loop from ownership rights to the best societal use of assets through shared ownership and commons-based property rights that safeguard the interests of future generations.
As depicted in Figure 3, the journey from 2.0 to 4.0 (as spelled out in more detail through the Matrix of Economic Evolution in the book) is not only a journey from ego to eco, it is a journey of reframing the essence of economic thought around all eight acupuncture points that reintegrate matter and mind in the economy.
Fig 3
Figure 3: Eight Acupuncture Points of Transforming Capitalism to 4.0
For example, nature, labor, and capital are no longer conceptualized as a mere commodity but reframed as eco-systems, entrepreneurship, and creative capital, respectively.
(8) Shifting the system to 4.0 requires a threefold revolution.
What does it take to put economy and society 4.0 onto its feet? It takes a threefold revolution: an individual, a relational, and an institutional inversion.  Each inversion is a U-type of process as indicated in figure 2. It is a process where some deeper or dormant capacities are opening up or awakening. Inversion means turning inside-out and outside-in.
Individual inversion means to open up thinking (open mind), feeling (open heart), and will (open will) in order to learn to act as an instrument for the future that is wanting to emerge.
Relational inversion means to open up communicative relationships from downloading (conforming) and debate (defending) to dialogue (reflective inquiry) and collective creativity (flow) in order to tune as groups into the field of the future.
Institutional inversion means to open traditional institutional geometries of power from 1.0 and 2.0 forms of coordinating and organizing — centralized hierarchy and decentralized competition — to 3.0 and 4.0 forms of coordinating around co-creative stakeholder relationships in eco-systems that generate well-being for all.
 Fig 4
Figure 4: The Matrix of Social Evolution (all system levels, all structures of attention)
Figure 4 depicts the three transformations for the individual (column 1), the relational (column 2) and the institutional inversion (column 3 and 4) in the form of a Matrix of Social Evolution that integrates all system levels (micro-meso-maco-mundo) and all structures of awareness (1.0 to 4.0).
Some of the first research with this framework shows that many change makers do have level four experiences on the micro and meso level, but that the level four examples for the macro and mundo level are rare and seen as critical bottlenecks in the current development stages of the systems.
(9) We need new types of innovation infrastructures in order to build collective leadership capacities on a massive scale.
Many people think that what’s missing in order to move to a new economy is just a set of better ideas. That, of course, is not the case. We need much more than new ideas. We need new innovation structures and social technologies that will allow groups to move from their habitual levels to the new co-create level 4. These infrastructures will include:
  1. Co-initiating: Creating spaces for convening stakeholders around a shared eco-system.
  2. Co-sensing: Going to the places of most potential and observing with one’s mind and heart wide open.
  3. Co-inspiring: Creating spaces for connecting to the sources of creativity and self.
  4. Co-creating: Creating spaces for exploring the future by doing (prototyping).
  5. Co-shaping: Creating spaces for embodying and scaling the new through practices.
Of these infrastructures, the co-sensing and co-inspiring ones are particularly underdeveloped in society today.  Trying to advance societal innovation by just talking about them or by talking about their final stages (number 4 or 5 of the above infrastructure list) is like playing a violin without a body, or to use another analogy, building a house without a foundation and ground floor.
What would be necessary today is an interconnected set of global sensing hotspots that would allow for local, regional, and global players to connect around specific issue areas in order to co-sense, co-inspire and co-create through multi-local prototyping.
(10) The shift from an ego-system to an eco-system economy requires a global movement that needs to be supported by a new leadership school. That school should create collaborative platforms across sectors, systems, and generations and work through integrating science, art, and the practice of profound, awareness-based change.
We began with locating the root cause of today’s predicament between our ears and in our old patterns of thought, particularly our economic thought.  To shift these patterns takes no less than an intentional global infrastructure (or leadership school) that focuses not only on a new framework, but also on practical methods and tools to realize the shift from ego to eco and how to awaken a new quality of thinking that links the head, heart, and hand.
