Thinking The Twenty-First Century: ideas for the new political economy

The following is a slightly edited precis of a paper to be given by Malcolm McIntosh – Bath Spa University, UK – at the conference Pathways for Change: Towards a Just and Sustainable Economy, Vancouver, October 1-4.

There are five reasons why we need a new political economy for the Anthropocene.

The first relates to sustainable development and its concomitant, globality and Earth awareness, where, for the first time we see and feel the world as one entity in our minds and hearts. The second is concerned with the highest level of evolution – the evolution of knowledge – and in this case the evolution of the balance between what we think we know and what we feel, intuit and discuss. We have come to a critical juncture in which awe and wonder have been marginalised by science, modernity, technology, consumerism and neoliberal economics. Third, the rise of empathy and social, perhaps global, cohesion are a natural progression from the first and second systems changes outlined here – Earth awareness and rebalancing science and awe. I call this nurturing spirit the rise of the feminisation of decision-making and governance as it is a fundamental recognition that the rise and success of the human r ace is due as much to empathy, sociability, sharing, and group work as it is to competition and masculinity. We are in the process of rebalancing the yin and the yang. The way we organise ourselves as humans on planet Earth is undergoing massive disruption just now. Our organisations and institutions are inexorably changing – and this is the fourth systems change. Fifth, evolutionary success and human survival depends on our ability to learn and our ability to adapt through learning. The way we learn, and our approach to education, will determine our chances.

Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) & United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) 2015 Joint Biennial Conference.


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