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Can we overcome purely economic thinking?

In so many aspects of life, solutions seem to be arising and immediately taking on an economic form; getting packaged, developed and presented to others with this financial language and thinking. But is that really the only option? And what does it mean for society if things are mainly being approached in that way?

When it comes to society there’s many ways of looking at it, of trying to understand how we exist together and what it all might mean (see Notes One). Generally though, there’s this sense of cooperation, of us working towards common aims, and of shared values guiding what those are and how we relate to one another.

To my mind, much of that boils down to the meanings explicitly or implicitly contained in all we do: the attitudes, relationships, customs, practices, standards, priorities, and so on. Human community essentially being this meaningful and wise coordination between people for our individual and collective assistance, hopefully built on ideas that will sustain us all in the long run.

Having said that, however, it’s fairly clear those kind of ideals don’t translate easily into reality (Notes Two). Many of these posts have tried to figure out why that is, generally circling in on difficulties arising when money meets other values (Notes Three); that money has its own agenda and ways of operating, and may well struggle to meet what we’re seeking in a human sense.

And going back to the idea of solutions being packaged, surely approaching things that way naturally leads us to notions of pricing and therefore exclusivity. So when social cooperation becomes a marketplace inevitably some are able to benefit while others cannot. Of course, that is what it is: we tend to look for business opportunities, ways of identifying and fulfilling others’ needs while also providing for ourselves.

But looking at things purely economically undoubtedly affects how we are and the activities finding a place within our local, national or international communities. Powerful companies, strategic chains and the like can evidently thrive in these conditions, but not without certain costs such as character, uniqueness, and many of those things that may differentiate and celebrate our humanity.

So, looking more to local community, what are we creating? These places we live, where needs may best be met, where meanings are arguably most present and involvement both tangible and immediately rewarding (Notes Four). If we need meaning to our lives, can it not be evident in those spaces? Can our lived realities and the administering of practical needs not be laced with humanity rather than merely transactional?

Of course, there are many people working in that way to bring a human face to how we live; acting out of their personal values or habits to show others they matter and our existence together is meaningful, valued and enjoyed. It’s still there. Although it often does seem to be fading or dying out, the more modern economic approach stepping in there; so maybe it’s still worth thinking about.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Economy & Humanity
Note 1: Human nature and community life
Note 2: Created a system we seek to escape?
Note 2: Is sustainable design an impossibility?
Note 3: How it is / Selling out
Note 3: I am not just a sum
Note 4: Community, needs & local solutions
Note 4: Real estate, rental and human nature
Note 4: Reviving local community

From here, “New Renaissance” builds on ideas of communities as purposeful centres of meaning and how well they might serve us.

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