Such a new leadership school would be a home base for the emerging global movement of 4.0-related transformation journeys. At the same time, it would prototype a 21st century action university that integrates three forms of knowledge: technical knowledge (know-what), practical knowledge (know-how) and transformation knowledge (know-who: self knowledge). Here is a first set of principles that are essential for this type of school and which are designed for global-local replication:
  1. Engage systems at all levels and states: Engage systems by using the entire Matrix of Social Evolution (figure 4).
  2. Engage all levels of intelligence: Integrate open mind (IQ: intellectual knowledge), open heart (EQ: emotional and relational knowledge), and open will (SQ: self knowledge).
  3. Systems Thinking: Integrate methods and tools derived from 30 years of organizational learning research and practice. 3
  4. MOOCs: Use massive open online courses that combine course delivery with interactive personal, small-group dialogue and the presence of a global community of change makers that effects transformative change.
  5. Deep immersion: Use deep dive learning journeys and generative listening practices in order to connect communities and places of most potential.
  6. Science 2.0: Use scientific methods that let the “data talk to you.” The challenges of this century involve extending the concept of science beyond looking exclusively at exterior data (third-person view). We need to bend the beam of scientific observation back upon the observer in order to investigate the more subtle levels of experience of the second- and first-person view. 4
  7. Presencing: Use practices that allow leaders to sense and actualize the emerging future and to clarify the two root questions of creativity: Who is my Self? What is my Work?
  8. Power of Intention: Focus on the capacity to connect with the deeper intention of one’s journey, connecting us more deeply with one another, the world and ourselves.
  9. Prototyping: Link head, heart, and hand in order to create living examples and prototypes that allow us to explore the future by doing.
  10. Power of Place: Complement the massive expansion of online learning with an equally massive global network of vibrant entrepreneurial hubs that focus on activating co-sensing and co-creating as a gateway for unleashing entrepreneurial potential. Great innovations happen in places. Learning how to design and hold spaces for reflection, generative conversation, and system-wide transformation is a mission critical capacity today.
Fig 5
Fig. 5: An Ego-2-Eco Transformation Leadership School—A Set of Global Acupuncture Points
Profound personal, societal and global renewal is not only possible; it is crucial for our planetary future.  What is needed are change makers willing to lead from the emerging future; leaders who are willing to learn about and practice the journey from ego-system to eco-system economies. We have the places, living examples, frameworks and tools in hand. Now what we need is the co-creative vision and the common will to bringing it into reality.
  1. Notice that the distinctions from 1.0 to 4.0 only apply to the modern economy. Pre-modern states or economic and social development share many same features, but also some significant differences with 4.0. The perspective presented in the book combines both Eastern—cyclical—and Western—linear—aspects, linking them to a spiral or U based integral view.   
  2.  Scharmer, C. Otto (2009), Theory U: Leading from the Emerging Future as It Emerges: The Social Technology of Presencing (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler).  
  3.  Senge, P., (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organizatio(NY: Random House).  
  4.  Scharmer, C.O., and P. Senge (2001), Community Action Research. In: Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury (eds.), Handbook of Action Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. 

A cool chance to give - Survive the Streets

Today opens Survive the Street's Crowdfunding Campaign. There are many chances to give in this life, so one has to be picky. We believe this is a really good one:

We believe that we can change the way we solve social problems by applying technology and building community. Our directed giving platform helps you identify people you can support with a few clicks of a mouse. Go to survivethestreets.org to see for yourself
support our crowdfunding campaign to help people on the edge of homelessness.

A message from Michael Grabham, the ED of Survive the Streets
Some of you already know that I have been working on this homeless project for some time to help fill the gap where nonprofits can’t help those on the edge of homelessness. We are ready to tell more people about it. We have helped a single mom get her car repaired so she can go to her new job, we have helped someone get a dentist appointment for the first time in 5 years and more stories continue to happen. We just need to get more people involved and aware of how easy it is to help others.  I am asking you to share this in any way you see possible. I have made it super easy for you
just use the clicktotweets or copy and paste the messages below. We even have started to get some press from Geekwire, Venturebeat and others so some people think it is important.
http://clicktotweet.com/047zv  New website prevents #homelessness by filling gaps when existing nonprofits can’t

http://clicktotweet.com/Ky8C3   Technology as a disrupter! Site launches to help prevent #homelessness by filling gaps when existing nonprofits can’t
We are all very busy each day working hard to accomplish our goals and most of us are just too busy to help others less fortunate. I know I am. I have 2 friends who have done something very special to help others and I am asking you to take a couple of minutes to watch and listen. Video link.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Re-post: Workers of the World, Relax! - From Center for Humans & Nature

Workers of the World, Relax!

