Pour a cuppa tea, settle back, and get ready to consider a provocative idea. This is probably about a 4-minute read.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”
So sang R.E.M. in 1987. Is this it, 33 years later? If so, how do we feel about it?
We’ll soon find out how severe the Covid-19 pandemic turns out to be but we already have a chilling hint of the disruptive economic repercussions. That too will take time to fully develop but informed financial experts are now admitting that we are in a sharp global recession. What’s more, it’s increasingly obvious that we won’t be going back to normal any time soon. So, what’s next?
People jumped off ledges in 1929 and this “correction” is already predicted to become more drastic than that one was. Which introduces a question: “What didn’t we learn back then, which doomed us to repeat a financial crash of such magnitude?”
That’s a deep conversation but I’d prefer to leap in another direction because I’m actually VERY EXCITED about the positive possibilities right now, especially economically. But before I explore that for another minute or so, here’s my early morning revelation:
It’s time to turn complaint into gratitude.
For those who don’t read any further, please experiment with that. We all have some time on our hands, right? And for those who do keep reading, you’ll soon discover the connection between this attitude correction and a remarkable opportunity to create some good out of all this with a radically different global economic system.
So, what if this could turn out to be the demise of our current economic system. Should we try to resuscitate it? Or could we do what we have failed to do when this happened before (there have been 47 recessions in US history, 11 major ones beginning in 1785… it’s just part of the system) and pioneer an entirely different system? Could we embrace this as a turning point in how we exchange with each other?
Anyone who has studied finance knows that no paper currency has ever survived. So, gold? Silver? Bitcoin? Is an alternate currency the answer? Yes and no. “No,” I say, because we’d just use it the way we use money, running the same dysfunctional program where “more is better.” More is NOT better in nature. Natural systems thrive on balance. Our human economic system is self-destructing because greed is the core operating system.
“Yes,” I say, because a radical alternative already proven to work is available. I experimented with this back in the eighties when I ran a healing center on a donation basis. During the six years I was there, we never charged fees. Clients chose what they wanted to pay and we always had enough money to cover salaries and bills. People have experimented with gifting exchanges, time banks (I co-founded one here in Ashland), etc. for centuries.
The key difference relates to the fundamental nature of the exchange itself. As is, we pay a set price. This represents a demand for payment. We pay, we take possession of the product or service, that’s that. But this doesn’t make sense for many reasons. I’ll list two:
- Until we have experienced what we are buying we don’t know it’s actual value to us. Sure, there are guarantees but getting a refund isn’t always easy and that process consumes our time, which represents a loss.
- All of us have different financial realities; why should we all pay the same prices?
While conventional exchanges begin with the demand for payment, alternative systems many of us have experimented with begin with generosity. “You need something I offer? I’d love to help. Here, receive what I offer freely, then freely pay me what you choose, based on your finances and what you feel this is worth to you.”
Meanwhile, what does my suggestion to turn complaint into gratitude have to do with creating a new economy?
What if our wealth was measured, not in what we accumulated but in the value we gave? What if we became as eager to give as to receive, no strings attached? To get there with financial exchanges – which bring up all our programming around money – I’m suggesting that we start with something much more manageable: attitude.
Complaining is a virus. It spreads from the complainer to those listening. These days some of us complain all day long, about politicians, corporations, social injustice, etc. Imagine focusing instead on what we can be grateful for. Even in our quarantined world right now, there are many blessings to count, especially for anyone reading these words. You have a device, you have time, you are able to read!
Will you make an important decision right now? If you knew this increased your wealth, would you do it? It will, take my word for it. Anyone who knows my wife and I know that we live an extremely abundant life, without the need for very much money. We trade in generosity and it works.
The decision? Make a commitment to tracking your attitude. Catch yourself when you start complaining and shift into gratitude. And imagine your bank account filling up! Feel your wealth increasing as you give… and as you receive, on this new basis.