And economic systems are a key element of ALL cultures
I have in this book argued that we need a caring economics more congruent with the direction in evolution toward greater consciousness, creativity and caring
. I realize that speaking of direction in evolution is today a kind of scientific heresy
. At best, it’s acceptable to say there is evolutionary movement toward greater complexity and variability. But as Darwin himself noted
, the movement in evolution goes beyond greater complexity and variability to the emergence of needs, capacities, motivations, and possibilities of a different order than those present in earlier life forms.
This does not mean that our species
, as one of the last to emerge, is the apex of evolution, and thus entitled to lord it over other life forms. Nor does it mean there is a divine plan or intelligent design. We don’t have any way of knowing what ultimately lies behind evolution, and this is so whether we think
evolution is directionless or not. But it does mean that as life evolved on our Earth, it developed an ever greater capacity for consciousness, creativity, planning, and choice
. And while these capacities are not unique to us, they are most highly developed in our species. Whether these human capacities are expressed, however, largely depends on the kinds of social and economic systems we create. This makes us, quite literally, co-creators of our evolution.
We certainly can’t determine everything about our future. But we can join together to create the social and economic conditions that nurture, drive, and promote the expression of our positive rather than negative genetic capacities
. Indeed, having unprecedented biological capacities means that it’s our evolutionary responsibility
to use these gifts in positive rather than negative ways
. ALL LIFE FORMS
– from the smallest to the largest,
from amoeba and plankton to elephants and whales – have to some extent altered our planet. Some have done so by simply appearing on the evolutionary scene. Others have built new structures: birds make nests and beavers construct dams. But no species has come close to what we humans have done.
We can continue with “business as usual” – even though both science andWe have used our imagination and our capacity for turning visions into realities
to create a whole new human-made world. Some of what we created is extraordinary: buildings as tall as mountains, airplanes that fly higher than birds, and technologies that reveal subatomic structures, explore outer space, and probe the mysteries of the brain. Some of it is exquisite: beautiful music, poetry and art
. But some of it is horrendous: gas chambers, torture chambers, nuclear bombs, and invisible biological weapons for instant mass annihilation. WE stand at an evolutionary crossroads in our human adventure on
end. Or we can use the great gifts we were given by evolution to create a new economic story and reality
– a caring economics that supports both human survival and human development and actualisation
. It is in our power to imagine the world we want for ourselves and our children.
For most of us, this is a world where our basic needs for food, shelter, and safety, as well as our yearning for nurturing and love, for justice and peace, and for a sense that what we do has meaning and helps others as well as ourselves, are fulfilled.
Above all, it is a world where our children survive and thrive. It is up to us to help create the conditions that support this vision
. We have been endowed by nature with an amazing brain,
an enormous capacity for love
, a remarkable creativity
, and a unique ability to learn
, change, grow and plan ahead. If we act now, we can use these capacities to co-create
the economic and social systems that support the great gifts we were granted by evolution. We can’t wait for our national and international leaders to act.