The late, great environmentalist David Brower used to say that there will be no profits, no corporations, no economic growth, and, by implication, no successful economies on a dead planet. Brower, who made the Sierra Club a powerful force for conservation and founded Friends of the Earth, often delivered what he called his sermon. He compressed the age of the earth, some 4.6 billion years, into the Biblical week of creation. When you do this, a day represents about 650 million years, an hour, 27 million, a minute, about 450,000 years, and a second, 7,500.
On Sunday morning, the earth congeals from cosmic gases. In the next few hours, land masses and oceans begin to form, and by Tuesday afternoon, the first tiny “proto-cells,” of life emerge, probably from scalding primordial vents in the bottom of the oceans. In the next few days, life forms become larger, more complex, and more wondrous.
Before dawn on the last day—Saturday—trilobites and other strangely-shaped creatures swim by the millions in the Cambrian seas. Half a billion years later, in real time, we will be amazed by their fossils, scattered about the globe.
Around the middle of that very last day of the week, those gargantuan beasts, the Great Reptiles, some mild, some menacing, thunder across the land and fill the sky. The dinosaurs enjoy a long run, commanding Earth’s stage for more than four hours, until a monstrous meteorite, landing in the Gulf of Mexico, makes the climate too cold and ends their reign.
By the late afternoon and evening on Saturday, mammals, furry, warm-blooded, and able to withstand a cooler world, flourish and evolve until, just a few minutes before midnight on that final night of the week, Homo sapiens walks erect on two legs and learns to speak, use fire, and create increasingly complex forms of organization.
Only about 10,000 years ago in real time, less than two seconds before midnight in our metaphor, humans develop agriculture and start building cities. At a third of a second before midnight, Buddha is born; at a quarter of a second, Christ.
Only a thirtieth of a second before midnight, we launch the Industrial Revolution, and after World War II—perhaps a hundredth of a second before midnight in our week of creation, on the final night—the age of consumerism, the age of stuff, begins.
In that hundredth of a second, Brower and others have pointed out, we have managed to consume more resources than did all human beings all together in all of previous history. We have diminished our soil, fisheries, fossil fuels, and who knows what other resources by half. We have caused the extinction of countless other species, and we have changed the climate.
Think about it; try to grasp in your mind what it means that we have done all of this in the blink of the geological eye.
There are people, Brower went on to say, who believe that what we have been doing for that last one-hundredth of a second can go on indefinitely. If they even consider the issue, they believe, without evidence, that application of new technologies will allow our continued hyper-exploitation of the planet’s resources.
They are considered normal, reasonable, intelligent people; indeed, they run our corporations and our governments. But in reality, they are stark raving mad. It will be hard to change their minds and hard to change our behaviors, but not nearly as hard as it would be to change the laws of physics or find other habitable planets to exploit. We simply can’t grow on like this.
Already, our “ecological footprint” is well in excess of what is sustainable for future generations. The limits suggested by Brower and others often call forth a sense of “gloom and doom,” a sense that sacrifices for the sake of the biosphere will mean lives of poverty and misery for all. But the good news is that the world doesn’t have to continue the same patterns of economic growth to attain high levels of human well-being and happiness.
The relationship between money and well-being is complex, but it does not suggest that future happiness requires endless growth in incomes. Indeed, the dominant, though frequently challenged theory for the past several decades has been the “Easterlin Paradox,” named for its creator, economist Richard Easterlin. That theory offers two major conclusions:
1. When comparing individuals within a country, wealthier people report greater happiness, but
2. When making international comparisons, national income per person beyond a level of modest affluence is only weakly related to peoples’ happiness levels.
