Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Where do we start to change ourselves?

Posted Dec 15, 2012 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, No Comments

If Sandy was a wake-up call to global warming, then this murder of children should be a wake-up call to—to what?  I remember that section in Michael Moore’s film on Columbine, where he is wondering why we are so violent.  After exploring the usual suspects, he turns toward the idea of a culture of fear.  After learning yesterday that 4 out of 10 Americans believe that Sandy was not a sign of global warming, but of the “end of times,” there may be more truth in this idea than we would like to believe.

Why do we have 25% of the prisoners in the world when we are only 5 % of the global population?  Why do Californian taxpayers pay more for prisons than for schools?  Why do we have more than we want of “true believers,” and more than our share of hate groups?

Considering all the shootings—around 11,000 shooting homicides a year—fear would seem quite justified.  “Now we need to arm our teachers.”  No, we need to explore the fear that is driving organizations like the National Rifle Association and other right wing groups that use religion and guns to shield themselves from whatever it is they fear.  And what is that?

Hard to know, but I want to suggest that we explore our deep assumptions about scarcity and abundance; about a worldview where everyone cannot get what they need.  If we created a world of abundance, what could scare us?

This is not only an individual issue, but also a social one.  We can structure our organizations and institutions so there is enough for all.   We can design our educational institutions so learning takes on as many styles as there are different needs and talents.  We can design our world according to the dictates of abundance instead of the dictates of scarcity. Some are already moving in this direction.  More need to join them.

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Marvin T. Brown, Ph.D teaches business and organizational ethics at the University of San Francisco and Saybrook University in San Francisco.

This book is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and writing on business and society from a communicative perspective. Visit for more information.

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