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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The power of the heart can change the course of history in just a moment of authentic self-sacrifice

Integral Economics: A Manifesto
Posted by MetroPunk on April 22, 2008 at 9:42am in Open Forum
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New Post at Integral Praxis:
Integral Economics: A Manifesto By Christian Arnsperger “Engineering an intersection between economics and the Integral approach—i.e., gradually fleshing out and promoting a truly Integral economics—may well be one of the most urgent tasks in social science today. At least, I myself (as a standardly trained economist who turned heretical at some point) believe it is, and that is why I have written this paper which, for all its defects, might stand as a “manifesto” of sorts for those of us who think it’s about time economics was pulled out of its current, arch-positivistic quagmire.”
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Permalink Reply by ned on April 23, 2008 at 6:23pm
Interesting article . . . I'm studying neuroeconomics these days though I'm not very familiar with economics itself . . . however, here are two papers that might be somewhat relevant as far as the inclusion of subjectivity in economics as a discipline goes:The Case for Mindless Economics http://www.princeton.edu/~pesendor/mindless.pdf

Quote: "Neuroscience evidence cannot refute economic models because the latter make no assumptions and draw no conclusions about the physiology of the brain."

I burst out laughing when I read the above quote, by the way. Have fun deconstructing this paper; it's not too hard. The authors also seem to be equating neuroeconomics with communism at some points -- quite funny.The Case for Mindful Economics http://www.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/cemano/research/DRSS/documents/microCOE0... This is the rebuttal to the neo-classical take defended in the previous paper.Well, personally I'm an esotericist through and through, so I find both neo-classical economics and the newly-emerging cognitivist behavioral economics absurdly limited (you could say that in the Aurobindoan vein I'm a spiritual/voluntary anarcho-socialist). However, it's fun to read the academic debates and try to see where both are right and both are wrong.
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Permalink Reply by ned on April 23, 2008 at 6:32pm
And as I've mentioned voluntary anarcho-socialism here, I should use this opportunity to plug what I think is a very important and useful website: http://www.kiva.org/

The site allows you to lend microcredit loans to people in developing countries, which they then use to set up businesses. I lent out six loans via Kiva over the last month -- to two women's groups in Uganda, and to four women's groups in Pakistan. Kiva has partners on ground who disperse lenders' loans to the parties that need them (the entire amount you contribute is loaned; you can make optional donations to Kiva also but Kiva will not take any of the money you are loaning). Within a few weeks all six groups I had given loans to had raised their target amount, which was then given to them on ground. The loans were used to help these groups set up various businesses or improve existing businesses. They're now in the process of paying the loans back to the lenders. The return rate on Kiva is nearly 100%. You can even loan as little as $25.I'm quite impressed with this site. It's gotten some pretty good reviews too. Even college students can be sitting in their dormrooms or apartments and be contributing to change. Plus it's so gratifying because you can track what's happening to your money. A lot of the partners also keep journals, so there's a nice personal touch to it -- you get updates via the journals about what the people who've borrowed the money have done with it. Microcredit lending is a really great paradigm for developing countries. And doing it over the Internet is a neat way to allow for a more equitable distribution of wealth globally.
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Permalink Reply by Zakariyya on April 26, 2008 at 5:19pm
Economics, Definition: A western invention that is the science of keeping the rich richer, and the poor poorer.And unlike many of the post modern sciences, THIS ONE REALLY WORKS!THAT’S ABOUT IT FOLKS.
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Permalink Reply by MetroPunk on April 28, 2008 at 3:25pm
not that simple Zit is a system of practicesand a orientation will great consequencesand much ado about powerwhere an 'integral' infusion / transfusionwould help bring about much changelets think practical here...
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Permalink Reply by Zakariyya on April 28, 2008 at 5:22pm
I firmly believe in being practical. Here is my practical yardstick.Naked capitalism, that which rules the economic milieu that encompasses the LR quadrant, has led primarily to intense injustices, and suffering.All while millions claim to believe in lofty ideas of religion, and Liberal and neo-liberal humanitarian principles.Yet the rich still get richer and the poor get poorer, and they claim that this is the natural order of things, based on hard work by the rich and sloth by the poor. [AND WE REFUSE TO TACKLE THE BASICS, BY JUST WATCHING THE POOR STARVE TO DEATH, WHILE WE WATCH IT ON CNN. BUT YET WE CAN SPEND TRILLIONS ON A WAR THAT HAS DESTROYED IRAQ]Excluding the 5 centuries of plunder of Africa and Asia thorough slavery, and colonialism.They wonder why the third world countries are behind, and particularly Africa.Well I fought the Wiberians for months on Integral Naked, and told them that A TRUE INTEGRAL UNDERSTANING OF THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REALITIES IN THE WORLD HAVE TO TAKE IN TO CONSIDERATION THESE HISTORICAL ANOMOLIES.They rejected that and continued following the neo-liberal neo-con principles of Ken Wilber, save a few of them.Those who did understand this where labeled mean greens[WILBERS STRANGE NEO-CON POLITICS!]That with all their eloquent graphs and idealistic extrapolations continues to justify the status quo.Generally speaking:If the human race did the basic things humans should do FIRST, economics would work for everyone, not just the few.This economics that the world revolves around stands by and watches millions starve and suffer economically, as if those people who hog all the resources earned them by hard work.What could Integral economics be worth anything but relieve suffering, or get in line and just do things the usual way, save doing them with bigger words.That leaves the rich richer and the poor poorerSo my friend in terms of what is practical, I think economics should feed people first. ALL PEOPLE! Then it could call itself INTEGRAL.
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Permalink Reply by ned on April 28, 2008 at 7:39pm
Zak, I agree with you. Basically, it boils down to the simplest question: are we seriously interested in self-giving or not? If the former, then yeah, we need to let go of our childish attachment to money and material possessions. I thought websites like Kiva.org are at least a start in this direction -- now we have no excuse, we actually have the ability, just sitting in our homes, to empower others around the world to set up their own businesses and become independent.And from an Aurobindoan and Vedantic perspective, socialist ideas are vastly superior to individualistic capitalism and neo-liberal economics -- it's just that enforcing these ideas mechanically through a governmental or state mechanism would end up being a disaster. (Hence I call myself a voluntary anarcho-socialist.)Now: does the "Integral" movement measure up to truly spiritual and progressive ideals? Is it really willing to participate in genuine self-giving or not? Here's just one telling example for me.

