Ultimately the purpose of an economic system, as well as the businesses and transactions that make up that system, is to enhance the well-being of society. Events over the past few decades would lead us to expand that statement of purpose to “enhance society in a way that maintains the integrity of the eco-system.”
Our current global economy has failed to meet that ideal. Billions of people live in abject poverty. Landscapes are devastated. Oceans and rivers are polluted.
Yet the economic system is of our own creation. If it has failed, it is within our capacity to form a new system.
Otto Scharmer’s work is predicated on the belief that transformation of the economic is possible. His Theory U workshops utilize proven practices to train individuals and groups in achieving a collective imagination of a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware of the steps needed to prototype that system.
Leading from the Emerging Future, Scharmer’s most recent book, written with Katrin Kaufer, is a thought-provoking description of the Theory U process. Excerpts from his blog post about the book are below and the full text can be found at www.blog.ottoscharmer.com.
On November 9th, Otto Scharmer will join Van Jones and Judy Wicks at the 33rd Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures in New York City. The theme is “America Emerging: Culture and Economics.” The location is the Ballroom of the Essex House on Central Park South. Doors open at 9:30 AM and the program begins at 10 AM, concluding at 3 PM. Tickets are $150 and include lunch. Pre-registration is required. Register online or by phone at 413 528-1737.
The talks will also be videotaped for later posting online. See Gar Alperovitz’s related Schumacher Center talk, The Next America: The Emerging New Direction as the Old Order Decays, held October 9th at Searles Castle in Great Barrington.
Otto Scharmer’s Presencing Institute is effectively training leaders equipped to bring about a transformation in the American economy. Join us November 9th in recognizing and endorsing the urgency for that change.
Excerpts from the blogpost 10 Insights on the Ego-2-Eco Economy Revolutions:
We live in an age of profound disruption. Global crises, such as finance, food, fuel, water, resource scarcity and poverty challenge just about every aspect of society. Yet, this disruption also brings the possibility of profound personal, societal and global renewal. We need to stop and ask: Why do we collectively create results nobody wants? What keeps us locked into the old ways of operating? And what can we do to transform these root issues that keep us trapped in the patterns of the past?
These structural disconnects depict a broken system. But what is the root cause that gives rise to these disconnects and their systemic bubbles? We believe that the most important root cause for these systemic disconnects originates directly from our paradigms of economic thought.
. . . the 2007/8 crisis may well mark a bigger disruption than anticipated. This is precisely why the development of an advanced economic framework is one of our primary tasks today. . . . When in the late 19th and early 20th century the 2.0 laissez-faire capitalism hit the wall in the form of poverty, inequity, environmental issues, and cyclical financial crises, societies responded by creating a string of institutional innovations that set the stage for capitalism 3.0 (unions, federal reserve banks, legislation for labor, farmers, and the environment). Today, as capitalism 3.0 hits the wall of global externalities, we need another update of our economic operating system to 4.0.
This time the institutional innovations need to involve another set of acupuncture points. . . . Nature, labor, and capital are no longer conceptualized as mere commodities but reframed as eco-systems, entrepreneurship, and creative capital, respectively.
Many people think that what’s missing in order to move to a new economy is just a set of better ideas. That, of course, is not the case. We need much more than new ideas. We need new innovation structures and social technologies that will allow groups to move from their habitual levels to the new co-create level.
What would be necessary today is an interconnected set of global sensing hotspots that would allow for local, regional, and global players to connect around specific issue areas in order to co-sense, co-inspire and co-create through multi-local prototyping.