Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Empathic Civilization

From RSA: For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action.

In this clip, bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. This view turns the idea of capitalism on its head, and points the way to a new ethic. It's one promoted by Riane Eisler and Frances Moore Lappe as the basis for a new global economic structure that is regenerative rather than destructive. It follows a path of empowerment rather than destructive and aggressive industrial mechanisms, which have just about destroyed the ecology of our planet.

This makes development for profit an exercise in irrelevance, and gives the lie to massive profits that go to very few at the expense of the rest of the 90% of humanity and the entire ecosystem. Natural Capitalism then becomes the basis of accounting for the entire systemic impact of human habitation and the relationships between people, planet and wildlife.

There's an interesting little example here at The Baseline Scenario of how economics training actually goes against the grain of people's intuitive sense of fairness, which should actually be the guide to effective policy in human relations and economic structures.