Consider this: Pir Zia's Sufi Order just charges about $1200 for a ONE-YEAR course, which includes food (three meals a day) and room and board, at the Abode of the Message in upstate NY. But Don Beck and Co. charge almost $2000 -- $2000, people!! -- for TWO WEEKENDS in a five-star hotel to talk about Spiral Dynamics. Is everyone mad? What sort of a moron would shell out that kind of money for two weekends to learn things that they could figure out on their own without a buck anyway? Is this where the priorities of the Integral movement are -- five-star hotels, when people are going hungry all over the world? At the end of the day it is a waste of time trying to figure out which "system" is best. All systems are relative to the soul's direct knowing; all systems are instruments of the soul; all systems are exceeded by the soul. Rather than wasting time on this mental masturbation w.r.t. which "system" is better, we ought to just be developing the soul and getting on with the task of giving selflessly -- the rest will fall in line!

Democracy in Europe is the rule of the Cabinet minister, the corrupt deputy or the self-seeking capitalist masqued by the occasional sovereignty of a wavering populace; Socialism in Europe is likely to be the rule of the official and policeman masqued by the theoretic sovereignty of an abstract State. It is chimerical to enquire which is the better system; it would be difficult to decide which is the worse. -- Sri Aurobindo
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Permalink Reply by Zakariyya on April 28, 2008 at 8:19pm
Hi Ned, btw, thanks for the link to Anti-matter, it looks like a hip journal. And also the Kiva thing. I may look into doing that. Regarding your post, I too am a voluntary anarcho-socialist, I love the name! First though, Bottom line:Western “civilization” [as Gandhi said “it would be a good idea” I fear is heading for a huge knuckle sandwich because of the bad Karma it accumulated in the 5 centuries of negative energy it earned since Columbus “ discovered” America.Not to mention having all that power and doing nothing but helping to get guys like Cheney bigger golf courses to play on, while destroying millions in Iraq, and the lives of the young dupes who joined the US Military.But we have to forget all of this, and just get a tasty bag of popcorn and watch. Meanwhile give to Kiva, and other proletarian charities [that I hope are legit] My thing is Children International--22 a month for a poor Indian Girl is all I can afford. Hopefully, my book [ (unlikely) that’s coming out in a month] will be a best seller, and then I could sponsor three more poor kids in the earth.You are right, to force economic sanity through tyranny won’t work; therefore we are in a catch 22, because I don’t think naked Oligarchic capitalism will work either.My idea about this is simpleJust relieve as much suffering as we can, with the technology available to us. But no, they won’t do that. The thing to concentrate on is to raise the consciousness of people on an individual/collective basis. That way we can create a true paradigm of compassion [ maybe] which can lead to uncommon common sense, and do the basic things humans should be doing, but have never done.Integral philosophy hijacked by neo-con Wilberism is falling short. I doubt it can lead this consciousness shift.Regarding the big money spiritual/ Integral Guru circuit, well it is a sign of the times, and frankly spirituality and middle class philosophy like Wilber / Beck Integral has always been for the well off.The hungry rarely want to think of God, Plato, or Ibn Arabi while worrying about feeding the family.
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Permalink Reply by ned on April 28, 2008 at 8:35pm
The key is detachment. It's not about living a life of poverty. You can make money if that's your thing or if it's your gift to earn money, but the key is to remain totally detached from it and never see it as your own possession -- to be willing to give it up at a moment's notice for a worthy cause or if inspired by something from within and to stop wasting money on more unnecessary self-indulgences like "Integral studies" conferences at expensive hotels. But sadly I think most people do not have the self-discipline for this. And I agree with your compassion-based approach. People can go on writing equations and modeling and what-have-you in academic economics, but none of those equations can even begin to approximate the power of the heart, which can change the course of history in just a moment of authentic self-sacrifice.
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