There is a significant exception to this second assertion: The lowest income countries—those without enough money for food and shelter—are least happy with their lives. Evidence indicates that this is also true on an individual level. Recent survey data in the United States, for example, has found that people in poverty are less happy, are more likely than those not in poverty to suffer from chronic health problems, and are disproportionately prone to suffer from psychological depression.
When GDP rises in low-income countries, it is often accompanied by significant gains in happiness. But beyond a modestly comfortable standard of living, there is very little relationship between national income and happiness. Countries whose people have enough income to meet their basic needs are barely less happy than those with greater wealth.
Easterlin bases these conclusions on a wealth of data. If correct, his theory has far-reaching implications for policy decisions. While the eradication of poverty should be a primary goal of government policies aimed at improving happiness, the same is not necessarily true for economic growth per se, which, beyond a modest level of comfort and security, does little to improve well-being. Moreover, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have demonstrated that the Easterlin paradox holds in many other areas of life as well as happiness—life expectancy, educational levels, leisure time, and so forth.
Uneconomic Growth
There has been much recent controversy regarding Easterlin’s thesis, with some researchers pointing out that in many cases, happiness levels do continue to grow—albeit slowly—along with GDP, even in the richest nations. But while some gains in happiness may continue past the point at which the curve of happiness tends to flatten out, they are often far too modest to justify their costs in decreased equity and sustainability. Economist Jeffrey Sachs and others (including Easterlin) have made the case that where such gains do continue, they are likely to be greatest in more equal societies with strong social and economic safety nets, such as the Nordic countries. Nonetheless, such gains are still coupled with potentially unsustainable resource use.
While the economic paradigm based on limitless growth prevails in nearly all nations, the United States provides the clearest powerful example of the Easterlin paradox. Although U.S. per capita GDP has tripled since the late 1950s in real dollar terms, levels of happiness remain essentially the same as they were then.
Economic growth, our current indicator of success, is measured by the rise of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the market value of the goods and services we produce—the sum total of things bought and sold. It’s commonly agreed that GDP is a blunt instrument; it doesn’t measure valuable activities that are not monetized (e.g., housework) and it counts (as a plus) expenditures that only alleviate things gone wrong (e.g., cancer treatments). Perhaps Bobby Kennedy put it best when he said, “It measures, in short, everything except that which makes life worthwhile.”
Economist Herman Daly argues that “growth” refers to purely quantitative expansion, while “development” denotes qualitative improvement. As Manfred Max-Neef puts it, “Growth is not the same thing as development and development does not necessarily require growth.” Indeed, as we have seen, if such growth comes at the expense of equality, sustainability, or the ability to meet essential non-material needs, it may actually impede development and well-being. It becomes, in Daly’s words, “uneconomic growth.” Much current growth, comprised of defensive measures against the negative impacts of earlier growth, can be seen in this way.
By all accounts, the United States’ economy has grown faster than those of Europe over the past two decades, when measured by GDP. We trumpet that fact as indicating the success of our economic model. But Italian economist Stefano Bartolini makes a powerful case for a different view. He says our more rapid growth rate is a symptom of American socio-economic decay, not dynamism. In his new book, Manifesto for Happiness, to be published in English this year by the University of Pennsylvania, Bartolini calls the United States “the example not to follow.”
In short, his argument is this: growing inequality has left median American hourly incomes flat for a generation while GDP doubled. We were able to purchase the increased volume of consumer goods produced by working longer hours and by taking on excessive personal debt. But more work and more stuff have left us lonelier and less connected with each other, while growing debt has led to calls for slashing taxes, leading to higher prices for public goods such as higher education or access to public parks.
We have been encouraged to counter these losses by purchasing even more private goods (Want friends? Buy a hot car . . . Want nature? Fly to a tropical paradise . . . Need time? Eat fast food . . . ), leading to even heavier debt and workloads. Moreover, our lifestyles, built around private consumption, have created low-density sprawl that makes public transit too expensive and encourages automobile dependence, longer commutes, and even less social connection, while further reducing public space and access to nature. It’s a vicious circle.
