Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Economics of Abundance

Inspired by two articles in the October issue of Ode Magazine.

Scarcity is the central principle of economics. How do we handle something we have too little of, like money or food, and how can the cost and price it best? We take this way of looking at things as normal and never question it. But, what are the effects, the cost/benefit ratio of this focus on scarcity? Most metaphysical systems say what you focus on and think about with deep feeling is what manifests in your life. What would happen if we focused on the abundance of the universe instead? In just one growing season, plants yield a return of thousands of percent. Trees take a little longer, but once they’ve grown, they shower us with revenue. The law of the cosmos is abundance, one big celebration of giving and pleasure.

Sure, in most parts of the world, nature’s abundance is seasonal; so we learn to cope by balancing it with scarcity; to fill our storehouses during the seven years of abundance to tide us over the seven lean years – as Joseph taught Pharaoh. Still, an emphasis on balance is different than an emphasis on scarcity, just as an economic model based on balance would be different than one based on scarcity.

An economics of balance might be more inclusive, less harsh and punitive, and might create less of the gross imbalance between rich and poor. It might reduce or even eliminate the wide boom/bust cycles produced by the so-called ‘free market’; so called ‘free’ because it’s not really ‘free’ but full of government manipulation from the tax code to hidden subsidies. An emphasis on balance might require government manipulation to be more transparent, less subject to special interest influences and more favorable to the broad public interests of the vast majority of citizens, rather than to the interests of only a few.

From the metaphysical perspective, an economics of abundance, even allowing for seasonal fluctuations, would be best and even most realistic, because spirit/source is abundant and everywhere equally present. To rely on such power is the most sensible thing. But that’s not possible because we’re so full of fear, lack and scarcity thinking, we can’t even imagine the possibility of relying on manna, what God fed the Hebrews during the Exodus, and what Jesus tried to get us to see in the parable of the lilies of the field, that neither struggle nor toil, but are fed.

Yet a vital sense of ever present abundance and our oneness with it can inspire us to innovation and creativity and to brief moments when lack, limitation and scarcity are forgotten. From such moments of clarity and vision come our greatest breakthroughs and innovations. Such moments balance our fear, terror and anxiety about lack and turn us to an awareness of abundance, compassion and inclusiveness. From such moments we can build a model of economics that focuses on abundance, not just scarcity. From such moments we can contribute to building a world that works for everybody and everything.

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