In short, Bartolini argues, free or publicly-provided and often non-material need-satisfiers have atrophied or been crowded out by costly private consumer goods. The outcome is poor health (the worst in the rich world), time stress, greater anxiety, and diminished happiness, including a suicide rate that now exceeds that for traffic fatalities. Yet our expenditures to soften these impacts (the highest health care costs in the world, for example) mean our economy grows faster than Europe’s, where people work and consume less and devote more time to social relationships. We are hamsters, turning the wheel faster and faster but never moving forward to better lives.
This result can scarcely be called a “successful” economy. Economic success is better measured the way Bhutan does. Since 1972, that tiny Himalayan kingdom has been promoting Gross National Happiness rather than GDP. With Bhutan’s encouragement, the United Nations is now advocating “equitable and sustainable well-being” as the goal of development instead of mere economic growth, while asking member nations to measure their success in pursuing happiness. A better measurement of “success” is the first step toward well-being.
In the United States, an organization called The Happiness Initiative (www.happycounts.org) has been working with colleges and communities on such a measurement of progress, using a comprehensive but short survey that measures life satisfaction in ten “domains” identified by researchers as essential for happiness: financial security; environmental quality; physical and mental health; education; arts and culture; government; social connection; workplace quality;and time balance.
“Time balance” scores for Americans are uniformly low, leading to my own recipe—supported by luminaries Juliet Schor, Gus Speth, and others—for strategically moving toward a successful economy without continuous economic growth: work reduction. Americans, who work some of the longest hours among rich countries, are increasingly stressed by overwork; indeed, cardiologist Sarah Speck calls workplace stress “the new tobacco.” It negatively impacts both health and happiness. She says she is now seeing heart attacks among patients in their forties and fifties, while when she started out in medicine a generation ago, she didn’t see them until patients were in their sixties and seventies.
Ironically, such overwork is increasingly combined with underwork—many Americans cannot find sufficient paid employment to meet basic needs, and unemployment, while down a bit in the past couple of years, is still much higher than the United States would have considered acceptable a generation ago.
High unemployment is certainly no indication of economic success; indeed, it contributes greatly to unhappiness. As productivity increases, employment must be maintained either by greater production and consumption (with attendant environmental costs) or by sharing and shortening work hours through reduced work weeks, longer vacations, liberal family and sick leave policies, and greater opportunities for decently-remunerated part-time work with benefits.
Work reduction would provide more economic security and more time for self-chosen activity—exercise, gardening, volunteering, environmental restoration and stewardship, socializing, stress-reducing leisure, personal care-giving. Yet this obvious answer to the question of how to create a successful economy without continuous growth has been systematically excluded from American politics since the Second World War.
The organization Take Back Your Time (www.timeday.org) has been working to shorten work time by, among other methods, requiring paid vacation time for American workers, who currently have the shortest vacations in the rich world. Sarah Speck says she often tells her patients to “take two weeks (not two aspirins) and call me in the morning.” But often, they cannot get the time off. The United States is one of only five nations in the world—the others are Nepal, Burma, Suriname, and Guyana—without a paid vacation law, and more than a quarter of American workers (the poorest) have no access to paid vacations and cannot afford to take time off without pay.
Eighty years ago, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would have made the official American workweek thirty hours, with extra pay for overtime. Today, when we are at least five times more productive per worker hour and are experiencing high levels of unemployment, it’s time to give shorter working hours another look. Doing so would not only provide more access to jobs, it would provide more time for us to take care of our health, families, communities, and environment. Recent studies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and by researchers at Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden have also found that work reduction leads to significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the culprit in climate change.
Some argue that it will be very difficult to change the laws that permit work without end. Again, they forget that it will be far harder to change the laws of physics to permit growth without end. Economic justice and environmental sustainability both require work-time reductions. Conrad Schmidt, of British Columbia’s Work Less Party, puts the solution in simplest terms: Workers of the World, Relax!

John de Graaf is a documentary filmmaker, Executive Director of Take Back Your Time (www.timeday.org) and co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (Berrett-Koehler, 2001) and What’s the Economy For, Anyway? Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness (Bloomsbury, 2011).